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Old October 27, 2001, 10:37 PM   #1
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Does anyone carry a derringer for Self-Defense??

Just had to ask. Small, concealable, adaptable, lots of different calibers, light weight.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Where is my thinking wrong?
"Given a choice between good intentions and human nature, I'll go with human nature every time."--Me, 2002.
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Old October 27, 2001, 11:01 PM   #2
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Inaccurate, slow followup and reload, poor ergonomics, primitive safety. On Friday a 11th grade student dropped his backpack at school - Redondo Beach HS and his derringer - reportedly a .38 - went off hitting another student in the arm.

I have an American Derringer Corp in .44. Handful with full house, best with shot loads. Last ditch weapon. Safety not intuitive. I will get rid of this before my heirs have to deal with it.
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Old October 27, 2001, 11:31 PM   #3
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Lets see only 2 shots most are not much if at all smaller than a compact 9mm, 380 auto or a 38 snub. They are only effective at arms reach. I would rather have a mouse gun with 5 shots than a deringer with 2 .
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Old October 28, 2001, 08:32 AM   #4
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You mean to tell me a kid in California brought a gun to school, it fired and another kid was injured. . . . . .and cable news didn't go wall to wall coverage?????

Wow! things really are different.
"Given a choice between good intentions and human nature, I'll go with human nature every time."--Me, 2002.
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Old October 28, 2001, 11:00 AM   #5
Dave T
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In the 7 years and 3 months I have been teaching CCW classes I have seen 3 or 4 derringers. One was an old HiStandard 22. The others were the heavy stainless ones, I think American Derringer was the maker. One guy showed up with a Davis 38 Special derringer but it wouldn't fire so that one doesn't count.

None of these people were able to qualify on a course of fire that is not very demanding - no time limit and the longest distance is 10 yards.

If you can't hit what you shoot at all you have is a psychological cruch, not a defensive weapon.
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Old October 28, 2001, 12:45 PM   #6
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I have a .22lr mag derringer. I sometimes slip it in my pocket as a backup, but don't really consider it a real defensive weapon. The only time I would even think of carrying it as a primary weapon is if all my other guns have dissappeared. Derringers are ultraa close range - nearly contact - weapons. Don't expect more of them.

By the way - it is fairly accurate I can get a 10 shot group to stay in a ten inch group at twenty feet and under 10 feet I can hit a three inch target most of the time. But it does require time! (Carefully aimed shots)
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Old October 28, 2001, 02:26 PM   #7
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Old October 28, 2001, 04:54 PM   #8
Art Eatman
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As usual, practice in the use of "strange things" helps.

The little NAA five-shot mini-revolver in .22 Mag is quite handy. Set up for the first shot to be ratshot (for the face) and followed by four hollow-points, it's a good last-ditch weapon.

The usual constraints apply, of course. Best used at close range, and familiarity with its behavior. (Too easy to shoot high, if you're not thinking.)

Regardless, personal discretion in behavior is still the best style to avoid needing any pistol.

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Old October 28, 2001, 08:27 PM   #9
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For certain locales,yes.American Derringers Model 1 in .45ACP.If some big ol boy grabs hold of you and you stick it in his ribs and fire,I guarantee he'll turn loose of you.
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Old October 28, 2001, 08:42 PM   #10
Jody Hudson
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Yes, I did, years ago and still have it. An Intratec, small, light, .38 caliber double action. Two pulls of the trigger two shots. No hammer to try and pull back.

I would NOT have any other derringer because you need two hands to easily get the hammer back without risk of dropping the gun.

I kept my Tec derringer loaded with some specialty plastic hollow points that fire from the derringer at about 4,000 fps weigh about 12 grains if memory serves me, and are effective on pumkins out to about 12 feet. At 3 feet they exploded a 25 pound pumkin. The two shots are lucky to be a foot apart at 10 feet distance. But, for small, light, powerful and up tight, outta sight and use at close quarters... A good choice.

I don't like any other derringers for defense NOT any of them due to difficulty in getting off a quick shot and still keeping control and aim of the gun... and I've had several.

However the High Standard double action .22 or .22 mag is a distant second place. There it's not the size of the bullet, but the size of the flash hole if a contact shot is made. Again, they are for arms length defense.

The double action derringer would be a great gun for defense if I were a female prostitute. But I'd never be a female prostitute. I'd just give it away if I were a woman as well.

