Concealed Carry

Review: Bond Arms Roughneck Derringer

Bond Arms Roughneck Derringer with two barrel options

I recently purchased and extensively tested the new Bond Arms Roughneck derringer.

This is a handgun intended to sell at an attractive price point, while maintaining Bond Arms’ quality.

The Roughneck succeeds and offers good value for the money. The Bond Arms derringer is among a very few of the type worth having.

They feature a rebounding hammer, making them drop-safe and safe to carry.

They are of good quality, easy enough to use, and offer good utility as a back-up handgun.

They are surprisingly accurate, although long-range shooting with these firearms is something of a stunt.

Some of the Bond Arms guns are beautifully finished. My cut-rate gun isn’t, but you know it isn’t bad at all.

Natural stainless steel with a bit of polishing is workmanlike and attractive.

If money is no object, the highly polished Texas Defender is a fine option. Or you can just about buy two Roughnecks.

There is no difference in the action and reliability.

Bond Arms Derringer
This big six-inch barrel Texas Defender is an awe-inspiring handgun.

Features and Specs

The Roughneck is opened by swinging the barrels downward on the frame. An opening latch on the frame allows this.

The handgun is loaded with two shells and the action closed. Cock the hammer, fire. Cock it again, fire, and repeat the process to unload.

There is a manual hammer-blocking safety I choose to ignore. It is too slow to press the safety off and then cock the hammer.

I suppose there is some merit for home-defense use to leave the gun on safe and the safety doesn’t hurt anything.

The barrel may be changed among 9mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Magnum and other combinations. My example is a .45 ACP.


Just makes sense, I have plenty of .45 ACP stored, including light loads with hard-cast bullets for inexpensive practice.

I also have a spare six-inch barrel in .45 Colt. Interesting options there! This is a simple handgun that simply doesn’t have a lot to go wrong.

I have never heard of a failure to fire or any type of parts breakage with this company.

The firing pin gives the cartridge primer a hard whack and the chambers are properly cut and polished.

Disassembled Derringer
It isn’t difficult to change out the Bond Arms barrel.

Bond Arms Roughneck Specifications

  • Caliber Options: .357 Mag/.38 Spl, .45 ACP, 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 2.5 Inches
  • Grip Material: Rubber
  • Grip Size: Standard
  • Sights: Front Blade, Fixed Rear
  • Length: 4.5 Inches
  • Weight: 19 Ounce
  • Optional: Replacement Barrels

How It Fires

So we have handy little handgun that neatly tucks into the pocket, yet it hits hard.

With the .45 ACP at 700 fps or so from a 2.5-inch barrel, velocity isn’t the main advantage.

In the .45 Colt, a 255-grain conical bullet from Winchester is prone to tumble. This makes for effective wound ballistics.

Firing the shorter-barrel derringer at 15 feet, I fired both cartridges within four inches of the other. Four cartridges went into a six-inch group.

Winchester’s 230-grain FMJ is a fine carry load. Perhaps the Winchester Silvertip would expand to an extent at low velocity.

The hole is .451-inch to begin with! A true test is to draw and quickly fire at arms length. It isn’t difficult to quickly plug a target.

Knocked down and under attack, the derringer will serve at intimate range.

With a short sight radius and relatively heavy trigger, that is about all you may expect.

With the six-inch barrel, the Bond Arms Roughneck balances nicely just tucked in the belt. Here things get interesting.

Firing from the benchrest — a ridiculous picture with a derringer, sure, but the results are interesting — I managed to fire a 2.5-inch group using only one barrel at 10 yards. That is useful.

The .45 Colt six-inch barrel also takes .410 shotgun shells. Recoil is stout!

With the Winchester PDX load, you have a little spread on target. For dangerous reptiles or feral dogs this load has merit.

The shot load strikes just above the point of aim at seven yards. I like this option a lot. Recoil isn’t bad at all in the six-inch barrel gun.

There are .45 ACP shotshells as well, but not nearly as useful as the .410.

While the 9mm Luger and .38 Special kick less, I have more confidence in the .45s for many reasons. I am glad I chose this caliber.

The shotgun option is attractive as well.

I never owned one of the old Snake Charmer .410 shotguns, but with the six-inch barrel Roughneck, I don’t need one. 

With the 255-grain .45 Colt Winchester loading, average velocity in my 4¾-inch barrel single-action revolver is 700 fps.

In the Bond Arms barrel, the load just breaks 745 fps. That is a useful chunk of lead! This is a load with a tremendous reputation in personal defense.

A big chunk of lead and low recoil. The Derringer makes an attractive back-up to the SAA .45 I often carry on the trail.

When hiking or backpacking, a lot of us like to have some type of firearm, and the Derringer makes a lot of sense.

I have often slept in a sleeping bag with a SAA over my chest. The Bond Arms Roughneck would serve as well for most uses.

