Heritage Barkeep

Affordable, Adorable & Absolutely Fun

Whether you’re a card shark, pearly sort of guy, or like sporting traditional

“It’s adorable,” were the enthusiastic words out of my daughter’s mouth spying the Heritage Barkeep during a designated .22 day at the range. Being my first exposure to a Heritage Arms .22, I admit I was impressed! Being so affordably priced, let’s just say expectations weren’t high.

Picking it up, pawing it, and then actually shooting it, my eyebrows subconsciously raise, as I think, hmmm, “not bad.” The 3″ Shoot-N-See target at 30 feet showed a tightly clustered 1″ group. I tried another target, and the same thing happened. “Huh, this little bugger can shoot,” said the voice in my head. Not only that, but it was also relatively smooth, having a decent trigger, too.

Had I portrayed predetermined prejudice towards the paltry priced plinker? Me thinks I did, leading to my pleasantly surprised reaction. Wow, lesson learned!

No, those aren’t Tank’s dainty digits, that’s his daughter Samantha’s, trying out the Barkeep.

Heritage History

Heritage Manufacturing has been around since 1992, with one simple goal in mind — making guns that tell a story and stand the test of time. This creed brought us the legendary Rough Rider rimfire revolver, a U.S.A.-made Single-Action classic reminiscent of the old west, and Heritage’s first gun. No cheap knock-off, the Rough Rider is ruggedly built, boasting craftsmanship, accuracy and quality.

Nothing’s more fun than a full box of bulk and a new .22 single-action revolver to play with.

Removing the grip panels reveals a traditional flat hammer spring, just like colt,
on the Barkeep. Also notice the safety to the side of the hammer.

No Last Call

The Barkeep continues to tell the tale of the old west with the men who were merchants, sheriffs and yes, bartenders wanting/needing a handy gun they could carry, or easily store, while being accessible when the chips were down — or flying. This shorty sixgun is a modern rendition of Colt’s popular 19th Century “Storekeeper” model.

Due to its handy 2″ barrel, the Barkeep is sans ejector rod housing, meaning something’s needed to poke those spent cartridge cases out of the cylinder for extraction. Not to worry, Heritage provides a handy ejector pin, with a traditional turned wood handle with the “H” logo, to poke those empties out.

The Barkeep sports fixed open sights of traditional flair, providing quick, snag-free drawing characteristics for fast and fancy drawing/shooting.

The Barkeep can hold its own at 10 yards, no matter what ammo is used.
Pretty impressive for a fixed sighted thumb-buster with 2" barrel and fixed sights.

Size, or lack of, does matter. Shown are the dwarfed Barkeep flanked
by a 7.5" Ruger Hunter and Ruger MKII 5.5" barreled semi-auto.

Pick Yer’ Poison

The Barkeep offers stocks in either custom scrolled wood, or sexy synthetic gray pearl. Both are stylishly fitted, giving the Barkeep an air of class, while providing a hand-filling grip. The alloy steel frame features simulated case hardening with the wood stocked gun, giving it a traditional look and finish, while the classy gray pearl Barkeep has a no-glare black oxide finished frame.

Close-up of the conveniently placed hammer block safety to the left of the hammer.

Traditional Form/Function

The Barkeep keeps in tradition of classic single-actions of the era with four “clicks” of the full-cocked hammer, while also having a half-cock notch, allowing the cylinder to turn for loading/unloading. The hammer spur is checkered for positive purchase while cocking this thumb-buster. A traditional flat hammer spring is used, just like Colt did, way back when.

Other features include a knurled cylinder base-pin for easy removal, alloy steel cylinder and frame-mounted firing pin for strength and durability. The Barkeep also has a hammer block thumb-safety conveniently mounted to the left of the hammer.

Both Barkeeps I had for testing have smooth actions and very nice triggers, with trigger pulls averaging just over 2.5 lbs. Overall length is 7.95″, width is 1.50″ and height is 4.86″.

A traditional cursive script “H” is burned into the turned “case poker” handle.
Notice the frame mounted firing pin?

The pint-sized Barkeep is easily palmed and always at the ready for trouble.

Shooting The Barkeep

The Barkeep serves six rounds of .22 LR ammo at a time and is safe to carry this way with the hammer block safety. An auxiliary cylinder is available in .22 Magnum from Heritage.

With the Barkeep’s 2″ barrel and fixed sights, I kept shooting distance at 10 yards. Originally, these belly guns were made for last ditch, close distance shooting from point blank to poker table, or store/bar counter distances. At 10 yards, 4 rounds would easily go under an inch, but I always seemed to manage a flyer, making groups go around 1.5″ or so. Either way, plenty accurate, and fun, for a gun such as this.

Federal bulk (remember that?) as well as Federal 510 lead and Winchester Super X ammo were used in testing. The Barkeeps showed no preference for ammo type, shooting everything equally well.

Here’s the “case poker” in action. It’s fun to do and gives one a taste of the old west.

In Conclusion …

The Barkeep is proof affordable guns can be quality built, accurate and most of all, fun. These guns are perfect for the trapper, hunter, or outdoorsman needing a small, packable gun with .22 LR/MAG capabilities, or anyone just wanting to have fun plinking at the range with their kids. Either way, the Barkeep will sober your thoughts on affordable guns. Six shots were never more fun!

Each Barkeep ships in a snazzy heavy cardboard box, lock, “case poker” and instruction manual. MSRP is $189.39 for gray pearl stocks and $160.61 for scrolled wood stocks.

For more information, visit HeritageMfg.com

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