Review: Bond Arms Handguns

By Major Pandemic published on in Firearms, Reviews

Granbury Texas is not one of the huge Meccas of the Lone Star state. However, one very notable business has made its home there—the now famous Bond Arms. A few years ago, I toured the factory and left so impressed that I ordered two different guns plus an extra .357 barrel. That barrel collection has grown over the years to include a versatile stable of calibers including .410/45 Colt, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum/.38 Special, 9mm, and .22 LR.

Ranger II with Holster

The Ranger II with Holster delivers a vertical carry solution.

Though many get distracted by all the possible options, Bond Arms does offer models such as the extremely compact .45 ACP Backup and Ranger II that feature a 4.25″ .410/.45 Colt barrel. Bond Arms focused on the popular configuration with its factory models. Models range from super-short 2.5-inch barrels all the way to the quite large 6-inch barrels with different frame and barrel finishes, with and without trigger guards, and various grip sizes and grip materials. Currently, Bond Arms offers about a dozen models to choose from, but many of these models are available in a variety of calibers options.

As with all Bond Arms guns, the barrel, and grip components can be swapped out with any other frame. Over the years, I have also changed the previous rubber backup grip to rosewood and have changed this over to a 9mm barrel.

Fit, Finish, Feel, & Features

One of the features of the Bond Arms handguns is that any barrel length and caliber offered by Bond Arms can be swapped out with any Bond Arms frame and vise-versa. Gordon Bond went a step further, creating sets of various grips and grip sizes. All Bond grips can be swapped between frames. Technically, all the Bond Arms frames are the same; some models feature a different finish or removable trigger guard, but otherwise are the same. Therefore, if you have a Bond barrel, it will fit on any Bond lower receiver. Honestly, it is dizzying to think of all the combinations. In my case, the Ranger II and Backup models I started with both included removable trigger guards. The Ranger II features a light, polished finish, extended hardwood grip, and 4.25-inch .410/.45 Colt barrel. The Backup is chambered in .45 ACP with a flat bead blast finish and rubber grip.

Bond Arms Ranger II barrels on Backup model frame

Swapping out barrels is simple – pictured is the Ranger II .410 barrel on the Backup frame.

Regardless which Bond Arms handgun you choose, the workmanship delivered by the robot-assisted production plant is quite amazing.

The longer 4.25-inch length was designed to add velocity, deliver a little more accuracy, and take a little bite out of shooting .410 rounds in a handgun. There are a lot of folks who carry Bond Arms handguns as their defensive firearm, and more than a few requested a carry package, leading to the Ranger II being created.

Realistically, I never thought that I would want to have an afternoon plinking session with the Ranger II loaded with .410 shells, however that is exactly what happened after realizing the recoil was really quite manageable, even for folks like myself who are recoil sensitive; due to two steel plates in my right arm.

Functions

Just like any of Bond Arms handguns, the operation and loading is simple. Push down on the left hand-side action lever, and the action will pop open. Drop in two rounds, close the action, assure the safety is pushed to the right (fire), cock the hammer, and pull the trigger to fire the first round. Cock the hammer and pull the trigger to fire the second round.

Bond Arms revolver with barrels

Compatibility allows different grips and barrels to be used on the same frame with no fitting.

Bond Arms feature an automatic firing-pin selector that automatically moves to the next barrel with each cocking of the hammer. Is it as fast as pulling the trigger twice on your Glock? No. However, it is surprisingly fast, and, if you have been brushing up on your Cowboy Action Single-Action Revolver skills, it’s quite fast.

Bond Arms Backup

Obviously, the very short 2.5-inch barreled Backup is designed for one purpose, to deliver a last ditch option when the primary firearm is inaccessible or inoperable. To keep the Backup as low profile and compact as possible, the barrel has been bead blast finished and the receiver is flat black crinkle finished. The Rubber grips are kept compact and provide a surprising amount of purchase for tiny little grips; they also deliver a lot of control for this powerful little package. According to Gordon Bond, many law enforcement wanted a backup pistol to tuck in their pocket or under their body armor. The Backup fits that need perfectly.

