What's the safest .38 derringer out there?


July 10, 2008, 08:51 AM
I am looking for a concealable .38 / .32 / 380 / or 9mm derringer.
(I'm not sure if they make them in the last two calibers.)

How safe are derringers?

I am assuming that they must be carried in a half-cocked position and with the cross-bolt safety engaged.

If i forget to engage the cross-bolt safety, and it is in the half-cocked position, can the gun still fire if i accidentally pull the trigger? Also, in the same scenario, can this gun accidentally fire if dropped?

Please give manufacturer and model recommendations.

Feel free to state pros and cons of derringers.

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July 10, 2008, 03:52 PM
Here's one in .38 special and/or .40 S&W

July 10, 2008, 06:05 PM
They are difficult to aim, slow to reload, and only hold two shots.

You can get a .380 or 9x18 semi auto almost the same size that will shoot seven to eight rounds. I carry a P64 with aftermarket springs. It holds 6 9x18 cartridges in the magazine and one in the chamber.

July 10, 2008, 06:10 PM
I would suggest that your safest option, and best, is a S&W 642.

Beats the heck out of any derringer six ways from Sunday, and if you can't conceal one you aren't trying hard enough.

July 10, 2008, 06:56 PM
I own three derringers, They are fun to shoot and I have carried them as BUGs at times, As was stated they are slow to reload and light on capasity.

I have serious doubts that you could accidently pull the trigger, as they are very hard to pull intentionaly, They can fire if dropped with the safety off, American derringers have a hammer block safety that the hammer actually rests on when ingaged, When you pull the hammer back the safety is spring loaded to release and you are ready to fire.

As far as how safe they are depends on you, I have never had an issue with mine, but then I watch what I am doing. If you know it's a gun and not a toy, you should be fine.

July 10, 2008, 07:37 PM
I don't own one and never have. My impression is that they are safer than generally given credit for, though. That being said, no trigger guard is unsettling to me personally (many don't have one).

I have a cousin who showed me one in .38 special, and I pulled out my own .38 snub to compare. Both steel guns - really & truly, my snub wasn't *that* much bigger and heavier. Especially considering what you get. When I asked myself "how much better for SD would this be than a good knife?" I answered myself "probably not much".

July 10, 2008, 09:40 PM
my brother has a cobra, 38...i have a 9, cobra....both are a hand full to shoot.....to me they are fun/novelty toys....there are much better options for cc...i am a keltec family, 32, 380, 9, 40/357.....gpr

July 10, 2008, 09:50 PM
Not a derringer , but try small autos such as the pm9 by kahr , the pf9 by kel tech , or the roraughba ( sp ) . The formfactor will be close to the same but the auto will offer more rounds and likely a better trigger than any but the high end derringers which may cost the same .

July 10, 2008, 10:23 PM
Photo was taken for a similar thread on another forum, but I think it gets the point across:
..some of the smallest stuff in the photo only shoot .22 short; the smallest specifies standard velocity .22 short. OTOH, we're talking 6 rds of .380 in the autoloaders. The regular looking 2-barrelled derringer is a Uberti in .38.

Back to the OP: I'd think that maybe the safest derringer in your caliber range might be the upsized version of the old "DA-only" High Standard that American Derringer cataloged in .38. Or maybe the COP 4 barrelled .357. In standard "Remingtonesque" O/U layouts, Bond's rebounding hammer gets my nod; reloading and snapping the barrels closed without remembering to get the hammer up from the firing position is a risk with everyone else's design that I'm familiar with.

July 10, 2008, 10:36 PM
What appears to be the .38 derringer (pointed at 3 o' clock) looks very much like the one I compared to a Taurus 85 (blued) in my post above.

[EDIT: Great photo, Molasses. Thanks.]

July 11, 2008, 01:09 AM
I think cobb sells some good ones.

July 11, 2008, 08:08 PM
Thanks guys.

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