Rohm RG-15 - Trash Not Tactical

Rohm RG-15 - Trash Not Tactical
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Rohm RG-15 - Trash Not Tactical

The RG-15 derringer was produced by the German manufacturer Röhm Gesellschaft, better known as RG, this small but noteworthy firearm captures the spirit of innovation and practicality with dubious quality and functionality. Established in the early 20th century, Röhm initially focused on precision tools before diversifying into the firearms industry, where it carved a niche for itself with affordable, practical handguns.

The RG-15 derringer!

Design and Specifications

The RG-15 derringer is a testament to simplicity and efficiency. Chambered in the versatile and widely accessible .22 Long Rifle (.22LR) caliber, it offers a balance of minimal recoil and effective close-range capability. The .22LR cartridge is renowned for its low cost, availability, and manageability, making it an ideal choice for casual shooting, small game hunting, and self-defense in the case of the RG-15.  Hey, .22LR is cheap, like this little derringer!

Featuring a compact, over-under barrel design, the RG-15 is a break-action derringer. This means that to load or unload the firearm, the user breaks open the action, tilting the barrels upward to access the chamber. This design is both traditional and practical, harking back to the original derringers of the 19th century while allowing for ease of use and concealability.

The construction of the RG-15 is utilitarian, with an alloy metal frame and simple grips, often made from wood or plastic. Its small size and lightweight design make it easy to conceal, a key attribute for a personal defense weapon. Despite its simplicity, the RG-15 requires careful handling and familiarity with its operation, as its minimalistic sights and short barrel length demand close-range accuracy.

My example came to me through a GunBroker.com auction for a measly $48.89! It was advertised as missing the striker and having locked-up action—and locked-up it was! Luckily, the frozen action resulted from the mainspring assembly being installed upside down, an easy fix. The missing striker and its associated spring proved to be a harder fix, as there isn’t much in replacement parts for these. However, I was luckily able to score a parts kit gun for a gun marked as manufactured by the “Derringer Co.” that had compatible parts. I darkened my worn finish by applying Alumablack to the allow metals and cold bluing to the steel arts.

This is the Rohm RG-15, as I received it from GunBroker.com, with a locked-up action and missing parts.

I feel I was lucky to score this parts kit for the RG-15!

The operation of the RG-15 is, as best as I can describe it, sketchy. Loading requires the hammer to be set to the half-cocked position for safety reasons. People have experienced unintentional discharges while loading RG-15 derringers as the striker rests fully engaged. Thus, when you close the chamber with the hammer down, the striker can impact the rim of the cartridges, causing ignition.

There is a star-shaped cam in the action that cams the striker between chambers every time the hammer is cocked, enabling the barrels to be fired one at a time and to be switched every time the gun is thumb-cocked. The RG-15 has a reputation for firing both barrels at the same time, however.  

At the time of writing this, I haven’t fired my example, but I am happy to have one in my possession, just for the novelty of having a cheap-o, “Saturday Night Special” derringer in my collection of cast-off firearms.

The two-shot RG-15 derringer is a little gun!

Conclusion

The Rohm RG-15 derringer in .22LR is a notable example of Röhm Gesellschaft's contribution to the firearm industry. Its compact design, affordability, and the choice of a manageable caliber make it a fascinating subject of study and collection. While no longer in production, the RG-15 remains a symbol of the niche derringer market, offering insight into the evolution of personal defense firearms. Will I be tossing this noisy little cricket in my pocket for self-defense scenarios?  Hell no! But I do intend to have some fun with it at the range.

Trash, Not Tactical! The Rohm RG 15 Derringer
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