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Alaskan Survival Gun: M-4 American Derringer Review

by | Jul 26, 2023 | Firearms, Wilderness Survival | 0 comments

The Alaskan Survival Gun: M-4 American Derringer is a compact, robust firearm essential for dealing with Alaska’s unpredictable wilderness encounters.

So if you’ve ever thought of venturing into the formidable Alaskan wilderness, you know it demands serious preparation, and that includes selecting the right Alaskan survival gun.

Emphasizing its compact design, the M-4 American Derringer embodies the essence of swift self-defense, resonating with the entities of survival and efficiency in the harsh Alaskan environment. It also holds a reputation for being a hard-hitter in times of need. But is it the right survival gun for you?

In this article, we’ll help you understand if this gun can be your beacon of safety in the midst of the wild.

So whether you’re brimming with doubts or teeming with curiosity, read on!

M-4 American Derringer Alaskan survival gun.

In This Article

Alaskan Survival Gun: The M-4 American Deringer Specs

The .44 Magnum, an ammunition option for the M-4, combines power and precision, essential for any Alaskan survival gun.

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  • Caliber: .45 Colt/.410 / .45-70 Government

  • Capacity: 2 rounds

  • Barrel length: 4.1 inches

  • Overall length: 6 inches

  • Weight: 16.5 ounces

  • Frame: Stainless steel

  • Grip: Rosewood

  • Safety: Hammer block

In Alaska’s rugged wilderness, you need a reliable firearm, and the M-4 American Derringer offers an interesting choice.

You’ll appreciate the derringer’s portability and straightforward design when facing unpredictable conditions.

The compatibility with both .45 Colt and .410 shells enables you to adapt to various situations, whether hunting or self-defense.

However, there are limitations to look out for— the two-round capacity requires intuitive decision making, and the short barrel demands close-range encounters. Additionally, the recoil might catch you off guard at first.

Undoubtedly, the rare M-4 American Derringer isn’t for everyone, but if you’re seeking a simple and portable option for Alaskan adventures, this pocket pistol may become an invaluable tool in your arsenal.

M-4 American Derringer, Alaskan survival gun.

Pros and Cons of the M-4 American Derringer

The compact design of the M-4 makes it a favorable guide gun for navigating the Alaskan backcountry.


The compact size of the M-4 American Derringer enhances portability, a crucial feature for seamless navigation through Alaska’s vast terrains.

  • Portability: The M-4 American Derringer is compact and easy to carry, making it a great companion for your Alaskan excursions.

  • Versatility: Compatible with both .45 Colt and .410 shells, this gun gives you options for various situations.

  • Simplicity: No need to worry about jamming or complex mechanisms when you need a quick and reliable shot.

  • Durability: Built with solid materials, this Alaskan survival gun will withstand harsh Alaskan conditions.


Despite its convenience, the limited ammo capacity presents a significant firearm limitation in high-threat situations.

  • Limited capacity: With only two rounds, you’ll need to make your shots count.

  • Short range: The short 4-inch barrel length means you’ll have to be relatively close to your target.

  • Recoil: The powerful calibers in a small frame can result in significant recoil, taking some practice to manage.

  • Not for everyone: The unique design and limited capacity may not be suitable for those who prefer more traditional firearms.

Unfolding the M-4 American Derringer History

The rich history of the M-4 American Derringer, a firearm intertwined with Alaska’s rugged landscape and historical big-game hunting adventures offers a balance of power and portability. It is a fascinating piece of history, particularly for the United States.

Born in the 19th century, the original derringers were known for their compact size and two-shot capability, which gained popularity during the American Civil War.

Since its introduction, the M-4 has garnered attention for its concealable nature and the surprisingly potent firepower it brings to the table.

Over the years, the M-4 American Derringer has managed to carve a niche for itself. It has emerged as an essential survival tool, especially in the rugged terrain of Alaska.

Plus, it’s easy to carry, reliable in the wild, and packs a punch when you need it the most.

Alaskan Survival Gun: M-4 American Derringer Review

The M-4 American Derringer is a compact, powerful firearm, revered for its handy size and efficient operation. Reflecting the rugged resilience of Alaska’s famed grizzly bears, this petite powerhouse embodies a balance of convenience and capability. With these notable features in the spotlight, let’s look into this gun in detail:


The barrel design of the M-4 American Derringer is crafted for maximum accuracy and reliability in the harsh Alaskan environment. This gun provides you with the barrel length needed for small game hunting. It’s a masterclass in compact design, boasting a total length of just 4.1 inches.

Its double-barrelled design allows it to fire two shots consecutively. Plus, it features a stainless steel construction with impressive durability that can resist harsh weather conditions.


Just as the .45-70 Government cartridge is prized for power, the M-4 Derringer’s recommended ammo ensures maximum efficiency. 454 Casull ammunition is a viable option, ensuring the M-4 Derringer stands as a potent Alaskan survival gun against formidable wildlife.

The top barrel of the Alaskan Survival Derringer can chamber the powerful .45-70 Government, while the bottom barrel accepts .410 shot shells and the .45 Long Colt. It doesn’t shy away from delivering a powerful performance despite coming in a small package.

