Sunday, October 23, 2011

The less people know about guns...

...the more they want a derringer.

In every discussion about the weird little titanium stackbarrel two-shooter from Heizer, you get some anime dork pining for a remake of the old C.O.P. Industries four-barreled .357 Magnum.

Yeah, that's what everybody needs: A four-shooter with a buck-wretched double-action trigger that weighs a full two pounds, is as pocketable as a brick, and is actually bigger than a 7-shot 9mm Kahr. That makes less sense than a kickstand on a tank. (Further, half of the examples I've seen that have actually been fired to any great extent have shot themselves loose in fairly short order.)

But it looks cool! And it was in Blade Runner and The Matrix: Reloaded and Battlestar Galactica and you can use one in Team Fortress 2! And if you take it to the range, everybody will look at you, which is the real reason for going to the range in the first place, as casual perusal of most any firearms forum on the 'net will demonstrate.

Apparently I just don't get it.

47 comments:

BobG said...

Wonder how many of those will be shot once, and then sold?

Skip said...

I bought an o/u .22mag derringer once.
Shot itself to death in less than a box.
Fun though..for a month.

Tony Muhlenkamp said...

In the words of the (hopefully) immortal Louis Awerbuck, "The first rule is to look cool."

Joel said...

Yeah, that 4-barrel COP shot to four different points of aim, too. No, I didn't own it, and thank you JAYsis.

That was just a dumb gun. The Helzer looks kinda cute.

David H. said...

I own a COP, Tam, and I must take exception with your characterization.

You have grossly overstated its merits, and for this sin you must take the compact boat anchor to the range and shoot it until it actually fires off *all four rounds of its load in a row without a misfire.*

See you in thirty years or so.

Farmgirl said...

I will admit to pining for a derringer, but I want an anodized/painted purple anything, and it's 99.99% because I want a garter gun.

Of course... if I have a garter gun I'll have to get skirts so that I can wear it properly... um... this plan, perhaps I have not thought it through...

Kristopher said...

Fire a derringer in .38 or .45 and you'll want to make other people fire it just to watch their pain.

I could never fire my .45 derringer more than six times before my subconscious refused to load the fucker. rounds would magically fall out of my hands while loading until I gave up and put it away.

I got rid of the damned thing.

Mossyrock said...

A friend of mine in Fairbanks had one of those American Derringer 45-70s...supposedly intended for bear defense. On his first shot, it cartwheeled out of his hand, over his head and into a snow bank...after breaking his hand! After we got back from the hospital, he dug it out of the snow, clamped it in a vice and cut it in half with a cutting torch. No shit. This is a true story.

docjim505 said...

But don't you get an increase in stopping power of (IIRC) 14.7% if your gun is "cool"? Some guy at the gun show told me, and he was a Marine Delta Force in Vietnam, so he would know, right?

Kristopher and Mossyrock,

Those are some funny stories.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, your snark about anime dorks made me google trawl for derringers in cartoons.
Only one example to be found: Shiho Sannomiya, a ten year old psychic girl with an admirable daily carry policy.

The Japanese probably don't know much about any guns you don't see in action movies...

dr mac said...

Why you don't get it is why I read you.

Anonymous said...

If they ever make gun fighting an Olympic sport, it might make a good choice if you wanted a highest difficulty factor possible.

Gerry

Bill said...

I shot a .44 Mag derringer once, just once. It might actually hurt more to shoot than get shot by it.

El Capitan said...

I don't know how many times I've heard some yahoo swear on a stack of Guns & Ammo magazines that they've owned one of those COP derringers.

Almost without fail the story ends with a tale of that fateful day at the range when all four barrels discharged at once! "Broke my hand, and I sold it/traded it ASAP!!"

I tend to take most "No shit, there I was!" tales told by them afterwards with more than a smidgen of skepticism...

Robert said...

'Anime dork'? We need to get you hooked up Tam. A good dose of Gunslinger Girl or Black Lagoon would do the body good...

Joe in PNG said...

Yeah, we anime dorks tend more towards Jerhico 941's, CZ-75A's, or Matabea(sp) revolvers.

Lergnom said...

