The Ever Evolving Bond Arms Double-Barrel Pistol

This company now offers four models of its durable, hard hitting over/under handguns.

by posted on August 3, 2022
Bond Arms Roundup Lede3

In 1995, longtime tool and die maker Greg Bond set out to re-invent the Remington Model 95 over/under double-barrel pistol to show folks its true potential. First released in 1866, some may think the Model 95 doesn’t offer much room for improvement—not because it was a perfect design, but just the opposite. At first glance it seems like there’s not enough there to work with. Remington produced the Model 95 for nearly 70 years. After that is was then cloned by various companies, some of which used low-grade alloys and were not all that committed product quality. As a result, double-barrel derringers garnered a reputation for being unreliable “Saturday Night Special” type pistols.

Bond Arms now offers four different models of the company’s signature double-barrel pistol.

But the Bond Arms version of this two-shot single action has lived up to the company’s motto of being among the smallest and most powerful pistols one can carry. Today the company is led by Gordon Bond, Greg's brother, and has become the largest manufacturer of derringers in the United States. Let's take a closer look at the four models the company has to offer.

The original high-polish "hand cannon."

The Original Bond Arms Double-Barrel “Hand Cannon”
The first Bond pistol was the result of the Model 95 receiving a serious overhaul. Its Old West heritage still shows in the tip-up over/under barrel configuration, fixed sights and birdshead grip shape fitted with hardwood grip panels. It also maintains a single-action trigger which requires the exposed hammer to be manually cocked for each shot fired.

A closer look at this pistol’s removable hinge pin, ejector, barrel release lever and removable trigger guard.

But beyond these cosmetics, the company's original double-barrel is a thoroughly modern handgun designed to be durable, reliable and safe to use. These pistols are wholly constructed from polished stainless steel. The frame and barrel were redesigned to handle big-bore cartridges up to .45 caliber in size. At one point, this gun was even available chambered in .44 Mag. Although the pistol worked reliably in this caliber, it produced excessive levels of recoil with some loads.

The removable hinge pin and grip screw make it easy to change this pistol’s barrel length, caliber and grip size. 

The Bond re-design incorporates up-to-date safety features not found in most Model 95 clones. The firing mechanism features a rebounding hammer that locks in a half-cock position that keeps it away from the frame and the dual firing pins. The push-button, cross-bolt safety, commonly found on rifle and shotgun triggers, can be used to block the hammer from striking the firing pins even if the trigger is pressed. Most models ship with a removable trigger guard, which was not a feature of the original design. The trigger has been modified with an internal safety, which locks the barrel release lever into the closed position when the pistol is fired. This prevents the barrel from swinging open in case the shooter's thumb bumps against the lever when the gun recoils.

The high-polish Texan sports a 6” barrel and a laminated hardwood extended grip.

And if you are in the market for modularity, meaning easy to swap out modifications, this pistol is right up your alley. Once a customer owns a standard-size stainless steel frame, it can be converted into just about any other standard model by removing the hinge pin and grip screw. Bond Arms offers an extensive selection of polished barrels available in 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4.25" and 6" lengths chambered in a variety of revolver and semi-automatic handgun calibers. Among the more popular caliber conversions are the combo barrels which can fire both .45 Colt revolver cartridges and .410 Bore shotgun shells. Other caliber options include .380 ACP, 9 mm, .45 ACP, .327 Fed. Mag., .357 Mag, .44 Special, and the cowboy classic .44-40 Win.

Caliber conversion barrel are available in lengths ranging from 2.5” to 6”.

Additional grips are available in three sizes. The Standard grip is the traditional compact size which provides a 2-finger grip profile. The Extended and Jumbo models provide a three-finger grip and a fit for larger hands. Material options include smooth or textured laminated hardwoods, checkered black rubber and exotic materials such as stag and buffalo horn. The company also offers a diverse selection of holsters that can be sized to accommodate the various barrel lengths.

The Bond Arms pistol is a potent performer when chambered in hard hitting calibers like 10 mm Auto.

 The Rough Series
The original high-polish Bond Arms pistols and caliber-conversion barrels have been the meat-and-potatoes business of this company for several years. But with suggested retail prices for pistols ranging from $543 to $700, some customers have been persistent in requesting less expensive models.

The Rough Series has been a game changer thanks to a reduced price that does not compromise the platform’s quality.