This caliber versatility gives you the flexibility of selecting the appropriate ammunition for their specific needs, ranging from hunting small game to self-defense against larger predators.

Its single action features a simplistic mechanism that reduces the risk of mechanical failure, allowing users to focus on their targets.

It also functions effectively as both a double and single-action weapon. This means rapid and accurate shots in high-pressure situations, keeping you safe in the wild.

Alaskan survival gun.

M-4 American Derringer Problems and Limitations

Every firearm has its setbacks; the M-4 Derringer’s issues can be juxtaposed with the challenges found in the Remington Model 870. The short barrel length and basic sight system of the M-4 American Derringer can potentially limit long-range accuracy.

Moreover, the two-shot capacity necessitates frequent reloading, which is not an ideal feature in rapidly evolving situations.

Another thing is its compact size — while it’s perfect for concealability and mobility, it might pose handling issues for those with larger hands.

Also, watch out for excessive recoil when handling the Rem Mag rounds in specific situations. This can challenge control and accuracy, especially in high-stress situations, and may cause discomfort or even injury if mishandled.

Always ensure proper grip and stance to manage this powerful recoil safely and efficiently.

Disassembly and Cleaning

Maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and function of your gun. Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to clean and maintain your Alaskan survival gun.

  1. To clean your Alaskan Survival Gun, the M-4 American Derringer, first make sure it’s unloaded.

  2. Gently push out the hinge pin. The barrels will now easily separate from the frame.

  3. Give the barrels and chambers a good scrub using a caliber-specific brush and solvent.

  4. Wipe clean and re-apply gun oil to prevent rust.

  5. Clean the frame with a toothbrush and some solvent, ensuring you remove any debris or buildup.

  6. Apply oil sparingly to maintain smooth function.

  7. Reassemble by aligning the barrels and frame, then inserting the hinge pin.

  8. Now your M-4 is ready for action, and you’re prepared for whatever Alaska throws at you!

M-4 American Derringer

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the price range for the M-4 American Derringer?

Expect to find the M-4 American Derringer in the ballpark of $500 to $800, depending on certain customizations and your location.

For the most accurate and current pricing, I recommend checking firearm retailer websites, online auction sites, or local gun stores.

Is the M-4 American Derringer suitable for self-defense?

Yes, it’s a potent choice for self-defense with its power and versatility in a compact package. However, it’s essential to note its limited ammunition capacity and range, meaning it’s most effective in close-range engagements.

Always remember, effective self-defense involves not just the weapon itself, but also understanding the tactical application and limitations of your chosen tool.

What is the difference between M-4 American Derringer and other derringer models?

The M-4 American Derringer-Alaskan Survival Gun stands out from other derringer models mainly due to its robust build and versatility of ammunition.

While many derringers are designed for smaller calibers, the Alaskan Survival Gun is chambered for both .45 Colt rounds and .410 shotshells, allowing it to deliver more substantial firepower.

Additionally, it uses stainless steel to ensure better resilience against harsh weather conditions, a characteristic that makes it particularly suited to the extreme environment of the Alaskan wilderness. 

Lastly, its specific design caters to outdoor survival situations with its cross-bolt safety, rebounding hammer, and easy-to-grip design — features that might not be as prominent or necessary in other derringer models.

How does the M-4 American Derringer compare to Bond Arms?

The M-4 American Derringer and Bond Arms derringers both have a reputation for quality and robustness, but they each bring unique features to the table.

Bond Arms is a renowned manufacturer known for producing high-quality derringers with interchangeable barrels, which allow users to switch between a wide variety of calibers.

This flexibility can be valuable for individuals who want a versatile firearm that can adapt to different situations or types of ammunition.

On the other hand, the M-4 All Derringer, while not offering interchangeable barrels, is chambered for both .45 Colt and .410 rounds. 

While Bond Arms derringers offer versatility and customization with their interchangeable barrels, the M-4 Derringer brings a focus on durability and firepower suitable for survival scenarios.

Your choice between the two would largely depend on your specific needs, whether it’s versatility or a focus on survival capability.

Photo of 2 M-4 Derringers.

M-4 American Derringer: Key Takeaways

When you find yourself in the Alaskan wilderness, the M-4 American Derringer is a reliable Alaskan survival gun companion.

Its compact size, potent power, and effortless portability all collaborate to provide a level of preparedness unmatched in the great outdoors.

In times of need, you’ll appreciate the simplicity and effectiveness of its break-action design, which ensures quick reloading. And it’s not limited to one caliber — it accepts multiple types, including .45 Colt and .410 bore shotgun shells.

So, when venturing into the great outdoors, trust the versatile M-4 American Derringer to have your back. After all, in the wild, your safety is paramount.

Bill Montgomery
Bill Montgomery


Bill Montgomery is the co-founder of Modern Day Prepping. He and his wife Angie have been dedicated to the self-reliant lifestyle since 2008. When he’s not working on the homestead, he enjoys tinkering with electronics and family movie nights with Angie and their two boys. To learn more about Bill, visit the About Us page.

If you want to know how to keep your family safe in the modern world, visit Privacy For Patriots, a sister site that Bill started to help fellow Patriots stay “off the radar” from bad actors and big tech.


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