Fractions of a second and timing count in a gun fight. Having an empty chamber to have to work through a dud before a live round comes under the hammer could cost one their life or others. It is possible that a criminal could feel through clothing the gun while tussling before the draw. The good news is the model 85 is a much smaller gun for someone to notice under any circumstances. There are documented cases where even the grip on a revolver was easier to hold onto in a draw, have the right grip,and hit the assailentwith the first shot than with a pistol. Just easier to hang onto in the right way. You may very well need all five rounds in a fight. Even if the fight is over the remaining ammo is all you have to hold a live person or persons at gunpoint until help arrives. Reloading may not be in the cards. So having all the chambers loaded is imperative.
I'm constantly amazed at what most self defense/home defense buyers are after. Lets face it folks, unless you spend most of your life with a brief case full of either diamonds, rolex watch movements, or mucho cash chained to your wrist, or otherwise employed as a guard to protect highly valuble goods, you are not going to need multiple magazines full of rounds for personal or home defense. I have carried for over 40 years, most of the time it was either a .38 spec stack barrelled derringer, loaded with 146 gr mid range wadcutters. I HAVE fired this in an enclosed area, and even though there were three BGs, they left rapidly. I didn't even need the 2nd barrel, as the fact this sheep had real teeth, they had lost the element of surprise, plus while I didn't hit any of them, to be on the receiving end of a large ball of fire, plus the enclosed retort, they felt the need to be elsewhere. Now I know some areas of the country, you might invite return fire, but in the highest percentage of the time, once these type have lost thier initive, they have little or no reason to stick around. For some of these years, I've carried a High Standard .22 mag derringer, as it is flatter and easier for pocket carry. Again, if I was employed to guard high value goods, Yes, I'd more than likely have a BUG plus a large capacity main piece, but most crooks and break in artists are just like the rest of us, they don't desire to be hurt, and take it from me, being shot does HURT. Just had to put in my .02 worth
There are literally thousands of documented cases where fights do not happen the way we may think they will. One never knows how bad the fight will be , how long, nor how many criminals one will face. Even the mindset of the criminals has to be taken into account.
If the perp or perps stay and fight an ample ammo supply is going to be needed. Even a few extra rounds on a Bianchi SpeedStrip or a Speedloader may make the difference.
Even Marshall tells the story about being caught in a stop and rob store with snubbie when two crooks hold the place up. The whole result was one armed crook wounded, but able to function. The other was untouched. These guys were deciding whether to kill him before leaving even though Marshall was behind cover and unhurt. The perps left without shootng him. He had one round left in the 5 shot cylinder after the fight and no spare ammo. Lucky him. Bad guys got away.
Recently similar documented situations have had the same results with male and female off duty police officers. Can happen with us civilians as well and does. Police and Tactical journals abound in these type stories.
There are many fights that go beyond the 2 or several shot boundries and more shots are needed to end the fray. There is no typical fight nor can you say the battle you may be in is going to be that way. Otherwise we could all carry a gun with one or a couple of shots in it.
Criminals turn to fight, have an adrenalin dump ( will feel no pain and be bullet sponges-bullets have no effect), are on drugs/alcohol, or have a death wish, or any of the above, and the fire once or twice scenario will land one or others being protected in the morgue.
Just shooting guarentees nothing. The perps may fight or stay and fight. Are you going to bet your life , loved ones lives, or others that this will not happen? Predicting what the bad guy is going to do when confronted is a very bad mind set to have.
This gives the criminal advantages by acting in ways we did not anticipate. You are know reacting to him totally and are" behind the curve" with little or not time to counter the next move. Action beats reaction every time. Split seconds count. Any delay on the defenders part will cause them to come in second place. Dead or gravely hurt.
As for using wadcutters for defense it is suggested strongly by police trainers, military trainers, accredited gun schools, and accredited writers in the defense field that the best defense ammo that can be had be used that a person can shoot and tolerate the recoil.
JHPs ,whether standard pressure or +P in origin, are recommended almost universally. The recommendations are given by those who have actual experience in real defense scenarios. Most of the accredited people have had to defend or been in combat more than once.
For .38 Special revolvers, the 158 grain LSWHP is what other loads are judged against.
110gr.-125gr JHPs are next on the list of as excellent picks for defense. +P variety that is. Standard pressure loads in these weights work well too.
There are also low pressure +P loads just newly arrived in the last year or two put out by several of the big ammo makers. One in 135gr. JHP guise. These are made exclusively for short barreled revolvers.
So there are better choices than wadcutters of any bullet weight.
Wadcutters do not cut a swath through flesh as "conventional wisdom" would have one believe. Run your finger over the edge. Does it cut the finger? No sharp edges to do that. Neither do SWC types.