Well, I did keep it clean for a couple of days...
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Old October 29, 2001, 01:41 AM   #11
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A .22 mini revolver is much easier to hide and shoots five shot .22 magnum.

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Old October 29, 2001, 03:23 AM   #12
Jim March
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.22Mag minirevolvers are a far better idea. Although given how critical the first round is, I wouldn't use snakeshot.

Just my $.02
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Old October 29, 2001, 03:35 PM   #13
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Were there ever any real, working, derringer rigs that attach to the forearm and let you pop the gun into your hand? Just saw "Red Heat" last night and the bad guy had a spring loaded revolver he could pop out. I think Dice Clay had one in "Ford Fairlane", I'm sure there were plenty others in 80's action flicks. Was this ever a viable concept, or just hollywood magic? I can't figure out how they would work, unless they were just held in place by friction and you had to whip your arm to generate enough force to drive them out. Seems like it might be a bit unreliable, not to mention heavy. Would be a nice back-up though, if you have a coat to conceal it. Thoughts? LAter.
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Old October 29, 2001, 03:55 PM   #14
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I use to carry one of two .38 Davis derringer's I own and got a good deal on some years ago. It fit perfectly in the top of my boot. As noted above there are a lot of negatives and after a year got a G26. I have shot several hundred rounds thru both and they still function reliably. MWT
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Old October 31, 2001, 02:54 PM   #15
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On RARE occasions, yes. However they are few and far between. I agree that they are almost limited to contact only shooting, and carrying one in an adequately powered caliber does not lend to easy recovery for the second shot. Mine is 44 mag (loaded with 240gr speer gold dot), because if the 2nd shot ain't gonna happen and they're that close, the fist one MUST do the job.
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Old October 31, 2001, 08:21 PM   #16
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Teaching CHL classes, I have a 2 shot .38 derringer I use to demonstrate on the range a) they are very limited in firepower, slow, and in general, not impressive, and b) one can hit you in the chest at 10 yards every time, that way they will take seriouly any attacker who has one and shot him dead!

As Jeff Cooper said, "It's a good weapon for your opponent to have".

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Old November 1, 2001, 10:31 AM   #17
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Derringers as a utilitarian matter are next to worthless. I would rather have a knife.

Further, it was my experience as a LEO that carrying a derringer marked the person as a "mope" or was at least one factor they considered. I would prefer the police not be telling the prosecutor that I was a mope because I had to defend myself with a derringer. A clean shoot may be a clean shoot; however, I prefer to limit the potential exposure.
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Old November 1, 2001, 02:18 PM   #18
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A former co-worker carried an NAA revolver all of the time. It got him out of one situation where pointing it at the bad guy (who demanded his wallet) was enough to deter. And yes, the confrontation was not reported to the police. Happened in a fast food joint's restroom.
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Old November 1, 2001, 05:56 PM   #19
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Ugh. I've got a Davis two-barrel derringer chambered for .22 Mag. My mom (of all people) got rid of it by dumping it on me - she felt safer with her .38 Taurus revolver as a CC weapon, and who can blame her?

I finally took it out to the range a couple of weeks ago to try it out. Poor ergonomics, clumsy safety action and SA cocking, and the fact that I'd have better accuracy with the darn thing if I threw it at an assailant ruled it out as a self-defense weapon.

It now sits at home, unloaded, in my sock drawer (I don't have kids). It's the kind of gun I'd turn in at a guy buyback program just to get $50 of my tax money back.
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Old November 3, 2001, 05:29 AM   #20
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I carry one at times. They are reliable, but not always light. They have a traditionally heavy hammer and are single action. That can be bad for some people. You also pretty much have to use the manual safety. There are pros and cons like with any other handgun. The titanium 38's are real intriguing though. I wouldn't mind a pair for ankle guns.
Old November 3, 2001, 06:25 AM   #21
Jody Hudson
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What is a MOPE?
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Old November 3, 2001, 08:42 AM   #22
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I only see two reasons to have a derringer. One is for a defense gun, although I think it is a poor choice. The other is just to have one for your collection. They are not exactly hunting guns.
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Old November 3, 2001, 01:05 PM   #23
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I used to carry a Davis .38. I gave it to my father-in-law. I thought it was a pretty good little gun. The trigger pull was a little heavy, but once I got use to that I had no problems.

I found it to be rather accurate. I was able to hit a bottle ten yards away with it on the first try. I wasn't able to do that with my Ruger P97.
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