Gun Report

American Derringer DA 38 .38 Sp/.357 Magnum

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For self-defense, there are many other better guns, in our view. But if you've got to have and carry a derringer-style gun, then this is what we would choose.

American Derringer DA 38 .38 Sp/.357 Magnum

Gun Details

Model Name
Model Number
Home Defense
Concealed Carry
Caliber Plus Cartridge
Weight Unloaded
Overall Length
Barrel Length
Sight Radius
Overall Height
Front Strap Height
Back Strap Height
Maximum Width
Grip Thickness Max
Grip Circumference Max
Frame Material
Barrel Material
Grip Material
Trigger Pull Double
Trigger Span Double

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In addition to the single-action M-1 .45 Colt/.410 reviewed below, Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight versions of some models are available, and they weigh only 7.5 ounces. The M-4 Alaskan Survival gun is also offered in .45 Colt/.410. The Lady Derringer is stocked in .38 Special or .32 Magnum. The larger Model 6 shoots the .45 Colt/.410 combo, too. The DA 38 Double Action, however, stands out from the rest of the AD products because of its internal hammer.
The directions packed with the gun explicitly warned against putting the finger alongside the barrels, but the only other place to put the index finger was under the bottom barrel.
The DA 38 opened more easily than the other guns (top), but the bottom barrel was partially blocked by the extractor, making reloading slow, in our view.
The front sight is blended into the barrel.

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