Wadcutters are moving at sedate speeds of around a little over 600 ft. per second or less from snubbie barrels. That means penetration of human flesh is limited. Vital organs and blood vessels will be most likely missed . The wadcutter could very well,and do,come up short of striking organs and blood vessels that need to be struck further into the body.
Using a load for defense that has a excellent documented track record in the real world is called for.
I have had to hold, many times, criminals at gunpoint until local police arrived. Never had to fire in anger,thank the Lord.Had to help out the local Sheriff's deputy on many occasions. Very scary and never want to have to do that again. Am prepared to do it again if necessary though.
The defense rounds were either .38 Specials or .357 magnums with a track proven record and I was able to shoot well with them.
Pick a defense round with care and research. Then have confidence in what you carry.
And remember. "Conventional Wisdom" is not always such, nor do things go a certain way because we believe they should.
If one chooses to use wadcutters in a snubbie as a defense load that is your choice. Some people can only tolerate that low a recoil for many reasons. Do realize that there are limitations to using them.
If an attacker/robber didn't desire to be hurt then they should have gotten into another line of work. Kansas City is becoming a hotbed of home invasions and multiple attacker incidents; just as much of the nation is seeing these things escalate. As a result we choose to be prepared for multiple attackers and that means shooting day/night or inside/outside with the likelihood of misses or hits that don't stop the threat. So having the ability to reload additional magazines is warranted, let alone for jams and malfunctions. I'd rather have multiple reload capabilities and not need them than not have the capability and need them. In similar thought is the 5/7/9 shot tactical pump shotguns versus a double-barrel shotgun.
The reasoning for the empty chamber may be do to similar reasons that single action revolver people do. Old safety habits.
With the single action revolvesr one carries an empty chamber under the hammer. Fixed firing pins on the hammers of revolvers need to be carried that way due to possible hits on the hammer from many possible sources, thus having the firing pin hit the cartridge and set it off
With modern firing pins inside the frame most revolvers today do not need that safety process. Firing pins either have transfer bar safety systems or firing pins that only come into contact with cartridge when the gun is fully cocked and the trigger pulled. There's a little more to it than that, but this would go into a long drawn out explanation.
Quick Draws: Yes, with todays new products, I would also have been armed differently than a 2 shot derringer with the mid range load, but after having done some testing with wet paper, I'd decided, that was the best for that particular arm. JHP did not open up at the low velocity of the derringer, and of course, it would be nice to retain a grip on it if needed for a 2nd shot. Those little grips are almost useless, so some adjustments had to be made. I felt like 2 rounds in a derringer beat a thrown rock or a pocket knife, until I could get to my truck where some more serious firepower was. But, often some one is unable to carry much, and I am also speaking of some time back in history, before many States had CCW laws. Today, if weather is such to allow concealing clothing, I carry a M445 .44 special 2 inch Titanioum, with a speed loader. During summer where clothing is almost optional, the Kel Tec P3AT is in a front pants pocket. Again, I hope this allows me to get to my vehicle, where heavier and more is available, but I do not feel under protected with just 7 rounds of .380 or 10 rounds of .44 special. I do not feel like I and my life style would attract a group of thugs. One or two looking for a easy break and entry will not stand and fight, as usually after they have lost their possible advantage of surprise, and then be made aware the sheep is armed, up to now, they have always lost interest, and left to find a less dangerous victim. I know this old world is changing, and not for the better, but at least in my little corner of the world, so far it has not been necessary to defend your home or person from large groups or gangs. If that does happen here, I'll have to add more guns and magazines, and then figure how to conceal the load.
Any modern DA revolver, my old smith M10 with a fixed firing pin on the hammer or my taurus M85 is safe fully loaded. The Smith and Wessons with hammer mounted firing pins and their many clones have a hammer block which keeps the hammer from contact with the primer unless the trigger is fully retracted. There is no need to limit your firepower by leaving a round missing under the hammer. You won't be any safer carrying the gun and you may actually need that round in a gunfight. If you carry a Colt Single Action Army or clone (I don't know anyone who does), you need to load five.
Heck, when I go to Houston, I carry either a .357 magnum or Ruger P90 .45ACP on my hip, an 11 round Kel Tec P11 semi auto in a pocket for back up with a spare mag or speedloader/speed strip for the primary and TWO 10 round spare mags for the back up PLUS a NAA mini last ditch gun WITH 10 spare rounds for that!
