The Bond Arms Back-Up

This deep-cover derringer offers
plenty of power in a small package

The stainless steel barrels have a matte bead-blast finish and
the frame is matte black powder coated. The triggerguard is steel.

When I think of the Bond Derringers, there is usually an “Old West” connection. The classic scene, the gambler reaching into his vest pocket when the deck produced more than four aces. Well, not this time. They’re calling this one the “Back-Up” and it’s designed for present-day serious business. The initial chambering is for .45 ACP.

The rest of the Bond Derringers are things of beauty, with high polish and handsome grips. This one, while just as carefully made, has a more workmanlike appearance. The stainless-steel barrel unit is matte gray, the frame has an electrically-applied black powder-coat, and the black grips are soft rubber, giving a good hold. (You’ll need it!)

The triggerguard is bead-blasted steel. If you prefer the traditional derringer look, the guard is removable by taking out one screw. On the Back-Up, though, you might want to leave it in place, as it aids retention during the substantial recoil. In regard to that, there’s an old saying that in a dire social situation, you won’t notice it.

The barrel latch and the safety button are located for easy left-side operation.

Compared to the 9mm barrel unit, the .45 is impressive — in size and recoil.

With this .45 ACP CorBon Plus-P load, the felt recoil will be memorable.

There is no ejector, but the access cut (right) allows easy thumbnail extraction of fired cases.

About 20 years ago, when Greg Bond redesigned the old Remington 1866 derringer, he corrected all of William Elliot’s mistakes. And, he added a few innovations, one of them a patented feature. This reference is to the system that rebounds the hammer, causing it to re-engage
the sear.

There are numerous other notable differences. The weak barrel-pivot of the iron-framed Remington was replaced by massive loops of good steel. The barrel latch was moved to the left side of the frame, and spring-loaded to snap into locked position. Not only was this more convenient for operation, it resulted in a much stronger engagement.

One of Greg’s best ideas was to switch the pivoting striker-block in the hammer to the left side. This worked perfectly with the added cross-bolt push-button safety, allowing the off-safe movement to be toward the right, more convenient for thumb operation. The safety is a true hammer-block, an excellent drop-safe. For secure storage, a tiny Allen screw in the top right of the frame can lock the safety in on-safe position.

The sights are square-picture, non-adjustable, of course. In this close-quarters gun, they are mostly for reference. Even so, at the classic seven-yard encounter distance, with a two-hand hold, the Back-Up kept both shots in the 8″ black of the Champion VisiShot target. Usually, one was well centered, and the other was low or high, depending on which barrel fired first.

In deference to my bone structure, which has been around for eight decades, I put on a shooting glove, and fired it with the .45 barrel unit for just two shots. Then, for the rest of the test firing, I installed the optional 9mm unit. The target results were essentially the same, and the felt-recoil was much less, even with high-performance loads.

The extra 9mm barrel unit has a suggested retail price of $109. This is another good thing about having a Bond derringer — you can change calibers by removing/replacing a single screw. In the 3″ length, there’s quite a list of options. Those cost a little more. Altogether, I’d give the Bond Back-Up four stars. 

Back-Up Maker: Bond Arms, Inc.

Caliber: .45 ACP, 9mm (tested), many others
Capacity: 2
Weight: 22 oz.
Barrel length: 2-1/2″
Overall length: 4-3/8″
Height: 1-1/8″
Width: 15/16″, Price: $405

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