Bond Arms Stinger RS 22: A Camper’s Delight

There is something endearing about the Old West that continues to grip us long after it was won. Maybe it is because the Western was the movie of choice in the early years of Hollywood and the silver screen. Maybe it is because there are still parts of the West that remain quite wild. Maybe there is some intangible part of us that is seeking to be reclaimed. What is tangible is our fascination with Old West firearms.

While the big-bore single-action revolver and lever action rifle get most of the attention, the derringer was equally important. It is rare to see one portrayed in Westerns, yet the type continues to have its fans. Bond Arms continues to make quality double-barreled derringers for serious work. But to compare their pistols to elderly guns like the Remington Model 95 is like comparing a hardcover and a paperback. Bond guns stay true to the old design, but they are stainless steel tanks meant to handle heavy loads. While I was always impressed with their quality, the idea of packing a two-shot derringer that was so heavy did not appeal to me. That was until Bond debuted their Stinger and Stinger RS series of pistols.

The Stinger and the Stinger RS

The Bond Arms Stinger had a soft release in 2020 and has since entered full production. It is an aluminum-framed double-barrel chambered in .380 ACP, .38 Special, and 9mm Luger. The Stinger also uses a frame and barrel assembly that is roughly half the thickness of standard Bond pistols. All changes considered, the Stinger comes in at only 12 ounces. Although the Stinger is still limited to two rounds of ammunition, its size and weight put it in the ballpark of smaller micro .380 ACP pistols that are on the market.

In 2022, the Stinger RS was released. The chief difference between the Stinger and the Stinger RS is that the RS model is all-stainless steel like most Bond guns. The RS is cheaper to produce but retains some of the weight savings of the original Stinger. The Stinger RS is available in the same calibers but also includes a model chambered in .22 Long Rifle. As it happens, Bond also markets the Bark, a beefier .22 model that has a more traditional look. In the end, I chose Stinger RS.

The Bond Arms Stinger RS.


When I first took the Stinger RS to the range, one of the safety officers giggled and commented on my cool gambler’s gun. Clearly, she was a fan of Westerns. The RS does look and operate a lot like those old Remington derringers that occasionally pop up in the hands of gamblers and prostitutes on the silver screen. The RS’s large hammer, bird’s head grip, and distinctive double-barrel assembly clearly mark it as a derringer. The pistol is operated by a barrel release on the left side. With the right thumb, push the release down and tip the barrel out to load. The RS has a manual thumb extractor used to extract the empty cases. The sights consist of a blade milled into the barrel assembly for a front sight. The rear sight is the barrel hinge.

The breech face and barrel tipped up on the Bond Stinger.
The safety can be deactivated by turning the Allen screw in the breech face.

Unlike derringers of the old style, the RS is drop safe. It has a hammer that rebounds to the half-cock position after each shot. The hammer cannot go fully forward unless the trigger is pressed. Like other Bond Arms derringers, the RS has an additional cross-bolt safety. The safety can be fixed in place in either the safe or fire position by opening the pistol and tightening a hex screw set into the breech face. Most Bond Arms derringers come with a traditional spur trigger paired with a removable trigger guard. The Stinger’s trigger guard is integral to the frame.

In terms of construction, the RS is all-stainless steel and comes with a pair of thin, Zytec grips. Fully loaded, the Stinger RS weighs in at 18.2 ounces. It has a barrel length of three inches and an overall length of five. With grips included, the maximum thickness of the Stinger comes in at only ¾ inch.

A measurement of the Bond's width with a tape measure.
The Stinger RS is stainless steel, but it retains the scalloped dimensions of the original Stinger model.

Little Gun, Big Performance

The smaller a pistol is, the harder it is to shoot accurately. Derringers are the archetypical get off me gun. You get two rounds to deploy at contact distance. All you have to do is cock the hammer and press the trigger. The Bond Arms Stinger RS certainly is not a target pistol. The grip is just large enough to wrap two fingers around. The sight picture is fixed and both the front and rear sight are matte gray. It has two barrels with two theoretically different points of impact at different distances. It is also a two-shot .22. That is not much firepower. But the Bond Arms Stinger RS is one of the most shootable pocket pistols I have fired. It is a solid-performing gun whose simple, corrosion-resistant design can lend itself well to a number of different tasks.

A look at the left side of the Bond Arms Stinger.
A closer look at the controls of the Stinger RS. Note the barrel selector is visible under the hammer. The top barrel will go first.

