I was at the range with a neighbor as a first time guest. He owns several revolvers and brought along a .44 that was interesting to shoot. I'd handled this gun before at his house and it was interesting to shoot this hair trigger.
He and I walk every morning and he carries this .410 loaded with shot shells. Don't remember what gauge, doesn't matter. Mostly for protection from dogs and/or other menacing animals. We both carry zappers for the same reason. Anyway he had that gun with him for me to shoot for the first time. Wow. From 10 feet away, this gun had about a 36" pattern with pellet holes about 3" apart. Seemed to me to be a very effective weapon for many reasons, and of course just as many reasons not to count on this gun.
What gauge? It's called ".410 gauge." The chamber is large enough in diameter to also accept .45 "Long" Colt pistol cartridges, if the gun is strong enough to accept firing them.
The derringer in question probably carries two shotgun shells. It is probably a single-action pistol, needing to be thumb cocked for each shot. Its grip is probably pretty small, and the gun recoils sharply. Am I correct?
In my mind, this is a poor self-defense tool. However, it's probably pretty effective against the run-of-the-mill dog. I'm not sure that it's the best thing to use on a determined pit bull, though.
I also don't think that its two shots would make me comfortable with it. I would want at least five, and a quick reload.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
I was referring to the size of the shot. I agree completely with what you said. We've been jumped numerous times in the dark by dogs and you never know whether you're going to have to protect yourself. I also carry a zapper and cracking the trigger a couple times slows them down considerably.
Have you tried pepper spray? That should be effective enough, and probably won't screw with you again.
My father picked up a Taurus Judge 3" barrel and chamber. When he bought it the only shells I had for the .410 were bird shot. We found that at only 6-9 feet it would throw a pattern probably 20" x 20". He was a bit disappointed that it would be such a short range weapon with the .410 shells in it. He continued to experiment and found a brand of shells loaded with 4 or 5 balls of buckshot (I don't recall the exact details) all loaded single file. When we tested that we found an 8" group at 30 feet. Being a 5 shot revolver, he now carries it with an assortment. First couple rounds are bird shot followed by two buck shot and finally a .45 LC. It is undoubtedly larger than the derringer style that you described but I think the additional rounds would make up for the gain in size and weight, at least for me.
According to the "Box o' Truth" site, those buckshot deliver too little energy to be effective in decisively stopping a fight.
I haven't tried a Judge, so I'm merely parroting what I've been told, but I trust the resources I've seen and read, and they all describe the Judge (in all of its iterations) as being ineffective on anything but small animals up close.
The Judge seems to work best, defensively speaking, with .45 "Long" Colt rounds in it. This raises the question of why one would buy a Judge in the first place, rather than a .45 revolver of one kind or another (or a .45 ACP semi-auto).
I can't think of the Judge as anything but a novelty. It may be that they are fun to play with, since they seem to be very popular, but I can't stir up any interest in them, personally. They aren't good shotguns, and they aren't a very accurate handgun platform, and they definitely aren't practical as far as concealment.
I suppose they would be OK for shooting snakes, but I generally just pick up a stick and whack them, or walk around.
After seeing the pattern at 10' it looked like it would be a great weapon for SD only on small animals and the like. Probably not lethal and if I didn't see the pattern I would have probably put a couple pellets in my foot. I thought it was a good idea, now I don't. I was curious if I had not considered everything, and it seems I have.
I think dosborn's got the right idea. The zapper, a good spray should take care of just about any threat. It might seems silly, but I just want to get my walk in and be left alone. Too many neighbors just open the door, let their mutt out to bark and charge all morning. I should mention I'm on the hoof at 5:30, well before sun-up. Thanks for the help.
You're lucky...where I live, there's only the smelly two legged ones.
Shooting a dog is far too much trouble than it's worth. If you can stop the thing with something non-lethal, it's much better than going through all that hassle.
Snakes, rats and such might be a much better use for it.
You're right MLB, it's really not something I want to do but at the same time I can't walk in the dark without some protection. I wouldn't even be thinking about it but several neighbors just let them loose in the morning and when I walk by they charge off the porch towards me barking their heads off. Rarely do you see the owner trying to restrain them. I've had many an occasion to crack my zapper which gets their attention, and I'm now known to these owners. Some have made comments about their right to let their dogs run loose (against association rules) and I've responded as long as they don't come into my street, no problem. But until I'm able to ascertain the threat, I'm in SD mode. One dead end street is "dog alley". 5 dogs, most of which I don't see anymore, including 2 large dobermans. In the dark it's something to be aware of.
Here in the far, upper-left-hand corner of the US, a dog running loose need only be seen annoying a person, deer, sheep, or cow, and it may be shot dead on the spot.
Maybe your county has a similar law. It's something useful, to be used as a threat against the owners of uncontrolled dogs.
Nice pocket companion. Very persuasive. That 3" buckshot shell definitely leaves the hand stinging a bit. The 2-1/2" alternative's a bit kinder that way.
Not 100% certain but I suspect that 3" shot shell choice could easily be lethal - no question about the .45 Long Colt.