Signal 9 Defense Reliant pistol at the NRA 2015 National Meeting

I got a chance today to go hands-on with the Signal 9 Defense Reliant at the NRA annual meetings in Nashville.  The purpose of the firearm, according to its designer, was safety and ease of use.  From Signal 9’s website:

The Reliant is specifically designed for concealed carry, combining the reliability of a revolver with the profile of a 1911 pistol. The contoured grip is comfortable for all shooters it’s small size makes it easy to conceal. The Reliant is ready the moment you put your finger on the double action trigger. With no external action, it can be fired from “deep cover”, from inside a jacket pocket or other concealment. Reliant’s innovative design represents a true revolution in personal defense and is perfect for both a primary weapon or a backup gun for shooters of all experience levels.”

  • 4 shot, 4 barrel break-action
  • Multiple Calibers with interchangeable barrels
  • .32 ACP (requires moon clip)
  • .32 HR Mag, .32 Long, .32 Short
  • .380 (requires moon clip)
  • .38 Spl, .38 +P, .38 S&W, .38 Long, .38 Short
  • Finish:Various Hardcoat Anodized and Black Phosphate.
  • Trigger Pull: 8 lbs
  • Barrel Length: 2.63″
  • Capacity: 4 rounds with 4-round speedloader in the grip (.380 and .32 ACP speedloader w/ moonclip)
  • Overall Length: 5.25″
  • Height: 4.25″ (without speed loader)
  • Width: .94″ without grip, 1.25″ with grips
  • Weight: approx 16oz.
  • Stainless Steel barrel. Hard coat anodized aluminum frame. Aluminum Upper Receiver
  • Patent pending all-internal action equates to no jams
  • Firing action cannot be neutralized by an assailant grasping the gun.
  • Patent pending design makes accidental discharge from impact/dropping virtually impossible
  • 4-round capacity with 4 shot speedloader in the grip.
  • Ergonomic grip
  • DEEP COVER – Reliant can be fired from within pocket or purse
  • Ambidextrous one-hand operation
  • Patent pending ULTRA SMOOTH 8 lb trigger pull
  • Grip automatically activates optional red or green laser


Picture of the open action, the brass-colored button below the chambers is the optional laser actuator

Picture of the open action, the brass-colored button below the chambers is the optional laser actuator (all photos courtesy of Oleg Volk and Signal 9 Defense)

reliant_3-4view_DSC4508web reliant_top_DSC4436web

The striker assembly (not pictured) is quite interesting, it was inspired by the webley revolver, and looks like a mini-webley clyinder that cams and aligns the firing pin around to the different firing pin holes when the trigger is pulled, and when the trigger is released, returns to behind the firing pin block.  This feature makes the reliant 100% drop-safe.  Also, the lead designer worked on the Striker/Protecta shotgun with Hilton R. Walker in South Africa, so he has a long history in firearms design and development.  I asked about reloading and ejection, and was informed that the ejector is strong enough to eject the brass up and forward away from the shooter when the action is opened.  The grip extension you see at the bottom of the grip holds 4 rounds ready to be reloaded akin to Bianchi speed strips.  Certain details, such as standard night sights and barrel lengths for each caliber, are still being finalized.

Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


  • tts

    No price? Bad sign…

    • thei3ug

      On their company site the MSRP is $500, barrel swaps are $175.
      I have an irrational love of quirky things. As much as I try, I can’t find a need for this but at the same time it just tickles me.
      still, I love the “without grips” spec. Right… Not sold on the value proposition over a snubbie either.

      • tts

        Thanks for finding that. Not terrible but not really cheap either.

        Yea I like the looks of it too. I liked the COP as well…that trigger pull though. ;(

      • Rich

        I confess, I love it too. Not a logical thing, but just, well….a cool gun. But the price!!!!! Yikes! It just sort of burns away the “neat” factor. Darn. Oh, and I always wanted one of those COP guns. 🙂

  • BryanS

    Modern centerfire Brownie. I like!

    Gooffy and impractical, but I like! Would go well with my ’31 Brownie.

  • Zebra Dun

    It would seem that a .357 Magnum barrel would accommodate what the .38 spl does plus one.
    My first thought was, “What……no .45 Colt/.410 shotgun?”

  • Frank

    My mother? Let me tell you about my mother.

  • I remember when this was called then C.O.P. and failed commercially. Odd they would revive the concept.

    • Rusty S.

      I looked at the renderings of the internals versus the patent blueprints for the COP and there are pretty big differences. I agree that externally they are quite similar, but the firing mechanism is quite different.

