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American Derringer

Waco, Texas

Number of Employees: Less than 25


Year .22 .25 .32 .380 9mm .45 Total
1986 27 2 50 55 1,110 1,807 3,051
1987 47 3 57 338 847 1,572 2,864
1988 25 2 43 586 960 1,778 3,394
1989 72 0 69 58 903 3,475 4,577
1990 51 0 128 82 1,829 3,302 5,392
1991 71 11 84 51 3,539 4,815 8,571
1992 71 11 84 51 3,539 4,815 8,571
1993 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1994 108 4 69 1,820 515 6,951 9,467
1995 108 0 39 40 333 4,775 5,295
1996 91 15 437 935 271 3,657 5,406
1997 30 11 68 1,107 133 2,279 3,628
1998 108 15 363 765 395 1,521 3,167

o ATF production reports show duplicate production numbers for 1991 and 1992.
o Production figures for 1993 are not listed by ATF even though the company states that it manufactured firearms that year.

Company Facts:

Labeling itself the "complete headquarters for high quality derringers," American Derringer Corporation offers numerous models of single- and double-action derringers with calibers ranging from .22 rimfire to 10mm. Among the models offered is the Lady Derringer, designed "for the woman who wants a small compact pistol for home or personal protection." Company literature touts one pistol as the "World's Lightest .357 Magnum" while another is labeled "the most powerful pocket pistol ever made." American Derringer also sells shotgun shells manufactured by Winchester that are chambered for .45 Colt/.410 versions of its handguns. The company's brochure promises, "Penetration when fired in a pistol is approximately 700 pages in a telephone book at 10 feet. Has Double the stopping power of a .410 Rifled Slug."

At one time American Derringer offered the Stainless Steel Pen Pistol Model 2, which transformed "from a 'PEN' to a legal pistol in 2 seconds." The pen pistol was of such dubious reputation that at the 1992 S.H.O.T. (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show (the annual trade show for the firearms industry), the event sponsor asked that it be removed from display. The company also sold an ankle holster for the pen gun. According to Firearms Business, an industry newsletter, warranty cards shipped with the first pen guns sold by American Derringer attempted to disclaim all warranties with the language "as is, with all faults. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the product is with the buyer...the buyer assumes the entire risk of all necessary service or repairs." The company abandoned this policy after receiving inquiries from customers.

In an apparent attempt to avoid potential liability, American Derringer's 1992 catalog contained a five-part warning. One of the five points warned buyers, "Never carry a single action derringer...with the hammer (Firing Pin) resting on a loaded cartridge or in the full cocked position. If you drop any single action pistol with the hammer down on a loaded shell it can fire. Always carry it in the half cock position with the safety engaged!! This applies to all double barrel single action derringers." The final warning in the list stated, "All of our derringers are short range defense weapons and/or collector's items. They are not target pistols! It is your responsibility to select the pistol best suited for your needs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the factory."

Go to Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc.

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The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.

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