In 2019, Gordon Bond gathered his team and asked the question: How do we cut costs without compromising the quality customers have come to expect? The answer was to keep the same components, features and quality controls in place. But they went over ever part of the pistol and figured out the minimum levels of polishing and hand-finishing work needed to keep the guns safe and reliable.

The Rough series pistols are just as sturdy as the high-polish models but with less refined finish work.

The result was the Rough Series of standard-frame stainless steel pistols. By leaving the finish in a “rough” condition, including a matte finish and a few mold marks, these models can be manufactured at a rate of 4 to 1 compared to the high-polished models. This cuts the retail prices nearly in half making them the least expensive models the company has yet to offer. The 2.5" barrel Roughneck is $277; the 3" Rowdy is $299; and the Grizzly, with an engraved extended grip and leather holster, is $377. The company is now offering several caliber conversion barrels in a matte finish to match the Rough frames.

Bond Arms offers a variety of holsters to fit their standard frame models.

The Slim and Trim Stinger 
The Rough Series has been a major success for Bond Arms, which has allowed the company to significantly expand its fan base. But customers continued to beat the drum for yet another model. There is no doubt that the big-bore capable standard frames are tough. However, that added strength comes with the trade-off of a wider frame and added weight. The 3" barrel Rowdy .45/.410 fits in the palm of the hand but it weighs in at 20.2 ozs., unloaded. Thus there has been a steady flow of requests for a model that is slimmer and lighter for more comfortable carry. 

The slim aluminum-framed Stinger is almost half the weight and thickness of the standard-frame models.

In 2021, the Stinger line-up was introduced. Knowing that light weight, mixed-metal derringers still have a reputation as junk guns, the company devoted several years to research and development. This was done to ensure these pistols would exhibit the same levels of quality as the all-steel models. As a result, the 9 mm version comfortably passed a 2,500-round stress test.  

Shown side-by-side with a standard frame it’s clear just how much thinner the Stinger is.

The Stingers have 3" barrels with an overall height and length that is the same as the standard models but they weigh in at just at just 11.5-oz.! The controls and profile are the same as well. But the barrel and frame width has been reduced from 0.7" and 0.96", respectively, to just 0.55". This model is currently available chambered in 9 mm and .380 ACP. However, the aluminum-framed Stingers do not have interchangeable barrels.

The frames are precision milled from a billet of 7075 aluminum and treated with a matte black hard-coat anodized finish just like many high-quality AR-15 receivers. A stainless-steel firing pin block is set into the aluminum frame for added durability. The large trigger guard is integrated into the frame and the stainless-steel controls follow Bond Arms design. While the frame does accept Standard size grips, it does not fit into standard holsters. New holsters for this model are in the works.

Reducing the width of the barrel limits the Stingers to .38-cal. or smaller cartridges.

Priced at $389, Stingers ship with two sets of grips. The textured black Zytel polymer panels provide a slim grip profile of 0.90". The provided rubber grips thicken the grip to 1.15" but provide more purchase for managing felt recoil. The 9 mm version can be a handful with some loads, so the rubber grips can come in handy.

The New for 2022 Stinger RS
The aluminum frame Stingers are the lightest and thinnest models yet. If weight reduction is important, they are the models to go with. But Bond Arms recognizes that some enthusiasts are pinching their pennies, so it has introduced another variation on the theme.

The Stinger RS has a stainless steel frame instead of aluminum.

The Stinger RS was launched at the NRA's Annual Meetings this year. RS stands for Rough Series and offers three key changes. The aluminum frame has been replaced with a slim stainless steel frame. The gun has a more cost effective rough finish. Finally, the barrels of the Stinger RS are interchangeable. The result is a Stinger that gains 4.5-oz. for an unloaded weight of 16-oz. But the rough steel frame is less expensive to produce than the anodized aluminum version which shaves the retail price down from $389 to $279.

Despite the slimmer profile these pistols are built to be tough. The same barrel and frame were used to fire 2,500 standard pressure 9 mm loads followed by 200 +P loads which produce approximately 10 percent more pressure than standard loads. In addition to this, the gun fired 100 proof loads. These cartridges generate about 25 percent more pressure than the maximum safe level of standard loads. They are only used for industry testing to verify a gun's durability. The Stinger RS ran this gauntlet without any breakages or malfunctions.

A view of all four models’ grip frames side-by-side.

The RS models ship with the same thin polymer and textured rubber grips as the aluminum models. Right now they are available chambered in 9 mm and .380 ACP but additional slim profile caliber-conversion barrels are in the works.

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