SHOT Show 2019 – New and peculiar, the Standard Manufacturing S333 Volleyfire double-action only revolver features two barrels that fire contemporarily and can discharge eight rounds of .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire ammunition in three seconds
In terms of handguns for concealed carry and personal defense, perhaps one of the most unique new products seen at SHOT Show was displayed by Standard Manufacturing Co., LLC. – the New Britain (CT) based gunmaker known mostly for their futuristic DP-12 double-barrel sequentially-fired bull-pup pump-action shotgun first released in 2015 and since then turned into a popular culture icon.
It seemed just normal from them to introduce another double-barrel multi-shot firearm, this time a revolver: the Standard Manufacturing S333 Volleyfire.
A prototype pistol bearing the same name was showcased in prototype form by the same Company last year at SHOT Show; it was essentially a "Pepperbox" style six-barrel pistol using a break-open design and a set of rotating firing pins, it fired two barrels at the time, discharging two rounds of .25 ACP ammunition at the same time.
That design seems to have been superseded, as the S333 Volleyfire introduced at the 2019 SHOT Show is a double-action-only revolver built around a black hard-anodized, 7075 lightweight aluminum alloy frame, sporting two twin 1.¼" (3,17cm) barrels and a high strenght cylinder holding eight rounds of .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire ammunition.
Being a double-action revolver, the S333 Volleyfire features a peculiar long trigger with two finger grooves – meant to be pulled with both the index and middle finger at the same time – and an integral articulated safety that requires a deliberate and full pull before the transfer bar will clear from the firing pins and hammers.
Once the trigger is fully depressed, the Standard Manufacturing S333 Volleyfire revolver discharges both barrels firing two rounds at once. The entire eight-shots cylinder can be emptied with four trigger pulls in about three seconds.
While the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire may seem somewhat lackluster, it does pack a good punch, particularly if delivered in pairs and at a very short range; hence why the Standard Manufacturing S333 Volleyfire revolver may actually turn out to be a viable personal defense firearm.
With self-defense engagements occurring generally at distances of mere feet – very rarely yards – even just one or two pulls of the trigger on this odd and yet well-thought revolver may be enough to stop an attacker.
Volley guns are by no means a recent invention. Since muzzle loading times there are several examples of “volley guns” meant to shoot more than one barrel at each trigger pull, either to increase lethality of small caliber bullets or to spread more bullets in an arc.
Some muzzleloading pistols, for example, had several barrels splayed “duck feet” style so as to spread their fire on an arc, being meant to allow a single gentleman to defend himself against multiple assaulters, or to allow officers to engage multiple enemies.
Others had parallel barrels to increase lethality, the ratio being that multiple small caliber bullets were more lethal than a single, large caliber one.
But volley firing guns, although rare, weren’t limited to muzzleloading guns.
There are examples, like the obscure spanish “Concabicatoji” revolver, that shot three rounds at the same time.
The same did the italian Ludovici revolver, which never went beyond prototype stage, and that fired 3 .22 caliber chambers on a single trigger pull.
One of the main drawbacks was that since the force of the mainspring had to be distributed on multiple primers, the spring had to be extraordinarily strong, which meant a very heavy trigger pull. This problem remains the same as of today.
Other multibarrelled guns, such as the Lefecahux 20 shots pinfire revolver or the HDH Revolver (from the designer firm name, Henrion, Dassy & Heuschen, produced by the belgian Fabrique d’Armes et Cycles de Saint Etienne) did not fire both barrel at the same times: the arrangement was instead meant to allow the staggered chambers of a two row cylinder to be fired one at a time, aligning first the upper chamber to the upper barrel, then the lower chamber to the lower barrel.
That the complexity, heavy trigger pull and low practical shot capacity of such guns are indeed offset by increased lethality, compared to a larger caliber gun firing a single shot per trigger pull, is probably even more debatable today than it was at the time of those complex and exotic weapons, given the availability of high capacity, magnum caliber revolvers with 7 or even 8 .357 Magnum shots cylinders…