In 2012, Bond Arms released its most compact big-bore pistols to date. These included the Mini, with a cowboy-style frame and a 2.5-inch .45 Colt barrel, and the Girl Mini, with the same frame and barrel length chambered in .38/.357 Mag. Although the revolver-caliber Minis have been popular, customers have asked for more. They’ve told the company they want Minis that are ammunition-compatible with popular defensive semi-autos, such as the 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. For 2013, Bond Arms provides the answer to this request with the new Bond Arms Backup. But this pistol offers more than just a new caliber. The Backup will launch key innovations soon to be available across Bond’s entire line up.

Bond Arms was founded in 1995 with the idea that the Remington Model 95 over-under, single-action derringer could be converted from an Old West anachronism into a modern defensive handgun. The barrel and frame were redesigned to safely fire modern calibers. The beefed-up double barrels and frames are constructed completely from stainless steel, and shaped with modern manufacturing processes. This makes for a pistol that’s both strong and durable.

The original Remington derringer had a half-cock position for the hammer as its only safety feature. Bond Arms installed multiple modern safeties instead. These include a rebounding hammer, a release-lever retention device to prevent the pistol from bumping open while firing and a cross bolt safety. The cross bolt features a tension screw, located on the right side of the frame near the hammer that allows the shooter to adjust the finger pressure required to engage and disengage the safety button. The Backup has one more safety feature that’s available on select Bond models, which is a removable trigger guard.

But these features have been available for some time now. What’s new for this year is a redesigned trigger and hammer that measurably improve the trigger pull. Shooters these days are not used to the Remington 95’s roll-it-down trigger. It can feel strange when most handguns have triggers that essentially feel like they travel straight back. The new Bond Arms trigger is more deeply indented to create a more natural finger rest, and it has a shorter travel distance. The sample gun provided had a 4-pound, 2-ounce trigger pull compared to the 5-pound 12-ounce pull of an older model that was also gauged. The result of these trigger changes is a lighter, crisper feel that should be more familiar to modern handgun fans. The hammer has been modified with a flatter, wider spur to provide better purchase for the cocking thumb. It also requires less pressure to lock back for firing. While the trigger and hammer were not bad to start with, the updated firing mechanism is a real improvement. One more change to the Backup is the slimmer, more rounded profile of the wooden grip panels. It’s a subtle difference, but a noticeable one…

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