      • Anon. E Maus

        It looks so much slimmer and neater for one, even if it lacks the same Cyberpunk appeal of the COP.

      • Spencerhut

        I had a COP and the firing mechanism was pure junk. Nearly impossible to work on the thing.

    • Frank

      Well to be fair when the COP went to market you could get a CCW permit where? Washington, Indiana, the Dakotas, and Alabama?

      • DaveP.

        COP wasn’t intended for “civilians”. It was supposed to be a backup gun for…exactly what the name implies. Permits not necessary, only a badge.

        • Torrorojo

          Agreed but that remained a very small market.

    • thei3ug

      It definitely fills a narrow, narrow, infinitesimally narrow niche.
      That being said, the expansion of concealed carry opportunities gives the product some hope. It’s the only explanation I can think of for the commercial viability of products such as Heizers, Bonds, NAAs, or any other low capacity handgun in this renaissance of pocket autos and snubbies.

      • Oleg Volk

        Unlike COP, it has a very good trigger.

        • Anon. E Maus

          There’s also those solid copper “+” shaped bullets from Lehigh Defense, available in 9mm, four of those should have pretty phenomenal penetration based on tests I’ve seen.

    • Anon. E Maus

      The COP was only available in .357 chambering and was heavy as sin, being made wholly of steel.

      This gun, also being available in 9mm and .32 seems like it could take the concept much further.

      • Anon. E Maus

        I should amend that to .380, but they still perform quite well.

  • Charlie Taylor

    8 lb trigger pull? Jeebus. Yeah I’d rather have a snubbie revolver

    • floppyscience

      Do you think 8lb is too heavy for a DAO pistol? Or too light?

  • Swarf

    “Reliability of a revolver” and one less shot?

    My Ruger LCR fires from a coat pocket, too.

  • valorius


    I’ll stick with my Ruger LCP.

  • Jack Morris

    I’m curious as to why they went with such a long angular grip if it doesnt need to accommodate a magazine. Kinda kills the option of pocket carry or deep concealment in general.

    • Rusty S.

      As far as I understand, to disperse the recoil along the hand, as well as facilitate storage for the speed loader reload.

      • Jack Morris

        That makes sense.My personal opinion is that for the purpose of this gun (4 shots of emergency concealed carry goodness) the gun doesn’t need to be comfortable to shoot. Adding extra material to a deep concealment gun for comforts sake just doesn’t make much sense to me with this type of pistol.

    • MySpin1776

      Jack…Right on! That was exactly my first thought when I saw these pics.

  • 2wheels

    Revolvers are pretty safe and easy to use too… I guess I just don’t see the point here, other than the designer just wanting to be different.

  • Commenter

    Wow, very crazy. I guess I could dig this as an ‘end times’ fantasy type weapon – nothing moves that isn’t covered, all used rounds easily recoverable for reloads, should last through a nuclear winter.

    The thing is, I get a bit tired of the conceal-ability angle on every new design coming down the pike these days, at least as the only option available. I’m thinking of the Boberg particularly, but even this weapon would hold more interest to me with a 5″ barrel and the ability to chamber .357 – something that could do more than just hide in a pocket. As others have said, offerings from Ruger, Chiappa, Smith, & other compact revolver makers (not to mention all the new semi-autos out there) already fit the personal protection bill better, so why not go for utility gun, or hunting hand gun, or … something?

  • sam

    So, good for 38 +p, not good for 9mm. That’s OK, building for warm but not hot cartridges is totally understandable. Still, not very impressive given the apparent size and basic/robust design.

    • MR

      The company’s called Signal 9, you’d think they could nut up and build a 9mm version. Then I might be tempted to get one for my 9mm collection. This is just an oddball, and there are plenty of those for much less than what they seem to be asking for this.

  • Southpaw89

    .32acp is semi-rimmed, why does it need moon clips?

    • Anon. E Maus

      Revolver extractors and revolver style extractors don’t always play ball with semi-rimmed rounds.
      You could load .32ACP in a .327 Federal revolver, and it’ll probably work, but extraction can get pretty iffy, you might end up having to poke out half of the empties with a stick.

  • DaveP.

    So exactly what does this do that a Smith 442 can’t do? Other than run out of ammo after the fourth shot, that is?

    • floppyscience

      It’s thinner and shorter (length-wise). That’s about it.

  • HM

    It’s a cool looking gun, but the $500 price tag kills it for me.

  • TOMD