Farmgirl;
If I may suggest, sacrificing the inside of a pants pocket would allow you access to a garter gun, but then why use a derringer when you could garter-carry something(anything) better?

Earl said...

Oh, you probably shoot to hit what you aim at, effectively. Just another shooting snob.

Where would the silly gun industry be without Mall Ninjas and posers?

We would have Congressional committees designing firearms that work as well as the tax code.

Rob said...

"Sadly, your snark about anime dorks made me google trawl for derringers in cartoons.
Only one example to be found: Shiho Sannomiya, a ten year old psychic girl with an admirable daily carry policy. "


You must have missed Trigun, then. One of the main characters, Meryl Stryfe (appropriately nicknamed "Derringer Meryl") wears a couple of braces of never-ending derringers. In combat she pulls them out two at a time, discharges them, tosses them and grabs two more. Wash, rinse, repeat until the fight is over.

A Critic said...

I adore my Bond Arms .45 Colt. Great gun. Just wish they made one with a much longer barrel for deer hunting.

I'd like a COP just as a display piece/novelty purposes.

the pawnbroker said...

"...just what everybody needs..."?!?

I don't "get it" either, and I don't know from shit about anime, but what the heck does that have to do with it?

Yeah, I could probably do more damage to a steel target with a pocket-rocket slingshot and a ball bearing than with my five-pound cueball-shaped American Derringer .45 safe queen, but it's still cool to me to know that Old West gamblers and dandies carried something very similar in those old Remmie Rimfires.

Next to it in the safe is the little flat-sided DAO High Standard .22M that I've always thought was cool too. And somewhere in there is an old four-barrel Sharps...cool? Yes.

And then there's the NAA that is always with me as a backup...not a derringer of course but it gets tagged as such and ragged on even more. But that is of no concern to me as it has given me comfort many times as I cradled it in my palm when I have been without my primary carryon.

Yeah, that C.O.P. is a goofy thing, but to my mind, when it comes to many things but most especially guns, what is cool is completely unrelated to practicality, need, or understanding.

John said...

Old Hi-Standard .22Mag derringer worked OK. Don't recall any contemporary 'fail' stories, either first hand or written.

For it's time - it was flat in a hip pocket, had an intimidatingly loud report, and could deliver a decent Owie.

A close friend and retired gunsmith related that it could blow the Eff out of the front window of a rusty pick-up truck, which vehicle contained three drunk yahoos lookin' to Hoo-raw an elderly gent leaving an all-night diner.

It even became a BATF'r no-no if it was contained in a commercial wallet-shaped arrangement that replaced the grips and had a trigger finger cut-out.

"Sure, here's my wallet BANG-BANG, sir...scumbag!"

Pop N Fresh said...

alright Tam you're way off on this one, we all want one because we saw it on Blood in Blood Out

vatos locos forever esse

Lewis said...

When I was a kid, there were four guns that I thought were too cool for school, too hep for hop, too rad for Dad, and to my eternal shame, one of them was the COP. Damn it did look cool in the advertisements, though. Didn't it?

In my defense, I'll point out that the other three guns that I thought were too bomb for Mom and too bliss for Sis were the Colt 1911, the Colt Agent (the rough finish version of the Cobra) and the HK PSP.

Never got a COP, but I've had several 1911s, I've got a HK P7 now, and I've got six or seven D-frames. (No Agent, but 2", 3" and 4" Cobras, and DS 2"-ers in .38 and .32)

Anonymous said...

. . but . . but . . Derringer . . Lee Van Cleef . . and . . and . . Rally Vincent . . and . . and . . Is the AWESOME!!!

"Sadly, your snark about anime dorks made me google trawl for derringers in cartoons . . ."

Ref: See above, Rally Vincent.

BoxStockRacer

Anonymous said...

Bob, I humbly bow to your superior knowledge. I shall flee to the wilderness to improve my google skills in solitude.

Tam said...

John,

"A close friend and retired gunsmith related that it could blow the Eff out of the front window of a rusty pick-up truck, which vehicle contained three drunk yahoos lookin' to Hoo-raw an elderly gent leaving an all-night diner."

And that neatly illustrates the problem with derringers.

