When Standard Manufacturing debuted the S333 Thunderstruck at SHOT Show in 2019, it was met with raised eyebrows. Curious to learn why someone might pick up a Thunderstruck, I set off to get some answers and decide for myself whether or not this handgun is a viable personal defense option.
How it Stacks Up
The S333 Thunderstruck justly earns its name because it fires two shots of .22 Winchester Magnum from a 1.25-inch barrel with each trigger pull. The overall length measures 5-inches with overall height matching. Similar in size to the Smith & Wesson 442, the Thunderstruck weighs in at 18-ounces, making it light enough for everyday carry.
Besides the double stainless-steel barrel, you’ll notice a couple of other oddities. Namely, that the gun lacks what many would consider a traditional trigger guard. Instead of having a trigger guard that wraps around the trigger area, the Thunderstruck's modified trigger guard stops after about an inch.
The oddities don't end at the trigger guard, though. You’ll immediately notice the double-fingered trigger equipped with an articulated trigger safety. While you can pull the trigger with just a single finger, you'd be hard-pressed to keep any shots on target.
In addition to the trigger safety, the gun also opts for a transfer bar safety for extra security. Rounding out the features, the Thunderstruck offers raised, red three-dot sights which are easy to acquire. The guns comes in with an MSRP of $429.
Feel and Function
The gun has a polymer grip, textured to make it feel almost rubber-like. It certainly doesn’t feel like a typical polymer frame. The grip also features finger grooves, which fit my hands nicely.
While the grip itself fits my hand's shape, the double-finger design prevents a traditional firing grip. Instead, to get the trigger depressed to fire, you must use a “teacup grip." This grip method goes against best training practices and makes me feel like a cop in a bad 80s action movie.
The trigger is extremely heavy and long. Standard Mfg. doesn’t give a trigger pull weight, and even if I had a trigger gauge, I’m not sure it would measure properly due to the two-finger trigger design. In my opinion, it has to be one of the longest and heaviest trigger -- at least that I’ve ever pulled. This makes rapid-fire shots on target challenging.
Standard Mfg. claims that shooters can pull off three shots in under 3 seconds. While this is certainly possible, keeping follow-up shots on target is a different story.
On the range, the long, heavy trigger pull proved burdensome in keeping the gun on target. The heft and weight of the trigger made my hands shake, leading to inaccuracy. Even though I’m not a skilled marksman, I expect to do better with a defensive gun than I did with the Thunderstruck.
The short barrel also caused some issues, with the first being the extraordinary fireball it produces. While this is a cool novelty factor, it doesn’t aid at all in defensive gun use.
The second issue I found was the barrel minuscule length adds to the amount of felt recoil. Two shots of .22 WMR will produce a bit of oomph, and the gun lets you know it. Again, great for the novelty factor but no so much for defensive use.
The short barrel also causes the gun to get dirty quickly. As I alluded to in my initial thoughts on the gun, if you plan on shooting this gun a lot or doing any significant training, bring a cleaning kit to the range with you. After about 50 rounds, the barrels and ejector rod are so dirty it becomes very difficult to eject rounds without using a significant amount of force.
Finally, the last issue we’ll talk about is what I first thought was a positive to the gun. I stated the gun produces some massive holes that dwarf 9mm on target in my initial review of the gun. While, initially, I thought this was a good thing, a Guns.com reader pointed out that this is probably due to tumbling bullets -- the result of the short barrel. I couldn’t find any ballistic gel tests online to confirm this nor was my testing conclusive enough to prove the tumbling bullets theory. I found one penetration test online which didn’t show promising results.
Who Would Want This?
I cannot, under any circumstance, recommend this gun for concealed carry, defensive use, or even as a backup gun. I feel there are much better options on the market. With concealed carry out of the running, what place does the Thunderstruck have in the gun world?
The Thunderstruck is a novelty, and as such, it’s fun to take to the range. It’s fun to fire in the same way it’s fun to fire a Deagle or BFR -- though both of those have legitimate use cases. It will turn some heads at the range, and if you’re a fan of recoil, it has a lot to give.
Aside from the novelty aspect, I would say this firearm was an ambitious release by Standard Mfg. Along with the DP-12, it will go down in firearms history as a curiosity and interesting innovation.