Gun Review: Bond Arms Backup (VIDEO)

Mention a derringer and you’ll get the occasional snarl from naysayers who claim it has no purpose in a world of semi-automatics and 30 round magazines. While I would agree that you wouldn’t find me sporting a derringer as my primary, a derringer for the purpose of a backup weapon seems more feasible. And if I were going to select a backup buddy for everyday carry, Bond Arms’ Backup would be a strong contender for that title.

Simply a classic

bond arms backup sitting in box

Bond Arms Backup in case. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

The Backup is a classic derringer style pistol—a pivoting breach on a solid frame holding two shots. Beyond this, Bond Arms created a derringer that not only looks sturdy but actually is; Hell, if push comes to shove I’m pretty sure I could club an assailant with it and might just manage to fight another day.

It’s small but mighty. Weighing in at 18.5 ounces and with an overall length of 4.5 inches, it manages to be small enough to use as a backup or for deep concealment while also packing enough punch to get the job done. The sleek, matte look and rubberized grips add both comfort and style.

While loading and reloading is more cumbersome than a semi-auto, there’s something beautiful about the simplicity of a derringer. Less moving parts, less opportunity for failures—simple yet effective.  That is the majesty of the derringer, my friends.

One gun, a range of calibers

Backup and barrels

Bond Arms Backup with interchangeable barrels in 9mm and .45 ACP. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

Too often the guns we buy lack in versatility. Bond Arms bucks this tradition with the Backup: the interchangeable barrels give shooters a range of calibers. Installation is straightforward and the required tools are included with the barrel packaging.

A simple turn of a screw loosens the barrel, freeing it from the frame. Slap on another barrel and re-tighten the screw. Voila! Same gun, different caliber.

For this review, Bond Arms provided me with 9mm and .45ACP barrels. I took both barrels to the range, eager to see how each performed on the Backup. While both performed flawlessly, the 9mm was admittedly more pleasant and comfortable to shoot.

Close-up view of bond arms backup

Bond Arms Backup derringer style pistol, closeup. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

As previously mention, the Backup is a small gun. Small guns plus larger calibers usually equate to formidable recoil. Unfortunately, the Backup isn’t free from this dilemma. As expected, the gun jumped into my hands and the recoil rattled my bones. I shot half a box of .45ACP before calling it day with that barrel. My range buddy, a large, gruff man and lover of .45ACP, happily expended the rest of the ammo box on the .45 barrel.

Hammer and crossbar view of bond arms backup derringer pistol

Bond Arms Backup hammer and crossbar. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

After my experiences with the .45ACP I was slightly hesitant to shoot the 9mm as that combination left me wondering just how snappy the 9mm would be. I was pleasantly surprised after my first round made it’s way down range and into the middle of my target.

The 9mm felt expertly matched to this firearm. The two were made for each other. Recoil is controllable and the experience is fun. I needed to no help expending my box of 9mm ammo. I would have happily stayed all day at that range firing off two shots of 9mm at a time.


bond arms backup sitting in holster on female

Bond Arms Backup in holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

Along with the Backup and extra barrel, Bond Arms sent me a holster. They wanted to prove why their Backup was the perfect little, well, back up. I strapped the derringer and black holster onto my hip and off I went.

The Backup is a light little derringer and non-intrusive while carrying. Though Bond floated me a holster to test out, the Backup would do even better in an ankle rig. The compact design and lightweight construction would ride very well in a boot or under a pant leg.

female drawing a bond arms backup from hip holster

Drawing Bond Arms Backup from hip holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

On the hip, I found the Backup to be a pleasant carry.  The curved design prevents random snags on clothing leaving me with a smooth draw. It’s also small enough that I could wear virtually any outfit I wanted with no printing.

Final thoughts

During my time with Bond Arms’ Backup, I began to see why there’s a contingency of hardcore fans. Though you won’t find me sporting it as my primary EDC, it’s perfect as a secondary firearm.

In my opinion, the name says it all. The Backup is the perfect backup.

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