One of our main priorities here at Gunner’s Den is education. And one of our main tracts of education is ballistics studies. We do a lot more ammo education than the guns themselves, but it’s a goal of mine to begin focusing more on the guns.
So we like to talk about all manners of firearms, their history, and what their current uses are. This time, we’re going to tackle the Derringer.
What is a Derringer gun?
A Derringer, also known as a Deringer (with one “r”) is a small single or double shot self-defense pistol that is highly concealable.
These little pistols are a great last line of defense against an attacker and are meant more for up close and personal defensive situations. So, you won’t be winning any long distance competitions with a Derringer, but they are effective as a small concealed carry firearm.
The most prominent manufacturer of Derringer pistols today is a company based out of Texas known as Bond Arms (pictured above). It’s nearly impossible to have a discussion about this pistol without mentioning them because the Derringer is their primary focus.
For the past several years they’ve produced all manner of Derringer pistols chambered in a plethora of different calibers.
Can a Derringer Kill?
Yes a Derringer can kill a person. A Derringer can be chambered in anything from 22 LR to 45 Colt and everything in between (to include rifle calibers like 223 Remington and 7.62X39 from a company called Heizer Defense). They’re not the easiest to shoot, but anyone on the receiving could surely die if hit.
And in fact, Derringers were used to assassinate some very famous people, which I’ll go more in depth on below.
Who Made The First Derringer?
It was actually first made by a guy named Henry Deringer. His Philadelphia Deringer was a single-shot muzzleloader that was introduced in 1825.
Hopefully obvious is that the modern Derringer is an interpretation of his original design with many modern improvements.
At some point along the way there was a misspelling of his last name which stuck, and his creation would forever bear his name, with an added letter.
The most famous of all Deringer pistols is the one used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abe Lincoln. In fact, the above picture was taken from Wikipedia and according to them, that is the Deringer used to kill Lincoln.
Cons to a Derringer For Self-Defense
The main positive to having such a small gun for your defensive purposes, is that it nearly disappears on your body. So, unless someone is looking for that gun, they’ll never find it.
There are a lot more cons to offset the pros. Some of those cons are as follows:
- Small stature means harder to shoot
- Small stature means limited capability in terms of distance
- You only have, at most, two shots before needing to reload
- Modern Derringers are a break-action for loading which can be time consuming for the untrained
The Derringer does still have a place for some folks who would like to deep conceal a firearm either for comfort or another reason. They are so small that they just about disappear on the body.
They have a long, interesting history, even if it is one that is skewed by misspellings and being a totally different platform today than when first invented.