March 09, 2020
Small self-defense handguns have been around for a very long time, more than 350 years. About 195 years ago, in 1825, Henry Deringer (one “r”) began designing what would become the archetypal snubnose: a single-shot, single-barreled pistol designed for up-close personal protection. His first designs were flintlock, but later versions were percussion. Reports indicate he produced about 15,000 such pistols in a variety of calibers. Other companies also got in the game, and all short-barreled, personal-protection pistols were eventually called “derringers.” In 1866 Remington started producing a break-open, double-barreled snubnose pistol that fired metallic cartridges and was named the “Double Derringer” (with two “r”s). It is the form that most gun guys are familiar with and think of when they hear the word derringer. Remington had sold about 130,000 Double Derringers by 1935. I have one chambered for .41 Rimfire, and it is a cool little gun.
You’re probably wondering what all that has to do with the title of this article. Well, the Bond Arms Backup 9mm derringer is a distant descendant of those vintage guns. It’s one of Bond’s bestsellers, and it’s an extremely well-built double-barreled self-defense pistol. It’s available chambered for .45 ACP and 9mm Luger. I’ve been shooting the 9mm pistol.
The Bond Backup weighs 20.6 ounces and measures 4.5 inches long, 3.75 inches high, and 1.22 inches thick. The barrels are 2.5 inches long. For comparison, my Remington Double Derringer measures 4.9 inches long, 3.1 inches high, and 1.1 inches thick.
The Backup’s stainless-steel frame is textured with a black finish, and the stainless-steel barrels are bead blasted and have an anti-glare gray finish. The grips are textured black rubber.
The Backup utilizes Bond’s patented rebounding hammer and retracting firing pins. The safety is a crossbolt type that prevents the hammer from striking the firing pins.
The action opens via the spring-loaded, cammed locking lever located on the left-hand side. Once activated, the barrels can be swung up for loading and unloading. Extraction of fired cases is manual.
The hammer has an oversize hammerspur, and the trigger is skeletonzed. Trigger pull averaged a stiff 8.0 pounds on my gun. The pistol comes with a trigger guard, but it can be removed by the user. Also, the standard grips can be switched out for extended grip panels that allow a fuller grip.
The rear sight is a simple notch, and the front sight is a large ramped blade. Obviously, this pistol is not meant for precision shooting; it’s more of a point-and-shoot handgun.
The accuracy listed in the accompanying chart is for five, two-shot groups fired from a benchrest at 21 feet. I broke Shooting Times protocol by firing at that distance instead of at 25 yards because Bond’s operator’s manual specifically states the Backup is suitable at distances from one to 21 feet. Each two-shot group comprises one shot from each barrel. Overall, the accuracy was sufficient for defending oneself up close. Interestingly, the top barrel’s impact was anywhere from 0.5 inch to 2.0 inches high and to the left (again anywhere from 0.5 inch to 2.0 inches) of the bottom barrel’s impact. Point of impact at 21 feet varied from 4.0 inches low from point of aim to 2.0 inches high from point of aim depending on the load.
I can see why the Backup is one of Bond’s bestsellers. It is extremely solid, and it does exactly what it is designed to do.
Bond Arms Backup Derringer 9mm SpecsManufacturer:
Bond Arms Inc.; bondarms.comType:
Break-open double-barreled derringerCaliber:
9mm LugerCartridge Capacity:
2.5 in.Overall Length:
3.75 in.Weight, Empty:
Matte black/matte stainless steelSights:
Notch rear; blade frontTrigger:
8.0-lb. pull (as tested)Safety: