Review: Bond Arms Roughneck Derringer


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!

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