This is not a review of the Standard Arms S333 Thunderstruck; I haven’t so much as seen one in person. Yes, I’ll be talking about this, uh, let’s call it innovative little gun, but this is mostly about a different concept for the role, and why Tinker Should Not Be Left Unsupervised.
Aside from the ‘coming soon to a science fiction movie near you’ looks this gun is odd, innovative and maybe even a little bit cool. It’s designed around the old civilian self-defense saw, ‘Three seconds, three shots, three yards,’ thus the name. This is a very focussed self-defense piece. It’s designed to put four, not three, rounds on target very quickly at three yards. It does this by being weirder than it looks in the picture above.
It’s double-barrelled, and fires two rounds of .22 Magnum per trigger pull. No, it is not a ‘machine gun’ according to the BATFmen, so don’t even go there. Yes, it doesn’t have a proper trigger-guard, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem because of the design. You cannot easily pull the trigger by accident because of the Glock-style trigger safety on the upper part of the trigger, and the exceptionally heavy double-action only trigger pull. Some reviewers have estimated that pull at 16+ lbs., but with two fingers on the trigger everyone seems to be finding it manageable. Smooth even. The gun even seems to be reasonably accurate at three yards and not hopeless at five, but that’s about the practical limit.
A lot of innovative thinking went into this gun. It’s not just ‘out of the box,’ I’m not sure Standard Manufacturing’s engineers were aware there was a box. And Standard Manufacturing has been around the block a time or two; Google them and you’ll see what I mean.
At an MSRP of $369 this gun is in the right ballpark for a small defensive revolver. You can find more information here- http://tdgun.com/s333/
Having never seen one in person or handled one several things occur to me. First is that Standard Manufacturing has been around for a while, and they make some genuinely premium-quality products. You can question the concept, but the quality is liable to be first-rate.
The second thing that occurs is that it appears to be about the size of a J-frame .38. Yes, it fires eight shots instead of five- but it’s effectively a four-shot. Pull the trigger four times and it’s empty. Not sure I’m keen on that, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. Also if I am carrying a .22 I’d like it to be significantly smaller than a J-frame.
Are two shots of .22 Magnum more effective than a Federal 130gr. HST Micro? I don’t know. I doubt that they are notably less effective as long as the shooter does their part.
The last concern may be spurious and entirely personal. I can quickly and reliably put hits on target as far away as twenty-five yards with a DOA J-Frame. By all accounts that’s not going to happen with the S333. I know, the likelihood I would ever need to shoot a target more than five yards away in a self-defense scenario are infinitesimal. It’s probably silly, but I like the idea that at need I could.
I have to admit, the novelty and reasonable price are tempting. I like oddball guns. But I am pretty sure after the novelty wore off I’d be right back to my usual carry guns, so I might as well save myself some money.
I buggered up my back the other day fixing the fence, so I have been on my arse all day today. I’m not good at that, and I got to thinking about compact-carry revolvers. I don’t know if the S333 is a ‘better mousetrap,’ but there might be one out there. After I got bored enough I grabbed some paper and a pencil and started sketching. Here’s what I came up with:
I’ll spare you all the pages of messy pencil sketches. The concept here is a last-ditch or back-up revolver. I designed it around .22 Magnum, but it could chamber .22LR just as easily. There’s room for .32 ACP but I am not sure that the mechanism is robust enough. In size it’s between an NAA micro-revolver like the Pug and a J-frame S&W. It’s DAO and has a 1-3/8″ barrel, though that would be the easiest thing to change. It has an Ergo-style sub-compact grip, but again that would be easy to change.
It uses a sliding trigger, and three of the five moving parts on the gun are part of that trigger-unit. The sliding bar actuates the top-hinged concealed hammer, and fires the round. The barrel is located at 6-o’clock like a Chiappa Rhino. This is less for recoil-management- it’s a .22- and more because it allows the use of the simple, compact mechanism.
To load you pull the latch located in front of the cylinder forward and tip the barrel and cylinder up. As conceived there is no ejector; the philosophy of use doesn’t demand the ability to reload in a hurry. Fitting an auto-ejector is possible, but it would increase the expense of making it by a lot.
For sights I’d put a fiber-optic front and a U-notch rear. The sights are deliberately close together; having both sights in the same focal-plane makes up for the short sight radius in my experience.
Does such a gun fill a legitimate nitch? Sure. Does it fill it better than guns that are already on the market? Doubtful. Was I less bored this afternoon? Absolutely.
Some of you are probably wondering if I am planning on making one. Nope. While the design presents no novel challenges to a good machinist (I’m not) with a modern, fully-equipped shop (which I don’t have) it’s beyond what I can produce in my knife-making shop. It was, and it remains, a way to pass the tedious hours of forced inactivity. A mental exercise if you will.
On the other hand if you know someone with the resources and a burning desire to build a novel gun of dubious utility that does too little and costs too much, by all means send them my way!
Michael Tinker Pearce, 27 September 2019