I did actually work through 20 rounds each of full-power Hornady TAP 200-grain XTP and 185-grain FTX ammo. I am surprised to say, it was not that bad. I noticed the recoil. However, it was far less than I had imagined it would be. Having shot a competing DoubleTap pistol in .45 ACP which felt like it broke my hand, the Bond Arms Backup .45 ACP was a cakewalk.

Tuff Products Shooting Stars

Tuff Products Shooting Stars cut into pairs delivers quick reloads.

Bond Arms Ranger II

Stunningly, I hammered through over five boxes of various .410 shotshells and two boxes of Hornady .45 Colt rounds and it was a blast. BB and buckshot rounds were a bunch of fun on 10-yard cans, however the pattern really opens up quick out of a rifled 4.25-inch barrel. #4-8 shotshells would be awesome on closer range pests and snakes. I found that a general rule was that upland game shot delivered 1-inch group size for each foot you were away from the target. For example, at 10 feet, a #6 shotshell would deliver around a 10-inch group. A good rule of thumb for the Buckshot rounds exiting the Ranger II was a 1-inch group for every yard away from the target—a target at 10 yards delivered a 10-inch group. Therefore, I was just shredding cans at 10 yards and could literally hit them blindfolded.

Reloading was actually quick with the auto extractors, however even quicker using Tuff Products QuickStar reloading strip for single action revolvers. The QuickStar worked perfect to carry both .410 and .45 Colt ammo. Eventually, I cut my Tuff Products QuickStar set into two-shot strips.

Accuracy

These are not target pistols, the Bond Arms pistols are short-barreled defensive pistols, so you cannot hold them to the same accuracy standards. The Bond Arms are still minute-of-man accurate at 50-yards which is impressive. Realistically, shots beyond 10 yards take some practice. Of note, there is difference in point-of-aim between the top barrel and bottom barrel. However, if you hold center of mass, you will consistently deliver gut and chest hits. If you want to shoot for groups, pick a barrel and cycle through shooting groups with that chosen barrel. Otherwise, you will end up with a 2-inch top group and about 4-6 inches lower, another 2-inch group with the respective barrels.

Chamber of a Band Arms derringer

Quick and easy loading could not be more simple.

Naturally, the longer the barrels such as the 4.25-inch barrel on the Ranger II deliver better the practical accuracy. Bond now offers a 6-inch barrel as well for more velocity and accuracy. Similar to my spare .357 Magnum barrel, I was able to deliver 50-yard offhand shots on full-sized Action Target Silhouettes while keeping most shots within a large pie plate-sized ring. Due to the legality and spread of the .410 defensive rounds, I would not personally take a 50-yard shot with buckshot or with a defensive multi-projectile .410 round. However, this demonstrates the flexibility of two barrels and the .410/.45 Colt chambering. Regardless of the caliber and length of barrel installed, I have no issues hitting a soda can at 15-yards—if I shoot from the most zeroed barrel—otherwise I tend to slip the second shot.

Final Thoughts

The Bond Arms have proven to be infallibly reliable and easy to shoot. Add in a premium quality not found on most guns these days, and you have a tough to beat firearm. Sure, on almost any given day, I have a high capacity semi-auto on my hip. However, there are many times the flexibility of the Bond firearm are handy.

There are very few guns that you will find me recommending just because I think they are gorgeous, however the Bond Arms models are stunning. Beyond the impeccable quality, fit, and finish, the Bond Arms handguns are rock solid dependable defensive firearm. With that noted, it is still a beautiful pistol that is fully capable—with some practice—for self-defense, and one which I carry proudly.

Specifications

Bond Arms .45ACP Backup

  • Interchangeable Barrels
  • Rebounding Hammer
  • Retracting Firing Pins
  • Crossbolt Safety
  • Spring-Loaded Cammed Locking Lever (for a tighter barrel/frame fit and Rapid loading and unloading)
  • Stainless Steel with Matte Finish and black crinkle powder coat
  • Trigger guard
  • 18-19 oz
  • Rubber grips
  • 2.5″ barrel, .45ACP (included on gun)
  • MSRP $410
    • Optional Accessory Barrels Available in Matte Finish (please specify matte finish when ordering)
    • .357 MAG/.38 Spl
    • .45 Colt, Only (not .410)
    • .40 S&W
      • Added .357 Magnum in Standard finish 4.25” for testing.

