I just picked up a Davis .38 Special O/U Derringer for a very low price. It's an inexpensive remake of the .41 Remington O/U Derringer. Cobra Enterprises (Utah) bought the Davis machinery when it went bankrupt, and now makes the same gun. I know that there are better choices (i.e., Walter PPK, SP101, North American Mini), but I got a deal on a discreet, large-bore pocket pistol. The gun is in excellent condition, and well-made, considering production costs.
Could you please give me advice on the following:
1) Ammo. Since the barrels are zinc alloy, and not steel, I'm thinking that it might be wise for me to fire lower-velocity .38 Long through them, as opposed to .38 Special even though the gun is obstensibly designed for it. What do you think?
2) Safety. There are four ways to carry this pistol.
A. Loaded with hammer down. Bad choice since hammer is sitting on top of centerfire primer, with no transfer bar, just waiting to go off if derringer is dropped or slammed into something. A good way to lose part of one's lower anatomy.
B. Loaded, on half-cock, with cross-bolt safety engaged. This is what the Davis/Cobra manual recommends. This makes any defensive use a joke, however. A flintlock pistol would be more effective.
C. Loaded, on just half-cock. This is probably the way that the original Remington Derringer was carried -- just like the old Colt SAA. If Davis/Cobra advises using both the cross-bolt safety and the half-cock safety, then either they're going "belt and suspenders" due to past product liability problems, or they have little confidence in the half-cock safety by itself. If the latter is true, then I should sell this gun as quickly as possible.
D. Loaded, on FULL cock, with cross-bolt safety engaged. The manual said that to fire this pistol, you need go to from half cock to full cock, and then disengage the cross-bolt safety. I got to thinking, why not just carry it like a 1911 -- "cocked and locked". If I need to fire it defensively, then I simply remove the safety. Now, it finally begins to look half-way useful.