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Deringer In The West

Deringer In The West

Henry Deringer of Philadelphia was already well known for his rifles and larger handguns when he turned his efforts toward manufacturing smaller pocket pistols. Beginning around 1852, these compact percussion arms—sold in pairs or individually—became the favorite personal protection choices of riverboat travelers and those bound for California’s Gold Country. Some of Deringer’s pistols were marked by the factory for his sole agents on the West Coast—Charles Curry and Nathaniel Curry & Bro. of San Francisco. But Deringer copyists abounded; and the generic term “derringer” was, in time, applied to both Deringer’s own product as well as to other, similar small-scale handguns.

The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; all have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email nfmstaff@nrahq.org.

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