Bond Arms .410 Ranger II

  • Available in either .45/.410 or .38 Spec./.357 Mag Barrel
  • Features:  Interchangeable Barrels
  • Automatic Extractor (EXCEPT FOR 9mm, 40S&W, 10mm and .45 ACP)
  • Rebounding Hammer
  • Retracting Firing Pins
  • Crossbolt Safety
  • Spring-Loaded Cammed Locking Lever (for a tighter barrel/frame fit and Rapid loading and unloading)
  • Stainless Steel with Satin Polish Finish
  • All Bond Arms barrels will fit this frame, and do come in shorter barrel lengths.
  • Weight: 23 1/2 oz.
  • Overall Length: 6 1/4″

Calibers:

  • 4 1/4″ barrel, .410/.45LC (included on gun)
  • .357 MAG/.38 Spl
  • .45 ACP
  • .45 Colt, Only
  • .45 Glock Auto
  • .44 Special
  • 44-40 Winchester
  • .40 S&W
  • 10 mm
  • 9 mm
  • 32 H&R Mag
  • .22 Long Rifle
  • .22 Mag.

Optional Accessory Barrels:

  • Stocks: Black Ash Star Grips
  • Sights: Bladefront and Fixed Rear
  • Retail Price: $634.00

Have you had any range time with one of Bond Arms offerings? Share your experiences or thoughts about Bond Arms or derringers in the comment section.

Gas maskMajor Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com

Tags: , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

  • MadMax3.6

    |

    Deringers are fine for those who like them but I can’t justify spending $629 for a firearm that is not only single action but holds only two rounds and is just as big as my glock 27.Good luck on those who choose to carry them.

    Reply

  • Tom Abbott

    |

    Although my name submission for the new Bond long barrel derringer was not the winner, as soon as I can afford it I will purchase one to go with my other Bond guns. You make a quality product and my current derringer is with my all the time.

    Thanks
    Tom Abbott

    Reply

  • Steven Parker

    |

    I own Two the snakeslayer and the Backup also two extra barrels .22Mag and .357 I don’t have ant trouble with the triggers because they pull down and back not just back. If you pull them this way they are very easy. They also need to work this way so if you take the trigger guard off . I love both and carry one everywhere I go.

    Reply

  • Michael s Franks

    |

    Hey paul, depending on barrel length of course, i put my pointer finger down barrel and pull trigger on 410/45 l.c. (4″)w/middle finger &it fires easier. Still have stock grips on,so helps with holding tiny-handful of recoil a bit also. No adverse effects yet. Maybe an oversized grip would be another option,less ccw,more control and firing leverage. Every little bit helps. I’m in my 50’s so always looking for “easy on the body”

    Reply

  • Dragon

    |

    While my EDC handguns are always in the form of a semiauto pistol, I have often carried a two-shot piece such as the Bond Arms pistol as a backup piece. In my case, however, I prefer the Double Tap O/U in 9x19mm or .45ACP. The Double Tap is a lighter weight gun and is considerably thinner in cross section than the Bond. The Double Tap also provides a place in the grip to carry two extra rounds of ammo, and the Double Tap is a DAO piece that foregoes the need to thumb cock an exposed hammer…..which can also get hung up on clothing. As an aside, during my combat tour with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam, I routinely carried a High Standard DAO derringer .22 Magnum in my boot. I still have it to this day.

    Reply

  • Paul Martin

    |

    My wife and I each own one and we carry them in the woods with snake loads. Never had to use them however. I have found the heavy trigger pull not easy to get used to while my wife actually has significant difficulties with the heavy trigger. OTOH if she actually saw a cottonmouth then the heavy trigger pull might not be a problem any longer.

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: