March 28, 2023
So-called “pocket guns” can be mighty handy, and one that has recently crossed my desk is a cleverly designed single-action handgun made by Heritage Manufacturing of Bainbridge, Georgia. Called the Barkeep Boot, this downsized gun chambered for the .22 Long Rifle may be just the answer for pocket or purse. With its 1-inch barrel it checks in at under 2 pounds with an overall length of a curt 6.5 inches.
On this particular model, the round butt features a custom-engraved “snake” laminated grip; plain black or gray pearl grips are available as well. With this type of grip, I found it much easier to cock the gun because the hammer was in comfortable reach of the thumb.
The hammer is stainless, finished bright and serrated. The smooth trigger gave me a reading of four pounds on the nose, with hardly any take-up before the sear broke. The squared-off trigger guard makes a handy rest for a weak-hand shooting position if needed.
For a gun at this price ($205), it’s well-finished and well-built. While the frame is aluminum, the cylinder, barrel, knurled base pin and screws are carbon steel with a satin finish. Since this is a no-frills gun, don’t look for fancy sights. It has a gutter milled into the top frame, machined out to the barrel/frame juncture.
There is a swing-out loading gate on the right side that is easy to open and close. Pulling the hammer back to half-cock allows the cylinder to rotate for loading and unloading. The transfer bar is engaged by the safety lever on the left side when pushed upward. The safety lever is disengaged when in the rearmost and down position.
With such a short barrel, there is no room for an ejection rod, so Heritage supplies one in the form of a rod with a wooden handle. When you have fired off the six rounds, set the gun to the second notch, open the loading gate and push the spent cases out of the cylinder from the forward end.
Overall, I found the Heritage Barkeep Boot a great value. Rugged in appearance, it exhibited smooth operation throughout its cycles considering its moderate cost. The gun locked up tight every time, with the timing next to perfect and all without a ring around the cylinder periphery.
Heritage Manufacturing offers a full line of rimfire revolvers—almost 60 models—and I think the company knows what it’s doing. If you feel you would like something with a slightly longer barrel, the Barkeep is available with a two- or three-inch barrel complete with a front sight blade and a more traditional grip frame.