It's a good thing that those guys weren't really serious, or your buddy would have been left facing three enraged drunk yahoos with one round of .22 Magnum. If they had the usual assortment of Buck knives and tire tools you find in a redneck pickup, your friend would have been best off saving that lone round for himself, just in case.

Jay G said...

Speakin' for no one other than myself, I picked up a pot metal FIE .38 Special Derringer about 15 years ago mainly because it was cheaper than buying a replica...

Think I mighta paid $65 for it at the time. Yeah, overpriced at that, but I always did like the odd... ;)

Bryan S. said...

Is it wrong to want one just to want it? I know full well the Brownie 22 4 shot is almost useless, but love the concept in its place in the development and history of firearms. Same goes for the COP357... I know they are horrible, but want one.

Weer'd Beard said...

Jay didn't mention that a mutual friend of ours had a COP, didn't shoot it much, and then sold it to somebody who didn't shoot it much and sold it...

Kinda reminds me how Desert Eagles aren't Mass approved, so the supply is VERY limeted, but there's always one or two on the used racks at the local shops.

They're guns that look like a REALLY good idea sitting there under the neon lights of the pistol case....and once you get it home and shoot it all you can look for is another sucker who will give you as much of your money back as you can salvage.

Tam said...

Bryan S.,

"Is it wrong to want one just to want it?"

That is a... no, the completely legitimate reason to want one.

(It's only when people start to offer rationalizations that I feel like an intervention is needed. ;) )

A Critic said...

Tam - have you seen the Duckworth .45 Colt/.410 derringer? It's a side by side hand-shotgun. If you can find one and try it out you might fall in love with a derringer. Plus it has the neat feature of being able to fire both barrels at once if you put the selector switch in the middle! (probably not advisable)

Stuart the Viking said...

I have to admit to always wanting a derringer. That COP thing... no, but an honest to goodness derringer. I found one in good shape for a price that I could afford once, but I didn't buy it because there is almost NO source of .44 rimfire anywhere that I know of and I don't really find a gun that I can't shoot at least every once in a while to be interesting. I'm still considering one of those knock-offs in .38spl that at least look a bit like the origional but I'm afraid that they might be cheaply made. I did find one of those in 9mm that I almost bought because the very idea tickled me, but I didn't have the dough at the time.

s

Tam said...

A Critic,

"Tam - have you seen the Duckworth .45 Colt/.410 derringer?"

More of them than you could possibly imagine, and under all their various other trade names, too (Cobray, Leinad, FMJ)

You couldn't pay me to take one.

skidmark said...

Bunch of freaking pansies! Had and carried a Downsizer (go Google WSP Downsizer - dumped the pictures when I sold it) for years. Made lots of good money off it getting rubes to try and fire two shots in under a minute.

Recently sold it to someone who really, really wanted one. I'm happy, they're happy. Have not heard that they've actually worked up the guts to fire it yet, let alone try to get the looky-loos at the range to try it out.

But fot a barrel that engaged the bullet for barely 3/16ths of an inch it created a muzzle flash big enough to roast a pig, and once I knocked down a full-sized Pepper Popper at 25 yards by shooting it, as opposed to throwing the thing at the target.

It wouldn't break you hand when you fired it - just make you wish it had.

stay safe.

wv = yousnew - what you are to the whole "why I want a derringer" notion, aren't you?

Kristopher said...

A Critic: I hope you are making jokes here.

If not, I'll pay to watch you put a whole box of ammo through one of those silly-assed cobray .45 colt SxS derringers.

Owen said...

its funny this came up. I just handled COP 0001 and 0002, mfg by Colt.

Sigivald said...

I'd love a deringer, in .22 or .25, if it was a compelling price (under $99).

Just for fun and plinking.

the pawnbroker said...

"That is...*the* completely legitimate reason to want one."

Took me five paragraphs of anecdotal longhand to say that upthread...;)

Matthew said...

Also used by the villian in "Bad Boys" for the climactic final scene.

John said...

Tam, the two shot point taken.

"your friend would have been best off saving that lone round for himself, just in case."

Fortunately for him, all they left was burnt rubber in reverse gear.