Loaded with the Winchester .410 PDX, a feral dog or bobcat would be dispatched easily if need be. This is arms-length work.

woman firing pistol at target
This young woman shows how it is done!

Accuracy and Performance

Unlike some derringers, the Bond Arms gun has a degree of accuracy. This makes it a fun shooter.

A few clues — at close range with the short barrel, the bullets impact about four to five inches apart. At 10 yards, 10 inches is more like it.

However, with the six-inch barrel, the bullets tend to strike closer together. Sights may be filed to raise the point of impact as needed.

The derringer is well-made of good material, reliable and in the right caliber, it hits hard.

Target with Bullet Holes
Accuracy at short range is excellent.

What do you think of the Bond Arms Roughneck derringer? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (9)

  1. I have one in 38/357.

    Both semi-autos (held out of battery) and revolvers (cylinder held in place) can be disabled at touchy-feely range.

    Semi’s can have issues with limp wristing in a close quarters defensive situation. Running, rolling, shooting on the move, poor draw, etc…real life is not like competition shooting. There is a better chance of failing after the first round is fired while scrambling around at contact distance.

    I have a revolver primary and will start using the BA Roughneck as my BUG. I carry an SL Variant speed loader and a speed strip. The speed strip can be used for the revolver and the derringer.

    The same can be done with autoloaders and the Bond Arms as a backup. If you carry a 9mm and a spare mag and it fails or is lost and you have the 9mm barrel for the Bond Arms you can use the Bond Arms as a back up. You can then use the 9mm mag to reload the Bond Arms directly from the spare mag (kind of like a speed strip).

    Most of the stuff with the Bond Arms is last ditch stuff. I think it’s a good car jacking first option and good if it’s quicker to get to your BUG and use the BUG to shoot so you can get to your primary arm.

  2. A roughneck in .38/.357 with my reload snake-shot shells is my new go-to for checking stock on our farm in copperhead season. POA and POI do not vary much, if you remember that the gun is zeroed off the bottom barrel.

    It will replace my old Taurus 85 as my fishing-vest gun too, with .38+p HPs for two-legged snakes at the boat landing. I fish in some remote spots.

    Seriously good workmanship went into these guns. They are overbuilt to a degree that would make Bill Ruger proud.

  3. I want a Bond derringer in the worst way! I just cannot bring myself to spend $600+ on a 2-shot weapon. I picked up a Judge Public Defender a few years ago for about $400. I like the versatility of shot shell and large caliber bullet!

  4. That is a really cool little pistol, but in the bbl length I want, it would weigh more than my Glock 27 (10 vs. 2 rounds) That being said, I STILL want one! Hopefully, the Roughneck can be had with the larger grips, and I would probably want it in .357/.38 and the 6″ bbls. I would not use this weapon as a primary self-defense piece, but would certainly carry it as a backup. Many years ago I owned a High Standard .22mag over/under pistol, and had great fun with that, but eventually traded it off, This Roughneck would serve better in that capacity anyway. Thank you to Bond Arms for making this piece more affordable for the general public!!

  5. I’ve owned a Snake Slayer(45 LC/410)since ‘08 and also have .357 Mag barrels in 2 lengths. This gun is reliable and fairly accurate for up to 10 yds. Their driving holster worn in the front of body is very handy for protection from attempted high jackings and other road rage attacks. I carry a .40 on the hip, but access can be restricted by the seat belt, jacket, etc.

  6. I wonder if .357 with short barrel is a recoil manageable and effective option for short range self defense….

  7. This gun is for last ditch effort. like, you have killed two of attackers ,your out of ammo for your main pistol,here comes the third attacker, with a BIG knife ! that is when you bust out the little gun. BOOM BOOM !!!

  8. Often considered buying a derringer for novelty reasons. This seems like a good choice for that reason. As far as self protection, I suppose this little gun would do the job but frankly my goal if attacked is to inflict for pain on my attacker then on myself and this firearm, I am sure when fired would create a substantial recoil. I carry a Sig mod 238. It weighs in at a little over 15 oz is fairly accurate and I can pump out 6-7 hollow nose 380 cal self defense rounds as fast as the two rounds from any derringer. A little history I learned recently. I always associated derringer to the weapon described in this article. An old gunsmith and antique firearm collector showed me several flint lock rifles produced during the late 1700’s by the derringer company out of Philadelphia. They were a lower end rifle produced more for Indian trading.

  9. I have one of these in 45 Colt/410 with a 3 inch barrel and a 357 barrel, same length. I bought it because it’s cool and a quality piece of engineering, unlike most of its contemporaries. However, I can’t see myself carrying it. Single action, only two shots and small grips just can’t compete with my LCR 357’s five shots, smooth double action, better grips and sights. The Bond Arms derringers are very well made and definitely have a niche in cowboy action shooting, but I think there are much better choices for a defensive handgun.

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