A Bond For A Song

The Roughneck & Rough N Rowdy

Even without frills, the Roughneck (left) and the Rough N Rowdy have a blue-collar elegance.

A couple decades ago, the modern two-shot derringer was little more than a novelty item gun collectors kept on display as a conversation piece, or they adorned the showcases of pawn shops as questionable quality “Saturday night specials.” No one who was serious about guns ever paid much attention to them. They had a reputation for being cheap, unreliable and downright unsafe. That was before Bond Arms took this interesting niche firearm to the level of a high quality, extremely dependable handgun.

These highly polished and finely chiseled hunks of stainless steel, often adorned with beautiful wood grips and thematic engravings, have become not just a collection item, but a legitimate instrument for defense. At a typical retail cost of around $600 or more, they were sometimes priced out of reach for some customers. Two guns from Bond Arms — the Roughneck and the Rough N Rowdy — are poised to change this.

Like all Bond derringers, the barrels tilt up and back for loading and unloading.

The Rough N Rowdy is chambered for .45 Colt or .410 — or both!

But, How?

So, how do you achieve the ability to get more product on store shelves and simultaneously provide a much lower cost option to the market, with no reduction to the integrity and performance of the product? The engineers at Bond Arms explored this question and came to the conclusion that the finishing work was about half the cost of production. And by altering the process to remove the most expensive part, they created the Rowdy and the Roughneck. The machined high-grade stainless parts are worked to get any rough edges or tool marks off, and then bead blasted to a soft matte finish. This is then followed up with some polishing of certain areas — most noticeably the flat sides of the barrels — until they have a very nice brushed stainless-steel finish. Same high-quality gun, same rugged reliability, same diversity of calibers and 100% barrel compatibility — at about half the cost.

I was able to test both the Roughneck and the Rough N Rowdy. The Rough N Rowdy has a 3″ barrel and is chambered for .45 Colt and/or .410 shotshell. The Roughneck is 9mm with a 2 1/2″ barrel. The combination of bead-blasted and brushed finish makes an attractive-looking gun. The black rubber grips are appropriate to the look and provide a great non-slip handle.

Loading the Bond guns consists of unlatching the double barrel and rotating it up and back. Two rounds are dropped into the exposed chambers, and the barrel is rotated back and latched into position. The lockup of the barrels is excellent. There is no wiggle or looseness. The guns are single-action-only, so you’ll need to fully cock the hammer to fire. The hammer has a large spur easily manipulated with the thumb. The trigger of the derringer remains set back near the rear of the trigger guard. Pulling the trigger is really more a rolling motion than a straight pull rearward. The trigger guard of the Roughneck and Rough N Ready models is removable, in traditional Bond style.

The Roughneck will handle any 9mm round you give it, from +P
defense loads to your favorite range stuff.

A Real Roughneck

My test sample of the Roughneck arrived chambered for 9mm. It is also available in .38 Special/.357 Magnum and .45 ACP. I’ve got to tell you if you made me shoot this gun chambered in .357 Mag., my lower lip would be quivering immediately. The gun weighs 19 oz. and does a good job of handling a stout 9mm. The .38 Special would probably be another great choice — but .357 Mag. would be a bit punishing. This said, it’s nice to know the little beast is made to handle it, which indicates 9mm +P is also a good choice. Standing 7 yards from a target and shooting the Roughneck tends to place the shots about 6″ apart vertically. Close up and personal, these guns both get the job done well. If you get back farther than 7 yards or so, you’re going to start seeing significant spread, even with the 9mm. The over/under design inherently places one shot much lower than the other. I found the top barrel to be pretty true to the sight picture, just a tad high — but the lower barrel places the hit very noticeably lower (varying of course with caliber and load). For the single-projectile loads, keeping them all on target in “center mass” is not at all difficult — but these might not be the guns to bring to the bull’s-eye match.

Empty cases are ejected by unlatching the barrel and flipping it up, and using a fingertip or fingernail, flicking the spent cases out of the chambers. Because the brass expands when fired, gravity alone won’t do the trick. This task was simple each and every time, and not once did any spent case become stubborn or require any special attention to remove. Reloading is a simple task of dropping in two new rounds, swinging the barrel back down and latching it to the frame.

Bond installs the same highly effective cross-bolt safety found in all its derringers.
No corners have been cut.

Bond Arms employs a simple, effective latch for the tilting barrels,
with a nicely knurled external lever.

Getting Rowdy

The Rough N Rowdy is chambered for .45 Colt/.410 shotshell and also loads simply with easy drop-in effort to tilted barrel chambers. Most .410 loads feel like a handful in the little Bond, but manageable. Self-defense loads like Winchester’s PDX1 Defender is a bit stout but is a reasonable price for a no-nonsense self-defense knockout punch. The .45 Colt round is perhaps the perfect load for the Rowdy, and is downright fun to shoot. Testing at the very close distance of 3 yards indicated the typical birdshot spread covered an entire IDPA target.

The shortness of the barrel, combined with the small amount of rifling it has causes the shot to spread far more quickly than it would from a long barrel — even one twice the length. This makes it excellent for an up close and personal deterrent to rattle an attacker, but maybe not the best choice when shot placement counts. The .45 Colt on the other hand, performs politely and shoots accurately from the Bond Rowdy, with very tame recoil. The .410 shells don’t like to come out as easily after firing, so Bond includes an externally mounted extractor to help break the rim free so the shooter can remove the hull.

If you’re looking for the Goldilocks in-between compromise between the wide-scattered shot and the single .45 Colt — the PDX1 load is ideal. With three large heavy copper-plated discs followed by a dozen plated BBs — all at a very respectable velocity — with a narrower spread, it is excellent for close-quarter defense.

For .45 Colt, I recommend something like SIG SAUER’s V-Crown load — a well-designed 230-gr. JHP moving at about 850 fps, it’s truer to aim and has potential effectiveness close to a .45 ACP

Two new models from Bond Arms offer the same rock-solid
build and quality at half the price. How’d they do it?

Closing Thoughts

The Roughneck 9mm has an MSRP of just $269, and the Rough N Rowdy .45/.410 is $299. Expect the tag at your local gun store to be a bit lower than this. It is estimated Bond can produce these guns in one quarter — maybe even one fifth — of the time, without the extra blending and polishing. This should send them around the bottleneck of skilled finish work, and means although price is low availability should be fairly high. And like all Bond derringers, once you’ve bought one, you can interchange barrels as you see fit — and build a large collection of calibers. These new “Rough and Rowdy” guns carry the same warranty as all Bond firearms and are built just as tough. But they are dressed and priced to be more at home in jeans than in a suit.

For more info:

Ph: (817) 573-4445

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