RELATED STORY: Top 13 Compact 1911 Handguns for Concealed Carry
Some competitors even went so far as to call their guns Deringer pistols, or, as became common, “derringer” with a double “R,” the spelling ironically used in Webster’s Dictionary! Both the single- and double-barrel derringer-style pistol, the latter perfected by E. Remington and Sons in the late 1860s, remain among the easiest handguns for concealed carry use today. Modern versions offer plenty of defensive capability with calibers up to .45 ACP. The derringer is one of three distinct categories that make up the top-12 list for 2014, along with revolvers and semi-autos.
BERETTA Px4 STORM SUBCOMPACT
With an overall length of 6.2 inches, a 3-inch barrel, a height of 4.8 inches, a width of 1.4 inches and a carry weight of 26.1 ounces (empty), the Beretta Px4 Storm offers all of the key features that are desirable in a subcompact pistol. It offers a single-action/double-action trigger system, second strike capability and an ambidextrous thumb safety, which also functions as a decocker for carry with a loaded chamber. It is available in either 9mm or .40 S&W. Suggested retail is $575.
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For more information on the Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact, visit berettausa.com or call 800-929-
BOND ARMS BACKUP
The latest version of the Bond Arms Backup is distinguished by a new black crinkle powder coat finish on the frame, a bead-blasted, non-reflective matte finish on the barrels, and rubber grips. The 19-ounce handgun is 4.5 inches long, 3.75 inches tall and 1.19 inches wide (the frame is less than 1-inch wide). Like all Bond Arms designs, the modular Backup accommodates 20 different barrels (including .45 ACP and .410 gauge).
For more information on the Bond Arms Backup visit, bondarms.com or call 817-573-4445.
The innovative, aluminum-framed, double-barreled DoubleTap weighs only 15 ounces, measures 5.5 inches in length, 3.9 inches in height, is a finger-wide 0.665 inches and disappears in a pocket. For loading or reloading, an ambidextrous thumb latch on the side of the gun is pulled to the rear and the barrels automatically tilt upward. The lower third of the grip is a storage compartment with a hinged cover where two additional rounds on a speed strip can be kept. Interchangeable barrels are offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 LC/.410 gauge and .45 ACP.
For more information on the DoubleTap handgun, visit doubletapdefense.com or call 855-243-4937.
GLOCK 42 .380
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With the debut of the .380 ACP Glock 42 we have a new Glock subcompact with the smallest frame, slide and barrel length the company offers. The G42 employs a dual recoil spring unique to the model and a cold- hammer-forged barrel.
It measures 5.94 inches in overall length with a 3.25 inch barrel, a very pocket friendly 0.94 inches in width, weighs 13.76 ounces (empty), and has a capacity of 6+1. This is one new pocket pistol that we can all agree was long overdue!
For more information on the Glock 42 .380, visit us.glock.com or call 770-432-1202.
KAHR ARMS P380
The P380 pistol from Kahr Arms, chambered for the .380 ACP, has a 2.53-inch Lothar Walther match grade, polygonal-rifled barrel, an overall length of 4.9 inches, a width of 0.75 inches and a height of only 3.9 inches. Weighing in at just under 10 ounces without a magazine, the 6+1 P380 uses a polymer frame with 4140 steel inserts molded into the front and back for added rigidity and strength. The black frame is handsomely contrasted by the gun’s matte stainless steel slide.
For more information on the Kahr Arms P380, visit kahr.com or call 508-795-3919.
KIMBER ULTRA CDP II
Kimber, known for its high-quality 1911-style pistols, produces one of the world’s smallest ultra compacts, the Ultra CDP II. The gun features an overall length of just 6.8 inches, a height of 4.75 inches, and a weight of 25 ounces (empty), yet it retains a 7+1 capacity. The matte black aluminum frame and stainless steel slide have rounded edges for easier carry and draw, and the Ultra CDP II comes with an ambidextrous thumb safety, a skeletonized match-grade trigger and Kimber tritium night sights.
