Bond Arms of Granbury, Texas, is a well-known and respected manufacturer of modern derringers. With the Remington 95 derringer as a starting point, Bond Arms updated the basic design using modern materials and machining. Barrels and frames for the company’s stable use nothing but high-quality stainless steel. Bond Arms also added modern safety features—rebounding hammers, rebounding firing pins, push-button cross-bolt safeties and a locking mechanism for the barrel-opening lever during fire.
Bond Arms’ derringer models provide offerings with or without triggerguards, in a number of barrel lengths (2.5 to 4.25 inches) and in more chamberings than most of us could imagine. Grips can be polymer, buffalo horn, rubber or a number of attractive wood models.
I recently had an opportunity to try out one of the newer Bond offerings, the Backup, for myself. The sights on the compact handgun consist of a fixed-blade front sight and a rear notch in the barrel’s integral hinge wing. Bond Arms’ slightly tacky, bird’s-head design rubber grips, which provide a two-finger hold, rode the frame.
My Backup had two barrel pairs chambered in .45 ACP and 9mm, and lacked the shell ejectors used with rimmed cartridges. The notched chamber opening is a square cut into the barrel’s left side that encompasses about 0.31 inches of both chambers. Fingernails are able to slip through the notch and pry the empty cases out.
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It was immediately obvious the Backup differed some from other Bond Arms pistols. Gone is the highly polished stainless steel barrel and frame, which have been replaced by a bead-blasted, matte-finished, 2.5-inch, stainless barrel and a black crinkle-powder-coated frame (2.5-inch .40 barrels are also available). Both changes were made to enhance the Backup’s concealability. The hammer, trigger, triggerguard, cross-bolt safety and lock lever were all bead blasted, which, along with the barrel, make for an attractive contrast to the black crinkle-powder-coated frame. A polished rectangle on the frame contains the serial number.
Shooting almost any handgun or rifle is fun to me. Because of prior experience with Bond Arms’ wares, I had an idea of what to expect with this diminutive pistol spitting 9mm and .45 ACP bullets. I couldn’t see the benefit of .45 ACP +P in the Backup, adding recoil for what I felt would be little benefit. Also it seems Bond Arms discourages .45 ACP +P ammunition.
With that in mind, I took nothing but standard-pressure loads with me to wring out the Bond Arms Backup. These two loads used lighter bullets to reduce recoil in the 19-ounce pistol. I tossed in a third load of 230-grain jacketed hollow points (JHP) because I wanted to see if the recoil increased. After all, in a situation where you have to shoot to stop a determined attacker right on top of you, less muzzle flip equates to a faster second shot.
The 9mm loads were kept to standard-pressure configurations for the same reasons, although Bond Arms approves its 9mm barrels for +P ammo. Recoil was slightly less than the .45 ACP, allowing for a quicker recovery.
Accuracy was more than adequate, with five-shot averages falling into groups between 2.63 and 3.99 inches for both calibers. I used only the upper barrel in the accuracy and velocity testing, to reduce variables.
Targets were set at varying distances out to 7 yards, and the Backup (in either caliber) and I were capable of keeping all shots in the IDPA target’s center. That’s not bad while bobbing around and shoot-ing two rounds and reloading from a Tuff Strip! Empty cases slipped from the chambers with scarcely more than a fingernail touch, but reloads took quite a bit of time. Recoil was no surprise.
I spent some time carrying the Backup in several different places, paying attention to its ease of draw and how easily it concealed. I was pleased with the results, just as I was drawing from the excellent, well-thought-out holsters Bond Arms supplied.
Reducing the barrel length and changing the Backup’s exterior were excellent decisions. The less-reflective finish is a nice touch and really dresses up the pistol. Bobbing the barrels lets the Backup fit into more shallow pockets.
Does the Backup qualify as a backup pistol? It’s reliable, chambered for .45 ACP or 9mm, accurate (for its class) and surprisingly easy into action. It’s also small enough to fit just about anywhere, and a good assortment of leather is available to holster it. So, yes, I believe the Backup qualifies as a backup pistol quite well!
For more information, visit http://www.bondarms.com or call 817-573-4445.