The Davis Derringer – A $60 Dollar Two Shotter

Derringers are just kind of cool. Something about a micro-sized handgun with two barrels and a hammer is attractive. Remington didn’t design the first derringer, but the Remington Model 95 more or less set the standard for derringers. The hammer-fired, double-barreled derringers were quite popular and have been imitated extensively. One of the cheapest imitators is the Davis Derringer. 

From the 1960s to the 1990s, the media didn’t just clutch their pearls about assault weapons but about Saturday Night Specials. Saturday Night Specials were a non de guerre given to affordable firearms. They used a sporting purpose test to essentially ban the importation of these affordable firearms, so several companies stepped up to fill that market gap. A company called Raven started it all. 

In 1970, George Jennings founded Raven, a company that quickly gained traction in the firearms industry. Jennings, along with his family and friends, established a network of companies, each offering unique products to avoid direct competition. Jim Davis, who served as Jennings’ office manager at Raven and later became his son-in-law, left to start Davis Industries. 

Davis Industries, under the leadership of Jim Davis, focused on producing affordable derringers. These firearms were priced so attractively that I was able to purchase my Davis Derringer for a mere sixty dollars. 

The Davis Derringer – But Why 

Listen, if I can purchase a functional gun for less than a hundred bucks, I most certainly will. It’s almost like a compulsion. The fact that it was a .22LR derringer sold me because I knew it’d be fun to shoot, at the very least. To be clear, I’m never going to carry the Davis Derringer, but it ought to be a fun gun to shoot at the range. 

These two shot derringers are hammer-fired and single-action. The gun alternates between the top and bottom barrels, so the user does not need to swap between barrels manually. The Davis Derringer folds open to expose the two barrels for loading or clearing. A manual extractor allows you to push the cases out of the chambers to be removed manually. 

The gun has a manual safety that allows you to block the hammer from striking the firing pen. For some reason, the gun has a vent rib. It might not be useful, but it does look nice. The sights are very simple, with a small front and rear sight. Overall, the Davis Derringer is a very simple gun with that Old West look. 

The Davis Derringer is made from pot metal or Zamak. Zamak is a zinc alloy, and Davis used this material to injection mold these guns. This allowed them to produce very cheap guns, which is why they are plentiful. 

Range Toy Time 

I won’t carry this gun for self-defense, but as a range toy, it has charm. The derringer mystique is certainly an American one. These were often referred to as poker table guns and belly guns because of the range in which they were useful. Go to the range, sit down on a chair, and draw and shoot at a target three feet from you. It’s fun. It’s silly, and it’s slow, but it’s fun. 

The little gun isn’t all that easy to shoot accurately. Your hands cover so much of it, and you have so little to grab, which affects accuracy. At 15 yards, I can hit an IPSC target regularly. Where exactly did I hit the IPSC target? Everywhere! Not really, but I’m not making A Zone shots with every trigger pull. I would call it a pattern more than a group. 

The gun has no reocil. Even high-velocity 22LR isn’t going to create an issue. It’s a bit loud but still not intimidating to shoot. That’s why it’s so fun. The Davis Derringer also proved to be reliable. I shot a bit of everything ammo-wise, and it all went bang. A look at the primer revealed a deep hit that showed very positive primer strikes. 

Ultimately, the Davis Derringer isn’t practical for any serious use. It’s fun to shoot, and that’s good enough for me. SASS has some derringer usefulness, so maybe I should shove this thing into a thigh garter and hit up my next match. 

Davis Derringer – Worth the $60 

The Davis Derringers are better than the other guns Raven and the fellow Ring of Fire companies produced. A two-shot derringer can’t jam, but a Raven MP-25 with its semi-auto action can jam. Of all the Ring of Fire companies, the Davis Industries rimfire derringers are the only ones I enjoy. 

They do exactly what they promise, which isn’t much. They are tough to shoot, so it’s smile-inducing when you hit a target. There is almost no recoil, and the guns aren’t loud either. They chew through ammo, and light primer strikes aren’t a problem. I think they are worth 60 bucks and provide at least 60 dollars worth of fun. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.