Keep a High Standard – High Standard Derringer

Today we want to take a look at the interesting little mouse gun – the High Standard Derringer.

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The High Standard Derringer.
High Standard entered the Derringer market in 1962.

This particular specimen was made by High Standard, famous for their .22 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.

High Standard Derringer
High Standard’s pocket gun brought the first real changes to Derringer style pistols in nearly a century.

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. They could be had in blued, nickel, electroless nickel, silver, and gold plated finishes.

The company went through some financial difficulties in the 1980s, and after production ceased in 1984, the design 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.

The High Standard Derringer.
The early D-100 was available only in 22 LR, but later iterations were produced in 22 Magnum as well.

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.

High Standard Derringer
The High Standard could be used as a so-called “Wallet Pistol” as well.

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.

Grunts: Guttersnipe.

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 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.

High Standard Derringer
These pocket guns were built for up close and personal social work. If you’re one of those who insists on a match grade trigger and gazillion dollar barrel even in a Derringer, well, perhaps you are reading the wrong publication.

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 isn’t the only pocket gun we’ve written about – see some other Derringers and BUGs we’ve researched for Weapon Trivia Wednesday.

 

 
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Mike Searson

Mike “the Mook” Searson is a veteran writer who began his career in firearms at the Camp Pendleton School for Destructive Boys at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire life, writing about guns and knives for numerous publications and consulting with the film industry on weapons while at the same time working as gunsmith and ballistician. Though seemingly a surly curmudgeon shy a few chromosomes at first meeting, Searson is actually far less of a dick and at least a little smarter than most of the Mad Duo’s minions. He is rightfully considered to be not just good company, but actually fit for polite company as well (though he has never forgotten his roots as a rifleman trained to kill people and break things, and if you look closely you’ll see his knuckles are still quite scabbed over from dragging the ground). You can learn more about him on his website or follow him on Twitter, @MikeSearson. [huge_it_gallery id="19"]


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