Speaking of derringers

Speaking of derringer type pistols, I struggled for a bit with how to spell derringer in the post below.  While the kit refers to it as a “derringer” kit, I went back and forth for a bit on whether or not I should spell it with one or two “r’s”.

The reason for that being is that the first derringer type pistols were created by Henry Deringer (note the single “r”) of PA to fill the gentleman’s need for a powerful pistol that could be concealed with relative ease.  The first Deringer pistols were spelled with the single “r” as they were named after their creator.  The pistol type was so popular that it was readily and often copied by other gun makers, who would often slightly change the spelling of Deringer by adding a second “r” to the spelling to create the word “derringer”.

It’s not known when the word derringer came to become synonymous with pocket pistosl, but I’d hazard a guess that it had something to do with Remington’s massively popular double derringer, the pistol which has seen almost as much action in western films as Colt revolvers.

I still believe that derringer-type pistols can fill a pretty valuable niche in today’s self defense market as well; even a little .38 Special derringer with two shots is a better choice (to me) than going un-armed or just packing a fighting knife.


  1. Thing is, there are autochuckers and revolvers competing for the same niche as the two-shot single-action derringer now. An Airweight J-frame or Kahr PM-9 will fit almost everyplace a derringer will, and is ten times the gun.

    Plus, cocking a derringer speedily while drawing from concealment is a bear…

  2. I’ve got one in my car’s instrument panel, but it’s strictly a last-ditch piece…I’d sooner go for the Taurus 651 snubby in my glove box if the tactical situation allows.

    You could also slip it in a coat pocket as a 2nd or even 3rd carry piece (with your second gun being in an ankle holster).

  3. I think i’ve mentioned this here before, but I have a little .32 derringer I keep in my front pocket when i’m at work. It’s sole purpose is to provide me with SOMETHING if a former employee comes back to take out her frustrations on my boss. I also have a co-worker with a bipolar schizophrenic as an ex-husband, and her office is right next to mine.

    My plan for an active shooter at my workplace is to run out to my car and get my .40 p99C carry weapon, and the derringer is for if I run into that person on the way.

    I also carry it with me when I am properly armed, because TN law is such that if I am at Sears (we don’t have Von Maur here) with my wife and some miscreant comes in intending to inflict mass casualties, I can give her the derringer and she cannot be charged with anything if she uses it.

  4. In TN law, actually needing to use a concealed weapon to stop a violent attack is an affirmative defence to the charge of carrying w/o a permit.

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