When you hear “black powder muzzleloader derringer” you most likely think about the original single barrel Philadelphia Deringer and definitely not about anything with a modern appearance. But the Czech company called Czechgun has developed a gun that is not your great-great-great-grandfather’s derringer. Gladiator 500 HD is a black powder muzzleloading .50 caliber smoothbore derringer that looks like a modern pocket handgun.
Jiri Sejna, the designer of this firearm, has been working on this design for several years. The first .45 caliber gun was introduced a couple of years ago. And for 2019, the company released the .50 caliber version of the gun.
These derringers are actually marketed as defensive guns. You are probably asking who in the world thinks that making a muzzleloading derringer for self-defense is a good idea? Well, to my knowledge, black powder muzzleloaders are less regulated in many European countries and probably for many people these guns can be the only concealable option that actually shoots bullets (not BBs or irritant). I guess this is where we can say any gun is better than no gun.
The Gladiator 500 HD derringer is loaded by pivoting the barrel block open, pouring the black powder charge down the bores, ramming the projectiles in and capping the nipples – just like any other muzzleloader.
The Gladiator HD has a DAO (double action only) trigger. The frame is machined out of 7075 T6 aluminum and has a black anodized finish. The barrel block is made of steel and has a black nitrided surface. The firing pins are spring loaded which along with the DAO trigger are safety measures allowing to relatively safely carry the loaded derringer.
The dimensions of the Gladiator derringer are as follows: length – 154mm (6″), height – 108mm (4.25″), width – 20mm (.787″). Apparently, that’s the width of the frame/barrel block because the width at the grips is 29mm (1.14″). The unloaded weight of this derringer is 622 grams (22 oz). The length of the barrel block is 84mm (3.3″).
The price of the basic version of Gladiator HD derringer in the Czech Republic is 14,390 CZK which is about $640.
Images from www.czechguns.com