The Derringer by Praxis Mods is one the most popular, most sought-after, and most influential pieces of vape gear to come out in the last year. In my opinion it’s the short-profile RDA that started the whole short-profile RDA craze.
When the Derringer was released (at the end of 2014), it shot out of the gates with incredibly positive reviews and fanfare—and, with respect to the Rogue atty by Cap-it-All (probably the first of these types of RDAs), Praxis Vapors started a trend in the market that doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit. Based on an uber-simple design, the Derringer showed that vape hardware needn’t be too complex to get the job done well!
A small, plain ol’ cardboard box to house the Derringer and replacement parts. I am not much for packaging, or rather it doesn’t make much difference to me, but I am a little surprised at how generic and plain it is. I expected at least some pizazz considering how marketing-minded Praxis Vapors is.
The Derringer is machined really well and came out of the box clean as a new penny—which, by the way, the Derringer is not much taller than. No machine oil, no burs and ready to take a build and be vaped (although I always do clean my RDAs first).
Some of the tolerances are a little too loose for my liking. The airflow-settings ring sits on top of the base and under the top cap. The airflow-settings ring fits the base with a nice snugness, but it’s the top cap itself that is just a wee bit too loose. I get why it’s like that as it makes adjusting the airflow really easy, but it can come off altogether with little effort.
Nothing new, innovative or special here aside from the negative posts being milled into the deck (but that’s becoming more common). It’s really just a three-post deck. A tried-and-true deck. Not my favorite, but I can work with it and have no problems with its usability.
Note: In this new version (v1.2) the three-post deck is all stainless (gone are the gold-plated positive posts) and the post holes are now slots. I prefer slots.
It’s as easy as any other three-post deck. But as I said before, the Derringer now has slots instead of holes for your wires to be trapped. Because of this, your trapped wires can be angled toward the center (of center-post builds) much easier than if the slots were instead holes.
The slots are a decent size and you can fit thick gauge wires in them. I have not tried Claptons, but I‘ve seen dual-coil Clapton builds on this RDA. What more could you ask for?
Also, because the posts use hex screws, the trapped wires have a good, solid connection and you won’t have to worry about them backing out (unscrewing) and causing you problems with unstable ohms.
As tiny as this little RDA is, it holds a decent amount of liquid. But note: don’t expect too much leeway here in the drip department! If you over drip, liquid will leak out of the air holes. I’ve seen juice wells about this size on RDAs that weren’t this short, so I am fine with the lack of overall depth to the juice well. After all, we’re talking about an RDA here.
This (along with the form factor) is where the Derringer got its fame. Due to its incredibly reduced chamber, the Derringer produces a flavor that is really nothing short of spectacular! The vapor doesn’t collect in the chamber (since there really isn’t one), it just gets inhaled. It’s a straight shot! There is no magic here, but boy does it ever work well.
The vapor that the Derringer is capable of producing is amazing when you look at the size of the atty. Of course we all know that the size of the atty has nothing to do with the vapor production, but rather the airflow and the coil configuration; still, it produces great vapor if you build for it and you have your airflow set for it.
A side effect of the super short design of this atty is you will likely get spit-back. And if you build with an uber-low resistance, that spit-back will be hot! I use a special top cap by SLVRBCK Designs called the Mini Gun. It changes the look of the Derringer and is designed to alleviate spit-back. It works.
One of my issues with the Derringer is its heat retention. This thing gets HOT! This would be a good atty to consider using a delrin tip. If you take issue with atties that get hot, you can either build your resistance higher, user thinner gauge wire or use it in single coil mode with a higher resistance. Either which way, it will still get hot, just not as incredibly hot as with a dual-coil low-ohm build.
The Derringer has three sets of three air holes. Measuring about 1.9 mm (or just under), the airflow on the derringer is not massive, but it is plenty! Plus, seeing as there are three sets, the Derringer (unlike a lot of the competition) is set up for making single-coil builds. In my opinion that is a huge plus!
In the specs you can see that Praxis Vapors states the airflow creates a “Vortex” because the holes are “drilled at an angle.” I am not educated in aerodynamics, so take this with a grain of salt: its airflow. Don’t expect any swirling action for the feel of the draw. It’s air. Nothing more. Nothing less. It feels and works like most RDAs no matter how the airflow is set up. Maybe one day we will have some real advances in airflow design, but this ain’t it.
I enjoy the airflow controller being the actual top cap and not a ring on the outside. It’s easy to use (though I keep mine wide open).
As I mentioned in the Machining/Tolerances section, the top cap is the airflow controller and I think the overall tolerance/fit is too lose. It’s a great fit for that actual airflow controller aspect (the fit of it turning around the airflow-settings ring), but acting as a top cap is too lose for my liking.
For as simple as this atty is, it sure looks good! The engraving on the top cap is perfect and the overall design is clean, crisp, minimal and modern. Praxis Vapors may not have known exactly how wildly successful this atty would be, but it set the industry on fire with its design!
At the time it of its release, it was the shortest 22 mm RDA to have been made. It’s since been out-shorted; after the Derringer’s release, many atty manufacturers decided they wanted to make one just like it. If Picasso was correct when he said “good artists copy and great artists steal,” there are some amazingly great artists out there who design atties! Hell, even the Derringer could be viewed as taking all the credit—the Rogue atty from Cap-it-All came out around the same time and was a short-profile RDA (though not as short as the Derringer). But the reception for the Rogue was tepid at best and trends tend to follow success.
If there was any atty from the last year that was a must-try, it would be the Derringer. Plain and simple. And even though short-profile atties are all the rage right now and not as unique as they once were, the Derringer’s appeal still stands.