Debi K. of Highland, Missouri admits the last time she fired a gun was 15 years ago, when she took shooting lessons.
The gun she owned was a derringer and was a gift from a friend, but it mostly stayed in a side-table drawer gathering dust.
Then, early one morning, Debi pulled the trigger to save her life.
The incident occurred about 3:30 am at an apartment complex.
Debi and her sister lived next door to each other and her sister was visiting Debi’s apartment when the assault happened.
Debi said a man forced his way into her apartment, threw her to the floor and then put her sister in a choke hold.
He demanded money from Debi as she watched her sister gasp for air.
Debi says she was initially attacked after stepping outside her apartment to smoke a cigarette.
“As I was closing the door behind me, this really big man pushed his way through the door,” she recalled.
“I started pushing back. He put one arm behind my arm and picked me up and threw me over my couch.”
The man then went behind a recliner, where her sister was sitting and put her in a choke hold.
Debi said she grabbed the gun and warned the man to let her sister go.
According to Debi, she told him, “I’m going to shoot you if you don’t let her go, with that, I shot him in the back because he moved from behind the chair.
He took some steps toward me.”
After being shot, the man fell to the floor and Debi stood over him, waiting for police to arrive.
The intruder, 33, was being treated at a hospital for two gunshot wounds and was listed in critical condition.
Highland Police Chief Terry Bell said that the man was shot twice and that police were still “piecing it together.”
He added that he had no information to believe the man knew the women.
Debi said she thought she only shot the man once with her gun, which she described as a .22-caliber derringer.
The first bullet she fired, she said, was supposed to be a warning shot.
Debi also said neither she nor her sister knew the intruder.
Obviously, these two women were lucky they had a gun, even though they may not have been regular customers at the gun range.
The term “derringer” has come to refer to small-sized handguns that are neither a revolver nor a semiautomatic pistol and they typically hold two rounds.
However, the original Philadelphia Deringer was a single-shot muzzleloading percussion cap pistol introduced in 1852, by Henry Deringer.
In total, approximately 15,000 Deringer pistols were manufactured and all were single barrel pistols with back-action percussion locks.
The barrel length varied from 1.5″ to 6″ and the hardware was commonly a copper-nickel alloy.
Many copies of the original Philadelphia Deringer pistol were made by other gun makers worldwide.
The fact is, derringers have a long nostalgic history with popularity gained from the Wild West where many gamblers carried the weapons since they were easy to hide.
While they aren’t as popular as they use to be, there is still no question that a lot of people buy them and they can save your live, as seen above.
With that in mind, here are three derringer type firearms you may want to check out if you are in the market for one of these.
Bond Arms Backup. Bond Arms is a name you’ll hear a lot when looking at derringers, as they are basically the industry standard when it comes to these types of guns.
One of the best things about Bonds Arms is that they produce a series of derringers in about 20 different calibers.
The Backup comes with a 2.5” barrel, in either .45 or 9mm.
The total length of the Backup is 4.5” and it weighs 19 oz.
Like most derringers, the trigger is stiff, and the hammer is hard to pull back, so it will require hand strength.
In addition, the sights are a front blade and fixed rear and the entire frame and barrel is stainless steel.
The Bond Arms Backup sells for $550 new.
Cobra Classic Derringer. This is about as close to an original Derringer that you will find.
The Classic comes in four different models in .22LR, .22mag, .25 auto or .32 auto.
Each Classic holds two rounds and has a barrel length of 2.4” and an overall length of 4”.
When empty, the Classic weighs 9.5 oz and can be ordered in about 10 different colors.
All Cobra Derringers come with a steel barrel, steel breech block insert, steel striker type firing mechanisms and a plunger safety with internal hammer block to prevent unintended discharge.
Lastly, the Classic sells for around $200 new and comes with a factory lifetime warranty.
American Derringer. The American Derringer comes in .45 long. American Derringer beefed up the traditional Remington Double Derringer to .45 Colt caliber and it can also chamber the 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells.
This derringer is small enough to slip unnoticed into a pocket and yet has a big enough grip that with a tight hold on it you won’t be bothered by the recoil.
It is a good close-range backup weapon. The overall length is about 4.5”, with a barrel length of 3”.
The gun weighs about 15 oz. and is equipped with a manually operated hammer block safety.
The safety automatically disengages when the hammer is cocked.
The American Derringer sells for about $300.