My own Deringer's are and were J-frames. But I will admit a cravin' was flung on me back 196? when i first saw that Hi-Std. Epitome of concealed lethality to my teen eyes -- and besides, Paladin killed all manner of man and beast with that Remington Deringer of his.

I suppose being grown-up and knowledgeable of CCWs and Actually Usable Items therefore, is a real-life advantage, today. We live in an undreamed wealth of training, knowledge,and the material goods to put it all into practice.

But damn if I don't miss old Matt Dillon and his contemporaries. Shoot, Maverick was so smart he really didn't need a gun, but was handy with it when he did. I wasn't too much engaged with that sawed off lever-rifle guy, but the Rifleman seemed credible until I got my first Marlin .22 lever and realized- 'we bin had.'

tweell said...

I wouldn't mind the .22 derringer a friend had - it was in a very large belt buckle, and looked more like a decoration than a weapon. Alas, BATFE (spit) doesn't like them.

Ross said...

Oh, boy... lotta hate for the little COP. I had one a few years back; took it and a S&W 637 in trade for a Para P10. I'd always wanted one since I first saw the magazine articles about it in 1980 or so.

To be fair, Tam's assessment of the trigger pull is spot on - I've had hand strengtheners that were easier to compress. However, I will disagree with the comments about aim... I was showing it off to a friend and put 3 rounds into the down zero circle of an IDPA target from 70'. (The fourth barrel misfired - I think that fourth barrel had issues with the firing pin, or whatever spring drove it). And I do have a pic somewhere of that target, BTW... Unfortunately the witness was the late Darius Arbabi, so I can't have him testify to whether or not it happened. Y'all feel free to make fun of me if your egos require it; I know what I did and really don't care what anyone else thinks about it.

Shooting it was an experience - after about a dozen rounds or so, the web of my hand started to hurt from the recoil. It wasn't quite as bad as Jay G's Snubbie From Hell but it wasn't fun, either.

After a few months the novelty wore off and it just turned into a safe queen... so I traded it to a friend for a S&W 1911 with Crimson Trace grips. And then sold the grips. Still have the 1911 and the 637, though. And I'm glad I had the chance to own it for a while - It was an interesting little gun and I did enjoy it while I had it.

Tam said...

Ross,

I've only put a few rounds through them, and never at further than seven yards.

I've heard some folks complain about the regulating on the barrels and POA/POI issues, but it's not a uniform complaint.

(Of course, due to their construction, if somebody got one with POA/POI issues, their was bupkis that could be done to correct it... :( )

staghounds said...

The COP is typical of what happens when industrial production price cutters grasp a work of art and render it for mass consumption.

Sigh, good old Lancaster...

Ross said...

Tam, I haven't heard a lot of about the COP as a firearm from others who've shot it - thinking on it, I'm probably the only gun dork who bought it to actually y'know... shoot it. Certainly I've never heard of the two other guys I know with one bringing it to the range much.

Guy who bought mine never even got it home but traded it to his buddy while driving back to the Cape for a gold-plated Desert Eagle .44. And then two weeks later finds another COP 4 that he buys! Interestingly enough, he found a set of .22 barrel inserts to let him shoot .22 out of it. But I don't know how much he actually shot it.


WV: Wiscro - which is the technical term for using Wispride cheese to stick two crackers together.

Montie said...

Tam,

You are right about the COP 4 barrel's trigger pull. Waaayy back, I had a friend whio carried one as a back-up (after all, that ws the intent of their design) on his District Attorney's Investigator job. I tried it out one day and was shocked at the trigger pull on the damn thing. Plus, at 28 oz. it was twice the weight of the Smith Model 37 that I carried for the same purpose.
Although it was chambered for .357, he carried .38's in it, because he didn't like the kick and blast of .357 in it.

I couldn't see any advantage of the strange beast over my airweight: down one shot, slower to reload, twice the weight and God knows what the weight of that trigger pull was.

And I have NEVER seen any advantage to the two-shot concept (although I did own a High Standard .22 Mag. for a while that I got in a trade. I kinda liked the hidden in a holster rig tha came with it(but this was before BATFE-i-e-i-o declared those verboten.