I take no chances with my life. Two shot derringers are fun nostalgia, but not serious defensive tools to me. I can carry my 14 ounce Kel Tec or my M85UL revolver about as easily in a pocket and more easily than some of those large caliber remington pattern derringers. This ain't 1888. There are gangs on the street. I know a guy that had a run in with the MS13 bunch in Houston recently, he escaped. It was a freeway encounter. Not a shooting situation, but scary enough to drive home the point to me that, yeah, I need some firepower especially in H town. Down here in podunk, just my little revolver works for me and I really don't need to go armed for combat in Houston, just the 9mm Kel Tec and 31 rounds of firepower would be adequate. ROFL! But, hey, if you can carry more, why not? Having three guns on you helps prevent Murphy's law, too, and if it makes me feel better, I'd do it. I'd feel plain naked walking around with a derringer and no reloads. My M85 and a couple of reloads makes me feel much better and I always have my Naa mini on me to back up whatever I choose that day for a primary.
I talked to a cop once that cornered a BG he was chasing on foot. He fired 11 rounds from his 9mm Glock before getting a hit. He is a well above average shot, but when the SHTF, the adrenalin makes you do things. He said he's a high cap believer now. That one 9mm round stopped the fight. The guy was down, recovered in a hospital. I do have a high cap 9, Ruger P85, but I just prefer my P90, I shoot it better, might be the much nicer trigger the thing has or the better accuracy, don't know, but I have a zen with that thing. But, I have FIVE magazines for that P85 if I was a real firepower freak. ROFLMAO!
I'll add, back in the day where there were no CCW laws, I carried a tiny little 7 shot .25 ACP. It weren't much, but it hid well. With the advent of CCW laws, little 9s like the Kel Tec, the Kahrs, the PT111 became highly desireable. I sold that .25 and wouldn't even THINK of carrying one now. Times change and so has my carry battery.
Then there is the "carry more than one gun" reasoning at it does have some merit though most CCW carry will probably be just the one gun.
The reasoning goes that if the primary gun malfunctions for any reason, is put out of a fight by a direct hit by criminal rounds coming in at one, or the strong side arm and shoulder are hit and put out of action, the secondary firearm will have to be accessed and used to finish the fight. One other possibility is a second gun is quicker to access in some cases than reloading and then returning to the fight.
All the above have happened to police and civilians alike and are documented in the police and tactical journals.
The secondary gun should or could be of a fight stopping caliber. Others go with .380 ACP or smaller round for ease of carry and easier to hide than the primary sidearm for CCW. This would be a hideout arm that could be overlooked or drawn discreetly if being held at gunpoint and it looks like action will have to be taken anyway. There are signs and clues as when this is going to happen, but going into all that here would just involve getting long winded.
Criminals are vicious and will at times execute people caught in a hold up or other bad situation. No witnesses or just for kicks. Happens on a regular basis and enough times to warrant study by those who CCW and know what to look for.
Have had that happen around here frequently enough in the Milwaukee Metro area enough and this state has no CCW law and never will. That's another story though.
I normally carry a little NAA mini .22 in my off side pocket. I can access it if need be with my weak hand. Not a "fight stopping" caliber by most reckonings, but it's there. Normally, my primary is in my strong side pocket. But, when going to Sodom on the Gulf, I'll carry a bigger primary, so 3 guns total. I like having a good caliber accurate gun in the strong side pocket so that in situations that require a "condition orange" higher level of alert, I can walk along with my hand in my pocket grasping the gun and no one is the wiser. It's much quicker than even IWB this way. So, my BUG becomes my primary in that situation.
Oh, I'm not knocking derringers. Just stating that there are many possibilities that can happen and one may need to be ready for those.
Derringers are close in weapons mainly. Barrels on even the most expensive derringers are not regulated to point of aim or impact for both barrels. So one has to experiment on a case by case basis on targets to see where each barrel point of impact is. That is true for what load is being carried as well.
Expense, time needed, and procedure for regulating double barreled rifles or pistols is prohibitive enough that mass produced arms would not be possible. This is documented well.
And Oldhand10 has a good point. Centerfire derringers can be hard to hang onto when fired or get back down on target for another shot. Even some of the rimfire models can be tough due to the tiny grips. There are techniques for this.
American Derringer and Bond Arms have dealt with this to an extent.
There are two documented cases where .22magnum rimfire DAO derringers were used to good effect. One case was in a barber shop and the two crooks were about to shoot a person or persons. A customer unobtrusively pulled out the derringer and shot both criminals in the head with a shot to the brain from the side, thus ending the horrible situation and saving lives. Surprise and the fact the criminal's attention was elsewhere briefly helped the situation come to a close happily.
Just realize the potential shortcomings and good points of one's defense piece before relying on it to save your life or that of others.