As a primary self defense gun, not a good idea. Limited to 2 shots in most cases, clumsy to reload, not accurate, larger calibers have very hard recoil, limited range and poor performance because they dump thier energy out of the short barrels. Good advise from robocop and deerhuntguy.
Having said all that, I have always owned a derringer, and sometimes carry one as a back-up. They can be fun to shoot and are better than nothing, but never as a primary firearm. Get a good light weight, hammerless .38 cal. snubby.
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