Do We Really Need A Modern Pepperbox Pistol?

There is an old saying that goes “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” That saying should, in my opinion, be applied to The Reliant from Signal 9 Defense.

What is The Reliant? It is a four-barrel pepperbox-style pistol that weighs 16 ounces and has a 2.63″ barrel. The dimension of it are 5.25″ long by .94″ wide by 4.25″ tall. It has a four-shot speedloader that fits into its grip similar to a magazine. It is available in .32 H&R Magnum, .32 ACP, .380, and .38 Special. The trigger pull on The Reliant is 8 lbs. It can come with an integral laser from LaserMax.

Base price on The Reliant is $499 with the red laser being an additional $149. If you want a green laser, that is an additional $299. Extra barrels are available so you can change calibers. These run $175.

If I had to guess, I’d say the designers had the derringer in mind when they developed this. The break-action loading is similar to that of derringers. The change was to add another two barrels.

Signal 9 Defense is positioning The Reliant as a concealed carry gun. They state that it could be used as either a primary or backup weapon by shooters of all experience levels.

Let’s look at some alternatives for a small concealed carry pistol. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, the Springfield XDx 9mm, and the Ruger LC9/LC9s are all single stack pistols that are easily concealable and have 7 (or 8) +1 capacity. Sizewise, they are all as thin, approximately the same height, and just marginally longer. In terms of weight, they range from the LC9s at 17.2 ounces to 23 ounces for the XDs-9. They all have a lighter trigger pull.

I checked the prices on all of the above alternatives using Davidson’s Gallery of Guns for my local dealer’s price. The M&P Shield was $354 delivered, the XDs Essential was $407 delivered, and the LC9s Pro (which I just ordered) was $333 delivered. All of these prices include North Carolina sales tax.

I just can’t understand why you’d want to go with a pepperbox (or 4-shot derringer) when you could get a semi-automatic pistol with double the capacity, that is the same approximate size and weight, has a better trigger pull, reloads easier and quicker, has plenty of holster options, and most likely costs less.

It just doesn’t make sense to me nor do I see it’s utility.

14 thoughts on “Do We Really Need A Modern Pepperbox Pistol?”

  1. Other than as a very very close quarters "get off me" gun, I'd have to agree. If you're at muzzle-scorch range with an attacker there's no slide to get hung up on anything and no cylinder to grab (though I have serious doubts you could stop somebody from firing a revolver by grabbing the cylinder). Other than that, it's capitalism in action.

    1. You make very good points. Perhaps George Zimmerman should have had one of these instead of his Kel-Tec.

      I like the comment, "it's capitalism in action." We don't, for the most part, live in a command economy with five-year plans. For now.

    2. This.

      A pepperbox type gun is theoretically better suited to pocket carry than revolvers and semi-autos: The only moving part that needs to be external is the trigger.


  2. Ideal pistol for first timers. No worry about slide out of battery. No lockripwork or taprackbang. No cylinder lockup.

    Fundamentals we take for granted need to be learned. Basics are learned

  3. You're right. We don't need it. It's too bulky for its caliber and its capacity. It's slow to reload. It's a big step backward. We all know that.
    But I've lusted after the old Sharps or Colt pepperbox pistols (really, the repros in .22 LR) for most of my life. The old COP (which should have been called the POS) .357 pepperbox of the 80s was a poor attempt to reintroduce the concept.
    If someone wants to buy one, what's wrong with selling it?

  4. You can fire from a pocket or chest to chest and no worries about the slide. Marginally smaller than a revolver with no externally moving parts (like a cylinder) 4 shots instead of 5 or 6, but that is the trade off.

  5. Think Politics. Would this be New York/Jersey/Kalifornia/Conn/Mass Legal under those VolksRepubliks STOOOOPID Anti-Gun Laws? Probably.

    But for those of us who live in Free States, it's just an Oddity.

  6. I believe the designers had a COP in mind rather than a derringer. The COP was an eighties era 4 barrel .357 magnum that didn't go over then and I doubt it will go over now. It's interesting that it isn't offered in .357 magnum. It was heavy, bulky, awkward and didn't function well.

  7. I would have to say it's for people that like that design of gun. Probably people who like the Deringer but need something bigger. And maybe like the idea of interchangeable barrels that allow you to change the caliber of the weapon. My favorite gun I ever owned was a .38 over/under Deringer. So yes I would love this gun.

  8. Squibs, hangfires and misfires are no big deal with derringer or pepperbox. Get a squib in a semi automatic pistol, and you're defenceless (and without palm, if you had a bad day).

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