The Bond Arms Cyclops “Thumper” in .50 AE: A Short Review

“Made in Texas by Texans”, that’s the motto at Bond Arms Inc. The company is widely known for its stout derringers, and rightfully so. They will soon be known for their modern-designed lever-action rifle (LVRB) as well, but that’s a story for another day. Their derringers are chambered in cartridges from 22 Long Rifle to .45-70 Government, and about every common pistol cartridge in between. Bond Arms turns out the handy pocket guns by the bushel. Now everyone knows things are bigger in Texas, where ranches are measured in sections (a section is a square mile). Rattlesnakes grow to the size of fence posts, and on a clear day, you can see into the next zip code. It only stands to reason, with a reputation like that to uphold, this proud Texas-based company would not rest with the release of the Cyclops in the powerful .45-70 Government.

History and Background

Founded in 1995, Bond Arms modernized the derringer-style handgun with the addition of trigger guards, cross-bolt safeties, retracting firing pins, and rebounding hammers. Today, they are the largest manufacturer of derringer-style handguns in the firearms industry. The innovative company does not allow itself to simply make a few models, turn a profit, and call it “good enough.” Instead, they are continuously coming up with new models and editions to keep the interest of the firearms world and give the public multiple options to fill their shooting needs.

The 50 AE was originally developed for the big Desert Eagle semi-auto pistols in the 80’s. Does anyone else hear “Choctaw Bingo” playing in the background when you read the words “Desert Eagle”, or is it just me? Anyhow, generally speaking, we’re talking about a 325-grain bullet sailing along at 1400 fps. It’s a powerful round, no doubt.

Getting Handsy

Strolling up to the Bond Arms booth at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, I was intrigued, but after last year’s .45-70 debut, I was not really surprised to see the new Cyclops “Thumper” in 50 Action Express (AE). A half-inch hole in any barrel is an impressive site, especially in a derringer-style handgun!

Joey with Bond Arms firing the Thumper 50 AE one-handed. The round is powerful, but manageable.
Joey with Bond Arms firing the Thumper 50 AE one-handed. The round is powerful but manageable.

While visiting with Gordon Bond and Joey Hedberg, Joey asked if I’d be interested in being one of the first writers to shoot the Thumper. Of course I would!

Joey detoured off the interstate and down into the Big Bend area of far west Texas on his way home to Granbury, Texas from Nevada and brought with him a bag full (literally!) of Bond Arms guns to shoot, with the 50 AE Thumper being high on the priority list. The Cyclops Thumper has a stainless-steel barrel length of 4.25 inches, extended stainless grip size, and B6 Resin grips. The extended grip size chosen for this gun is important, as it allows for a firm grip and good control of the small gun with potent cartridges like the 50 AE.  The overall length is 6.75 inches. The trigger pull is listed as 7 pounds, which sounds heavy, but the trigger breaks crisp and really feels lighter. The Thumper has a fixed sight, and the accuracy of these small guns at realistic ranges will surprise some folks. They will shoot!

The Cyclops Thumper Satin Package is also available.
The Cyclops Thumper Satin Package is also available.

Parting Shots

Is a single-shot derringer-style handgun in 50 AE a sales gimmick? Absolutely! But it is a functional novelty that was inspired by the devoted following of shooters Bond Arms has earned over the years. The consumers kept asking for the big-bore pocket guns, and Gordon and his team wisely listened. Now, the hardest part is keeping up with the demand! In truth, the 50 AE Cyclops Thumper is not all that unpleasant to shoot. I’m not sure I could really tell the difference between the 50 AE and the standard “for use in all rifles” .45-70 loads I fired in the Cyclops.

I am not going to find the hottest loads on the market to run in these small guns. I want to enjoy shooting, not torture myself. Obviously, a firm grip is required, but the gun is quite manageable. Shooters need to use common sense when firing guns of this size and caliber. I suggest keeping with lower velocity rounds for more enjoyable shooting.  If you’re looking to have the largest pocket pistol on the block, look no further than the Bond Arms Cyclops Thumper in 50 AE.

Shane Jahn is a freelance writer whose firearms interests encompass revolvers, lever actions, Ruger No. 1s, and traditional rifles. He is an avid outdoorsman and hunter and enjoys taking these types of guns to the field. He is a former firearms instructor and has been a lawman on the U.S./Mexico border for over twenty years.

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