Loading and unloading the Bond Arms Stinger RS is as simple as any double-barreled derringer. Thumb down the barrel release lever and tip the barrel up over its hinge to expose the chambers for loading. Unloading is accomplished in the same way, but the spent cases are pushed out with a thumb-activated extractor. Oftentimes, you will have to pluck the empty cases the rest of the way out of their chambers to clear them for reloading. While you can head to the range with a pocket full of shells to do your loading, I used Bianchi .22 caliber Speed Strips for reloading by stripping the rounds into both chambers at once. That makes the reload marginally faster and more convenient.

With the pistol loaded, you can elect to apply the thumb safety. Push to the right for fire, push to the left for safe. The safety is a simple hammer block that prevents the hammer from smacking the firing pins, even with the trigger pulled. Unfortunately, the small size of the pistol combined with my meaty hands meant I occasionally bumped the safety on when I meant to fire. Fortunately, the Stinger has a set screw in the breech face that can be tightened down with an included Allen key. It can lock the safety in the safe position or the fire position. From the fire position, the hammer must be cocked to fire the pistol. You can select which barrel to fire by noting the position of the spring-loaded plunger on the left side of the hammer. When the top barrel is selected, the plunger is clearly visible. When the bottom barrel is selected, the plunger is depressed. From the cocked position, you can then fire your rounds and reload.

Four rounds of CCI Mini Mag ammunition printed on a paper target.
Four rounds of CCI Mini Mag clustered on target from 10 yards away.

I put over 300 rounds of ammunition through the Bond Arms Stinger RS over the course of a few range trips. The pistol digested its fair share of premium CCI and Federal loads as well as dud-tastic loads like Winchester Super X and Remington Thunderbolts. Since you do the cycling and ejecting, I had no failures on this front. I did not have any dud rounds either. The Bond is simply too simple to fail and it shot surprisingly well both on paper and on steel.

The sights are low and immovable, but the front sight is narrow enough to easily pick up on the exact spot on a target. The trigger pull has a stiff wall with no take-up that broke clean out of the box at 5 lbs. It lessened greatly to about 3½ pounds with use. The lack of grip surface is usually a problem when shooting pocket pistols, but with the sedate recoil of the .22 LR, it is not an issue. Indeed, it was easy to get a high grip and place my shooting thumbs on the barrel for a very steady two-handed hold. The reciprocating slide or rotating cylinder on other guns would not allow such a stable hold.

The fixed trigger guard is not authentic to an original derringer, but it does give your trigger finger a place to rest while you work leverage to cock the hammer between shots. It was not difficult to get rounds on target in a hurry. At 10 yards, I could reliably put six rounds of CCI Mini Mag 40-grain ammunition in groups that were just over 1 inch in diameter. I got similar results with Federal Target loads. However, Federal Subsonic 45-grain loads widened the pattern to about five inches. Some ammo will agree with some guns. Do your homework!

A cluster of pellets from the Bond Arms on a paper target.
A pattern of Federal No. 12 ratshot from 10 feet.

Using the Mini Mag load, I tested each barrel for point of impact by firing six rounds through the top barrel and six rounds through the bottom barrel. The top barrel hit to the point of aim. The bottom barrel printed one inch low and one inch to the left. But firing both barrels together, there was no difference I could discern. Undaunted, I stepped back to see how often I could pop a 1/3 steel torso at 35 yards. Both barrels hit decisively. Any misses were on me and my ongoing caffeine withdrawals.

Terril aims the Bond Arms Stinger.
One handing the Bond Arms Stinger is plenty of fun as well.

Parting Shots

I am no stranger to .22 handguns. There are plenty of options out there, whether you want a fun gun, a recreational game-getter, or a deep-cover defensive option. Chances are that a two-shot Bond Arms derringer is not going to be your first choice. I thought the same until I gave the Stinger RS a chance and put it into the context of its competing options.

From a defensive perspective, I would rather have a five-shot NAA Mini Revolver or a Ruger LCP II with 10 rounds of the same ammunition. But if they cannot be manipulated easily or are unreliable, those extra rounds do not matter. For what it is, the Bond is utterly reliable and easy to shoot. Its flat profile and grip also do wonders in breaking up the gun outline in a pant pocket.

The case for the Bond gets much stronger if you treat it as a general tool. On paper, the accuracy is more than enough to bag a grouse or ward off a coyote. At the very least, you won’t feel sorry for the Stinger if it is in the wet outer pockets of your hunting coveralls or hibernating in a tackle box on a boat. The simple stainless-steel construction is tolerant of neglect other rimfire guns cannot handle. The Bond Arms Stinger RS is a niche gun to be sure, but one that has its uses and is surprisingly fun to shoot.

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