2 Bond Arms Derringers let you carry in confidence

The Bond Arms Big Bear and the Bond Arms Brown Bear two-barrel derringers prove to be simple and effective ways to wield calibers of confidence

I leave nothing to chance on patrol, I carried a duty gun, a back-up gun, and a third gun. I recently tested the Bond Arms Big Bear and the Bond Arms Brown Bear two-barrel derringers. They proved to be a simple and effective way to wield a caliber of confidence.

Bond Arms has 13 different models and 22 different barrels. This gives us the flexibility to carry our duty caliber and switch to plinking for practice. These two models come in .45 Colt. Their sister models — the USA Defender and the Backup — offer a 3.5” 45 Colt/410 barrel, which gives the officer a close-quarters shotgun. Bond Arms gives the law enforcement officer the ability to carry the duty caliber and “I’m hiking in snake country” options.

The Bond Arms gun resembles earlier derringers, but they are safer. They are surprisingly easy to reload for a follow up shot. These are Texas-made, using American parts and Texas pride.

Photo courtesy Lindsey Bertomen

The Brown Bear has scales of hardwood with real checkering and a carved bear. It is satin stainless with a consistent finish throughout the entire gun. Even areas one can’t see have been polished. This gun — and several other models — comes with a unique boned-leather driving holster. I’ve been wearing this holster when driving because it is a subtle, quicker draw.

The Brown Bear and similar models like the Cowboy Defender will give the ownera dilemma: it’s almost too pretty to carry.

The Big Bear is the tactical version with a black crinkled powder coat frame and a subdued finish on the barrel. The extended grip shares the same dimensions as the Brown Bear in a soft rubber.

Both guns are of materials designed to resist the elements, including being worn against the body. They can handle pretty stiff loads, but stick with standard pressure cartridges.

This gun can be hidden safely, anywhere. The Bond Arms uses a rebounding and locking hammer and a cross bolt safety. Once fired, the hammer pulls away from the firing pin and locks in that position. If the gun is dropped, it won’t fire. This makes it safe for unconventional carry.

Both sights are machined into the barrel. Changing barrels does not affect the point of aim in any way.

Does it need sights? Not only is a Bond Arms Derringer a great snake remedy, it is also capable of fairly good accuracy. I initially shot it at seven yards, using a 1/2 scale silhouette. It was easy enough to keep everything on target using a 255-grain load — that’s more than twice the mass of a standard .38 bullet going the same speed.

I like the .45 colt because it performs even in a stubby barrel.

The recoil was much softer than anyone anticipated. Both the grips on the Big Bear and the Brown Bear have a finger groove that is effective in reducing muzzle climb. The axes of both bores are almost below the web of the hand, pushing the muzzle back more than up. Consequently, the recoil the shooter feels in the hand is lighter than most full-sized revolvers firing the same cartridge.

If anyone was thinking that two shots isn’t enough, the cadence goes like this:

1. Carry the Bond Arms handgun in any unconventional method.

2. Draw and deliver two aimed rounds at the target.

3. Reach over the top of the barrels while unlocking the barrel latch, allowing the barrels to swing into the left hand, brass and extractor down (on rimmed cartridge models, the extractor begins ejecting when popped open). Thumb the ejector with left thumb, letting cartridges drop, helping with right fingers, as necessary.

4. Draw two rounds, finger tips on bullets. One can substitute loading from a magazine or Tuff Quickstrips. Guide the bullets using fingertips. Close the breech and replay.

I’m betting a Derringer is not usually on the radar of most law enforcement officers. The Bond Arms Gun, in any configuration, is your Onion Field gun. 

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