Derringers – Hating on Heizer

For any of you who have been reading my blog for some time, you may recall me going on quite the epic rant against derringers for personal defense. If you haven’t read that one, I wish you would consider doing so now, as I was pretty proud of that post. Recently, my friend JayG rementioned on his blog the Heizer DoubleTap. I remember when everyone came back from NRA talking about this little pistol. I remember scratching my head at the time, knowing that I should weigh in on this thing. And, since I didn’t then, I will now.

This actually is a fascinating little pistol with a lot going for it. There are features that I admire about it and others that I would change if I could. Firstly, this diminutive pistol is in one of my favorite handgun chamberings, .45 ACP. Even in underweight packages, the recoil is very manageable. This cartridge has legendary stopping power with a century proving itself on and off the battlefield. Let’s stick with .45 ACP for this thought experiment. Also, I like the double-action trigger. A relatively long and heavy trigger on a defensive carry pistol is ideal. Let’s simplify the manual of arms to a single press of the trigger, if at all possible.

The fact that they made this gun out of titanium is pretty neat, but I find it to be unnecessary. Titanium is cool – I am wearing two knives and a pair of earrings made out of the stuff. But, it’s also expensive. I’d like to switch this pistol’s construction to something more like a reinforced polymer with stainless steel parts at all the high-stress points. This should keep the gun light and durable, but put its price point a little lower, so more people will be able to afford it. Or, make the gun in straight stainless steel as long as it stays small enough to keep the weight down.

The two-barrel design is interesting, but it does have its disadvantages. A double bore tends to suffer from one of two conditions. Either it’s expensive or inaccurate. The thing is, the machining and tooling it takes to assure that both bores will strike to the same point of aim can be pricey, not to mention the added labor to assure such precision work. The manufacturer clearly needs to recover associated costs. Let’s drop the second bore and keep this as a one-barreled proposal. Just like the material switch in the above paragraph, this will make these cheaper to build well.

The porting is silly. Right now, I’m wearing a pair of S&W 586L-Comps. These have ported barrels. For whatever recoil mitigation they might do, the upward-directed flash is blinding in low-light conditions. It’s pretty commonly known that criminals strike under the cover of darkness. When the adrenaline hits, you won’t feel the recoil. If you’re blind, you can’t make a follow-up shot. No, let’s skip the barrel porting.

Speaking of follow-up shots, it’s pretty cool that Heizer put two extra shots in the grip of their little gun. Since I just reduced this gun to one barrel for the sake of simplification of production, I’ll probably want to put more than two extra shots in the grip. I think I’d like the grip to hold like probably five extra cartridges. And, it would be really cool if somebody would design a system so that when you fired the gun, it would automatically dump your empty shell and pull the next cartridge out of the grip where you’ve got it stored and put it in the chamber.

Now that would make for a cool pistol! That would make a great BUG or primary for extremely hot weather. Could you imagine? If they chambered it in 9mm instead, there are even more possibilities that they could go with! Apply this formula to .380, and who knows what could happen?

UPDATE – See comments from Eric below. He’s corrected some of my points from this post.

4 thoughts on “Derringers – Hating on Heizer

  1. My company handles Heizer’s marketing and public relations. Just want to let you know that a number of your points have actually been incorporated into the design.
    The Double Tap is available in aluminum or titanium frame. The aluminum version is both lighter and less expensive. The barrels are stainless steel on both. They come either ported or non-ported. It’s also available in 9 mm, with the same frame and barrel options. All major parts, including the barrels, are US made on CNC machines with a tolerance of .0005″. Parallel bores are assured with no extra labor or machine time necessary. Thanks for your interest in the Double Tap!

    • 😀 Fair enough. I’m sure Heizer’s example is far better made than the Davis .38s that I’ve handled in the past. However, it is still a two-shot derringer. In today’s world of ultra-compact semiautos, why would one opt for a hopped-up derringer over a repeater? Thanks for your comment.

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