mwfaulks Feb 16, 2018
In Today's segment of Erik Ruins Everything:
Let's talk about Derringers.
Classically designed derringers were pocket pistols for wealthy gentlemen. Remember, the advent of the modern concealed holster is only about 40-50 years ago; 'pocket guns' were all the rage because only cowboys and cops wore belt holsters. Classically, semiauto guns had reliability issues, but wheelguns were too bulky for discreet carry.
Old derringers were designed for one to four shots, and chambered in something like .22 LR or .32 ACP. They were designed to be discreet guns for dealing with up-close assailants. Because they fit in a vest pocket and were very reliable they were preferred among people like bankers who might need to shoot someone through their bank teller bars without a lot of accuracy.
The fundamental design of a derringer hasn't changed much in the last few decades. There are some interesting derringer ideas out there, such as the NAA Widowmaker (which, despite being a revolver, fits into the 'derringer' category in my mind).
The danger of derringers is they are virtually impossible to aim effectively. Speaking personally, my knobby size-9 gunsmith hands can barely maintain a grip on the Widowmaker or other pocket derringers. Even starting from a low-ready position with the NAA, I was faster AND more accurate going from a pocket draw with a .380 Taurus, even at bad-breath distances.
Modern derringer designs have, also, gotten kinda ludicrous. There are derringers chambered in .45 ACP, .410, even the ridiculous 7.62x39. You would have to pay me before I'd shoot any one of them.
Think long and hard before purchasing a derringer as a self-defense gun over a pocket-sized .380 or even a .22 LR wheelgun. One of the great perks of living in America is the vast diversity of the gun world available to us. Make sure you're shopping for a gun to fill a specific purpose, instead of trying to adjust your tactics around your weapon.
Erik Nelson Aug 30, 2017 Nov 29, 2017