Bond Arms of Granbury, Texas, is continuing to grow its line up of stainless steel break-action pistols with a fresh batch of new models for 2023. In a previous post, we touched on the gun's origin, its evolution and the caliber convertible, dual-frame size pistol series it is today. This year marks the return of a much-loved rimfire cartridge to the company's caliber options, trimmed down variations of the Stinger RS frame, additional Stinger RS configurations and a brand new single-shot chambered for a big-bore rifle cartridge.
Clockwise from the Left: The Rawhide .22 LR; Cyclops .45-70 Single Shot; and the Stubby Stinger RS 9 mm.
It's worth noting here that some of these new models do not have trigger guards. This may be a concern to those who think the absence of the guard could contribute to an unintentional discharge if the trigger is bumped. However, Bond Arms' pistols are single-actions. This means that the hammer must be manually cocked in order to fire. When the rebounding hammer is in the forward (uncocked) position, pressing the trigger will not cause the gun to fire. The company recommends carrying its pistols with the hammer forward and the cross-bolt safety engaged.
The Return of .22 LR Cartridge Options
Among the Bond pistols’ most attractive features are the interchangeable barrels. The company offers a variety of barrel lengths chambered for popular center-fire cartridges ranging from .380 ACP up to .410-bore shotgun shells. At one point, the company did offer .22 LR rimfire barrels. But making them interchangeable and reliable proved to be an elusive goal, resulting in their removal from the catalog for a few years.
The .22 LR is one of the most popular and affordable cartridges available.
This year the .22 LRs are back, thanks to a workable solution to the previous reliability issues. Each rimfire barrel is tuned and fitted to the frame it ships with. The frame can still be fitted with the other available caliber-conversion barrels. But that particular .22 LR barrel will only work reliably with its original host frame. This means if you want to shoot this cartridge you'll need to buy a complete pistol to do so. It's not quite as flexible as Bond Arms would like, but it gets the job done.
Bond Arms is bringing back the .22 LR with three new pistol models.
The Rawhide .22 LR is built around the same standard-size frame used for the Cowboy Defender models. This means the frame is shortened under the barrel and the removable trigger guard has been omitted. The 2.5" barrel, thin-profile nylon grips and Rough Series matte finish give it an unloaded weight of 20.8-oz. and a suggested retail price of $269.
The .22 LR Rawhide's standard size RS frame and barrel (left) are noticeably wider than those of the Stinger RS (right).
The other two .22 LRs show here are variations of the slimmer Stinger RS all-stainless steel models. The Stinger RS version ($269) has a 3" barrel, nylon grips and an unloaded weight of 18.1-oz. which is about 2-oz. heavier than the center-fire models. This is due to more metal being left in the barrel to accommodate the significantly smaller .22 LR cartridge. The Stubby Stinger RS in .22 LR ($297) tips the scales at 15.1-oz. Stay tuned for a range test of a .22 LR model in the near future.
The Even Smaller Stubby Pistols
The Stinger models were a big step forward in reducing the weight and thickness of Bond pistols. The steel-framed RS model, which stands for Rough Series, is slightly heavier but less expensive than the original aluminum-frame models. But it seems that no matter how small or light a pistol might be, some folks are going to want a version that's been trimmed down even more.
The Stinger RS Stubby (left) is a trimmed down version of the slim Stinger RS (right).
The new Stubby series takes the Sting frame and barrel to the shortest lengths possible. The barrel is cut down from 3" to just 2.2" with just a nubbin of a front sight left in place for aiming. The integral trigger guard has been removed and the overall frame length has been reduced by three quarters of an inch. This gives the center-fire models, currently available chambered in 9 mm and .380 ACP, an unloaded weight of 13.8-oz. according to my digital postal scale. It takes a bit more work to build a Stubby so the suggested price is a slightly higher $297.
The Stubby models shown here are chambered in .380 ACP (left) and 9 mm.
There are two things to keep in mind with the Stubby. First off, the exceptionally short barrel and reduced front sight are intended to make the gun easy to carry. But the tradeoff is that they are most useful for up-close and personal distances. If you want to shoot out to or past 7 yards, a standard sight configuration will serve you better.
Semi-automatic pistol caliber barrels feature a notch for prying out spent rounds using a thumbnail or an empty cartridge case rim.
Secondly, watch the placement of your trigger finger when you're not shooting. Most modern semi-automatic pistol instructors teach that the trigger finger should be laid out straight, pointing toward the muzzle, along the side of the slide when that finger is off the trigger. If this technique is used with the Stubby pistols, the tip of the trigger finger will poke out to or past the muzzle which is not a safe place for it to be. Instead, bend the trigger finger into a hook shape and press the tip into the side of the barrel. Then you know that finger is safely positioned away from the muzzle.
The Hopped-Up Honey B
The new Honey B answers two customer requests made for the Stinger RS series. The first is the addition of a 3" long .38 Spl. barrel to the 9 mm, .380 ACP and .22 LR options. The .38 Spl. is among the most popular compact revolver cartridges in use for daily carry here in the United States. This means a variety of ammunition choices are available, it is fairly easy to find and it's compatible with the revolvers many self defenders already own.
Revolver cartridge barrels feature a manual extractor.
The other request was for a more hand filling grip that would not add too much more weight or bulk to these slim pistols. The Honey B ships with a tough black B6 resin grip which features molded-in cross hatch texturing and palm swells. It's just long enough to support the little finger of the shooting hand while only contributing 1.7-oz. to the .38 Spl. Honey B's unloaded weight of 17.8-oz. With some of the hotter .38 loads available, the extended grip will be a plus. This model has a suggested price of $320.
The Mighty Cyclops .45-70 Gov't.
The Cyclops’ frame has been reinforced to handle this big-bore rimmed rifle round.
Yes, you read that correctly. Not for the faint of heart, Bond Arms’ latest big-bore offering has been years in the making. This handgun, is chambered for the .45-70 Gov't. rifle cartridge. This is the same cartridge used for hunting bison during the settlement of the American West!
Bond Arms adds a bit of humor to the Cyclops' laser engraving work with this monster face on the muzzle.
Although the Cyclops looks a good deal like a 4.25" Snake Slayer, key changes have been made to accommodate a long, rimmed rifle round. Treated with a Rough Series matte finish, this pistol's already sturdy frame has been reinforced at key points to make it even stronger. The flat-sided barrel has just one bore, instead of two, which has been lowered along with the position of the firing pin. Reasons for making it a single-shot include a stronger barrel and some added weight to help manage the recoil.
The engraved .45-70 cartridge on the left side of the barrel is life-sized!
The company had some fun with this pistol's engraving. The right side has a stylized logo along with the caliber markings. The left side has a life-sized outline of a .45-70 Gov't. cartridge. The muzzle has a one-eyed monster's face with the bore forming its eye and the front sight its horn.
The barrel's single bore has been lowered to accommodate the .45-70 Gov't. cartridge's rim.
Ammunition selection is going to be important with this pistol in regard to recoil management. It's been reported by the company's staff members that the black-powder equivalent loads are manageable and even enjoyable to shoot. However, the souped up hunting loads designed for modern rifles give you quite the workout. Based on my experiences of shooting a 54.7-oz., 3" barrel BFR revolver in this caliber, it's safe to say that the 28-oz. Cyclops should provide a memorable shooting experience. I'm going to be taking this pistol to the range soon, so wish me luck! The suggested retail price for this gun is $699. For more information, visit bondarms.com.