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For more information on Kimber Ultra CDP II, visit kimberamerica.com or call 888-243-4522.
While many think of NAA as the manufacturer of .22 LR and .22 Magnum (.22 WMR) mini-revolvers, NAA also builds one of the best concealed carry .380 autos on the market, the Guardian. With a 2.49 inch barrel, an overall length of 4.75 inches, a height of only 3.53 inches and a width of a mere 0.93 inches, the pistol is designed for deep-cover carry. Weighing only 18.72 ounces, it is reliable and very effective with today’s personal-defense .380 ACP loads. The capacity of the double-action-only design is 6+1 rounds.
RELATED STORY: 5 Mini Revolvers & Pocket Pistols From North American Arms
For more information on the NAA Guardian, visit northamericanarms.com or call 800-821-5783.
ROSSI 461 .357 MAG.
The Rossi 461 has been chosen to be among the top 12 pocket pistols because it takes a page from the past when snubnose revolvers were six-shot guns, not five-shot. The traditional-style .38 Special/.357 Magnum 461 features all steel construction, large, rubber, combat-style (finger groove) grips, an external hammer, a brightly polished blue finish, an overall length of 6.5 inches and a weight of 26 ounces (empty). The six-round cylinder harkens back to the Colt Detective Special, which was the first six-shot snub-nose chambered in .38 Special.
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For more information on the Rossi 461 .357 Mag., visit rossiusa.com or call 305-474-0401.
RUGER LCR .22 WMR
The .22< WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire) cartridge fired from a small, lightweight handgun like the Ruger LCR is an effective round with only moderate recoil. Another advantage is that Ruger’s Lightweight Carry Revolver (LCR), when chambered in .22 WMR, holds six car- tridges rather than the usual five in .38 Special and .357 Magnum. The gun’s modular construction, combining lightweight aluminum, stainless steel and polymer (glass-filled nylon), produces a gun that weighs only 16.6 ounces and measures 6.5 inches in length, 4.5 inches in height and 1.25 inches in width.
RELATED STORY: 6 Ruger Pocket Pistols & Revolvers For Self Defense
For more information on the Ruger LCR .22, visit ruger.com.
SMITH & WESSON MODEL 327
Capacity has always been an issue with smaller revolvers but if one steps up just slightly in size, with a gun like the S&W Model 327, capacity can surpass some small semi-autos by as many as two rounds! The Performance Center S&W 2-inch snub nose revolver has a titanium barrel shroud and an 8-shot titanium alloy cylinder chambered for .38 Special. Even though it is slightly larger than a conventional .38 snub nose, with an overall length of 7-inches, S&W’s Scandium frame contributes to reducing weight to just 21.4 oz.
For more information on the Smith & Wesson Model 327, visit smith-wesson.com or call 800-331-0852.
SPRINGFIELD ENHANCED MICRO PISTOL (EMP)
Making a smaller 1911 that would be compact enough for concealed carry, yet strong enough to withstand the energy produced by powerful defensive rounds and the stresses placed on the barrel lug, recoil spring and slide, just to mention a few, has complicated the manufacture of truly compact 1911s for years. Springfield Armory finally found their solution in 2007 when the EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) was introduced. Over the last seven years the gun has acquitted itself with exemplary performance and durability, making it a top-12 choice for 2014.
For more information on the Springfield Enhanced Micro Pistol (EMP), visit springfield-armory.com or call 800-680-6866.
TAURUS 738 TCP
With a 6+1 capacity, the 738 TCP weighs just 10.2 ounces (empty). The polymer frame has a large triggerguard, integral ambidextrous thumb rests, contoured slide and molded grip serrations all around. With an overall length of 5.25 inches, the double-action-only semi-auto is easy to conceal with all rounded surfaces that prevent snagging on clothing. It is also one of the most affordable concealed-carry pocket pistols on the market.
For more information on the Taurus 738 TCP, visit taurususa.com or call 800-327-3776.