About Derringers: Pocket Guns, Sloopy and Hoochie Koo

Even though the word “derringer” sounds French, it still manages to sound tough doesn’t it?

Bond Arms Derringer Barrels

The Modern Derringer with interchangeable barrels by Bond Arms. Photo: Rick Arnold

Technically, a derringer is a pocket pistol, and for any given caliber, it’s about as small a gun as you can get. Derringers typically are not repeating firearms as the mechanism to support a repeating action would make the gun too large and bulky to classify as a derringer.

Original derringers were single shot muzzle loaders – you know, like the pistols in Pirates of the Caribbean, only much, much smaller. Modern derringers tend to have two barrels, with each loaded with a single cartridge. Even though many modern derringers can fire two shots, it’s not because they have a repeating action. They just have two single shot barrels duct taped together. Well, only the really cheap ones are duct taped. Higher quality models use staples. Nah, still kidding. Modern derringers are actually really nice guns that are the pocket gun equivalent of a nice over and under shotgun with two barrels carefully machined or welded together.

Because the history of derringers is such as fascinating tale, we’re going to take a quick diversion here.

A Brief History of The Derringer

Coincidentally, the derringer pistol was invented by an American gunsmith named Henry Deringer. Imagine the odds of that! But back to the story. Deringer ran a thriving business in Philadelphia, manufacturing Model 1814 and 1817 Common Rifles for military contracts. Of course, the real cash cow for Derringers business was running guided tours of Rocky V film locations.

Back to guns. Deringer was famous for his small pistol designs, which were all single shot muzzle loaders, usually of large-caliber. In 1852, he started making the pistols pocket-sized and they became known as derringers. Henry Deringer did not think of his derringer pistol as anything particularly noteworthy and therefore never patented his invention. Seeing market opportunity, Apple quickly launched the iDerringer to capitalize on the design’s popularity. As a result, Henry died leaving only a modest estate and was never invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

As the derringer gained in popularity, specific designs for women, called muff pistols, became fashionable. No, we’re not making this up. Muff pistols were popular as the small derringer could easily fit in hand muffs, thereby offering concealment and quick access should an urgent self-defense need arise.

After President Lincoln was assassinated by a bad actor, John Wilkes Booth, with a Philadelphia Derringer in 1865, Henry Deringer was overcome with anguish. Leaving the life of guns behind, he decided to change not only his name, but his life’s work. Adding another “R” to his last name, and assuming the first name of “Rick”, Derringer was confident this bold new identity change would hide his past. He helped form a pop band called The McCoys and played lead guitar and a little bass on occasion. Success came slowly for Derringer and The McCoys and they released their first hit in 1965 – a single titled Hang on Sloopy. At the age of 179 Derringer had managed to reinvent his life. Hang on Sloopy paid homage to the importance of small, personal defense weapons as the song tells the story of Sloopy, who lived in a very pad part of town, where everybody tried to put her down. Many also put down her daddy, but Derringer didn’t care what her daddy do.

Rick Derringer continued to drift away from his gun-making past and launched another hit single in the 1970’s titled Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo. However, Derringer’s songwriting continued to drop hints of his more tactical past with lyrics like “lawdy mama, light my fuse.”

During Rick Derringer’s absence from the gun industry, derringer pistols declined in popularity. The advent of small revolvers and even smaller semi-automatic pistols diminished the advantages of one or two shot derringers.

Until the advent of Cowboy Action Shooting…

In 1995, Greg Bond, custom derringer maker and half-brother of James, officially founded Bond Arms. Never one to enjoy tuxedos and that silly accent, Greg parted ways with his brother and headed west across the pond to Granbury, Texas. Insistent on his belief that modern gun design could be applied to the derringer, Bond brought several innovations to the classic derringer design. In addition to easy locking double barrels and a safer rebounding hammer design, Bond introduced the idea of interchangeable barrels. Now, one derringer frame could use barrels from the lowly .22 long rifle all the way up to .45 Colt. Even when pressed, Bond would not comment on rumors of his brother’s custom 40mm grenade derringer.

Continuing to distance himself from the family spy business, Bond and his Arms became ingrained in the Cowboy Action Shooting competition circuit where models like the Snake Slayer helped good guys and villains alike win 10 consecutive titles.

Derringers continue to be popular today, where they are a mainstay fixture on the World Poker Tour, Except of course in the City of New York, where some New Boy King banned playing cards.

Holster Review: Pretty Dangerous Accessories Ladies Gun Holster

Shhh. It’s our secret…

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Holster with Springfield Armory EMP 9mm

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Holster shown with a Springfield Armory EMP 9mm

That’s the very appropriate tagline advertised by Pretty Dangerous Accessories. While Pretty Dangerous Accessories offers innovative jewelry designs and clothing for shooting women, we elected to take a look at their holster line.

We had to solicit the skills of our female staff for this assignment because, well, let’s face it, men have the fashion sense of Silly Putty. You see, we needed feminine input not only for functionality testing, but commentary on more intangible factors like fun, fashion points and cuteness. And “cuteness” is as foreign to guys as choir practice is to Lindsey Lohan.

Ways To Use A Pretty Dangerous Accessories Holster

Gun fit versatility is designed in to the Pretty Dangerous Accessories holster. It features an open top / open bottom design somewhat like the famous “Yaqui Slide” style. This allows the holster to fit a variety of pistols and revolvers regardless of slide length. As long as the body fits and the trigger guard is properly covered, you’re good to go. There is a metal clip on one side that allows for different mount options as we’ll discuss in a sec. The clip is removable if you can figure out a scenario where that would benefit you.

