Today we want to take a look at the interesting little mouse gun – it’s one of the High Standard Derringers.
This particular specimen was made by High Standard, famous for their .22 caliber semi-auto pistols and double action rimfire revolvers. In 1962, they entered the Derringer market with a model simply known as the High Standard Derringer. It was probably the first major change to the over-under derringer design in close to 100 years.
The original model produced from 1962 to 1967 was cataloged as the D-100 and was available only in 22 LR with a blued finish. In 1969, the D-101 and DM-101 models were released and were chambered in .22 LR and .22 Magnum respectively. Both had a barrel length of 3.5 inches. They could be had in blued, nickel, electroless nickel, silver, and gold-plated finishes.
The company went through some financial difficulties in the 1980s. After production ceased in 1984, the handgun was adapted by Benjamin Johnson Technologies. Johnson scaled up the design and these rimfire hideout guns became a .38 Special pocket gun known as the DA38 Derringer. In 1990 the design went to the American Derringer Company, and as far as we know is still produced today.
Where to Find a High Standard Derringer For Sale
Features of the High Standard Derringer
Because these derringers were rimfire, High Standard could make them very flat from side to side. Some folks go as far as to remove the grip panels to maintain an even flatter profile. A number of wallet holsters were made over the years for these pistols but may turn your pocket rocket into an AOW (Any Other Weapon) NFA (National Firearms Act) item.
We think it’s stupid too, but the wallet holster looked like a wallet and left the derringer concealed within. Draw from your pocket, put your finger through the hole and fire at will. This puts it in the same category as a cigarette lighter gun, cane gun, pen gun and other cool things the Feds think that we don’t need. The good news is that the transfer tax is only $5 and will give you a nice red stamp for your stamp collection. The downside is if you put it on a Form 1, you have to pay $200 in order to “make it.”
The sights are rudimentary and a guttersnipe style. Some say they influenced Paris Theodore on his ASP design. The trigger is hefty, and like you would expect to see in an Old Western, there is no trigger guard so you have fast access when you need it most.
High Standard eliminated the need to manually cock the hammer before each shot, making this one of the fastest Derringers to draw and fire in one movement. They did so by making it double-action-only, i.e., squeezing the hammer both cocks the internal firing pin and releases it. However, the trade-off was a thoroughly heavy double action trigger pull.
Bear in mind that this was not designed as a target pistol, but rather a deep concealment or back up carry piece (also called a BUG, or Back-Up Gun). It’s intended for use at bad breath distance while under stress. Match grade triggers and sights are not needed with these little guns.
The design may seem outdated to some but remains intriguing to others, and perhaps could even be a niche “gun hipster” carry piece! We find that they work very well, and anyone paying attention knows the .22 Magnum round is nothing to sneeze at.
This article first debuted in May 2018.
This isn’t the only pocket gun we’ve written about – see some other Derringers and BUGs.
For more information on the High Standard company, see the work at American Rifleman.
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