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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.

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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 Gone is the highly polished stainless steel barrel and frame, which have been replaced by a bead-blasted, matte-finished, 2.5-inch, stainless barrel and a black crinkle-powder-coated frame (2.5-inch .40 barrels are also available).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.

Range Report

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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