We tried to get creative and figure out a variety of ways to use this holster. Here’s what we found:

  • Clip it on jeans for an easy mount / easy removable outside the waistband holster.
  • Clip it to an interior pocket in a purse or other carry bag to keep it exactly in place and out of the clutter.
  • Clip it on a boot!
  • Clip it to other clothing items. We’ll leave that to you.
  • While driving, clip it to a surface in your car for accessibility. Be sure to check local laws regarding car carry with and without a concealed carry license.
  • And more…

Fun for Fashionistas

Pretty Dangerous Accessories inventor, founder, accountant, production manager, and chief designer Julie Ruster Price has an interesting background which led to this combination of style and function. She was a cop for years, but also had experience in fashion and merchandising.

Yes, you guessed it, Julie was the driving force behind the creation of the first Elite Tactical Response Unit for Lifetime Network’s hit show Project Runway. In between emergency deployments to resolve cat fights in the contestant’s shared apartments, Julie hatched the idea for Pretty Dangerous Accessories.

Some ask why devote energy to fashionable materials and designs for a product that will be rarely seen by others. “Why not?” responds Julie. “YOU can enjoy it!”

Gun Fit

We tried the Pretty Dangerous Accessories with a variety of concealed carry friendly handguns. With few exceptions, we found this holster design to  do an admirable job of protecting the trigger and providing a stable means of carrying a gun.

One of the keys to the multi-fit design is assigning a specific gun to a specific holster. That means you’re better off getting different holsters if you plan on using multiple size guns. Being made of leather, the Pretty Dangerous Holster quickly conforms to fit a specific handgun. For larger guns, it will stretch to fit – within reason.

Here are some of the guns we tried with good success:

 Pretty Dangerous Accessories Hair On Cowskin holster with Walther PPK

This combination of a Cylinder and Slide customized Walther PPK and the Pretty Dangerous Accessories Hair-On Cowskin Holster was a winner. The fit was excellent and we found it easy to get a good solid firing grip. And let’s face it – Walthers are just plain elegant and need a holster with equal style.

 Pretty Dangerous Accessories Eggplant Ostrich Holster with Glock 17

We were somewhat surprised to find that a full size Glock 17 Gen 4 worked just fine in this Eggplant Ostrich Holster.

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Black Lizard Holster with Glock 32

Of course, all of the Glock models in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 Sig share the same slide and frame width, so the Glock 32 equipped with Crimson Trace Lasersights fit perfectly in this Black Lizard Holster.

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Duty Rose Leather Holster with Glock 26

Here’s a Glock 26 Gen 4 equipped with a Pearce Grip Extension with a Duty Rose Leather Holster.

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Duty Red Croc Holster with Beretta Tomcat

The Beretta Tomcat 3032 .32 ACP with custom grips is wide enough to get a reasonably snug fit in this Red Croc Holster.

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Duty Eggplant Ostrich Holster with Ruger LCP

The Ruger LCP .380 ACP fits in this Eggplant Ostrich Holster, but it’s somewhat loose. It will work fine with certain carry methods – although the gun positions a little too deeply in the holster to get a proper firing grip without adjustment.

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Duty Red Croc Holster with Springfield Armory TRP

A full size Springfield Armory 1911 TRP Armory Kote in the Red Croc Holster. A pretty dangerous gun in a Pretty Dangerous Accessories holster. Just right for the pretty dangerous lady in your life. Notice the trigger is fully protected.

Pretty Dangerous Accessories Duty Ostrich and Rose Duty Holster with Ruger LCR

The Ruger LCR Revolver has a slightly atypical trigger guard. It’s more of an oblong, egg shape – but it still makes lousy omelets. In any case, the fit is a little iffy on this holster. We had 5 different ones in for evaluation and we managed to fit the LCR in two of them. If this is the combination you want, just let the folks at Pretty Dangerous Accessories know you need a bit of extra room. Or gently encourage your LCR to cut down on the late night snacks.

Closing Arguments

This is a versatile and functional holster design. One has to be careful about checking fit with your choice of handgun as it’s a one size fits all design, but we found this holster to work with a broad array of handguns. When tweaking the design, the Pretty Dangerous Accessories team scoured the gun shows to try as many models as possible, so if in doubt, just give them a call before ordering. The only drawback to the one-size fits many approach is fit can be a little loose depending on your choice of gun. We found revolvers and mid size semi-automatics like the Walther PPK and Springfield Armory EMP to be quite snug and secure.

Our Rating

3 Nuns Three Nuns! Stylish AND dangerous. This is a nice holster design. For certain “mid-sized” concealed carry guns, the fit is perfect. It particularly shines with short barrel revolvers. We also liked the variety of leather finishes. Why not make a personal holster fashion statement?
Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters - available at Amazon.com! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

 

On the Ninth Day of Christmas… 9mm Kimber Solo-ing

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On the ninth day of Christmas, I hope my true love gives to me…
9mm Kimber Solo-ing…

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solocarrystainlessA new Kimber Solo has been on the ‘want’ list for months. An ultra-compact 9mm, it offers a variety of features not commonly found on pocket-sized guns:

  • It’s all steel and has a nice weight to it
  • Single action, striker-fired design so there is a constant trigger pull
  • Ambidextrous frame mounted safety
  • Nice 3-dot sights
  • 6+1 capacity

The standout feature is the feel. The frame is completely smoothed and melted and it feels great in the grip. It’s kind of like holding a stick of butter except you don’t have to wash you hands afterword.

 

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Eight Guns for Plinking…
Seven lasers aiming…
Six scales a weighing…
Five magnum things…
Four written words…
Three tactical pens…
Two shooting gloves
And a Smith and Wesson M and P

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