Gun Review: Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck Double Barrel Revolver

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Dan Z for TTAG

Connecticut-based Standard Manufacturing made something of a splash with the announcement of their S333 Thunderstruck revolver. The pocket-size wheel gun packs eight rounds of .22 WMR ammunition and fires two round with each pull of the trigger. If you think that’s unusual, maybe you missed the introduction of their S333 Volleyfire six-round .25 ACP pepperbox a couple of years ago.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Dan Z for TTAG

Wait…two guns with the same S333 name? What gives?

First off, the Volleyfire didn’t really catch on and is no longer in production. But Standard stuck with the S333 name because it describes the intended use case of this guns…i.e. personal defense.

Standard apparently subscribes to the old maxim that 90% of defensive gun uses involve no more than three shots within three seconds at no more than three yards. Given the S333 eight-round capacity, that leaves you two more rounds still in the chamber(s).

So if you’re wondering why a company would make a revolver that fires two rounds with each trigger pull, Standard sells the S333 Thunderstruck on its ability to send eight rounds at your target with only four pulls of the trigger.

As for the Thunderstruck moniker, maybe they’re AC/DC fans.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Dan Z for TTAG

The S333 double action only revolver has enclosed hammers within an aluminum frame. The 4140 steel cylinder releases with a push of the button on the left side of the frame.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Dan Z for TTAG

The S333 features non-adjustable 3-dot sights that are painted red. I prefer white or dayglo yellow, but that’s me. And at the distances you’re likely to use the Thunderstruck, the sights probably won’t make much difference.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

The double barrel .22 WMR S333 Tunderstruck (Dan Z for TTAG)

The S333 Thunderstruck’s Unique Trigger

Besides the fact that the S333 launches two rounds of .22 magnum at a time, the other feature that stands out is the gun’s trigger. The S333 has a two-finger trigger shoe with a blade-style trigger safety on the top finger position.

You’ve probably also noticed that the pistol has an unusual trigger guard, one that doesn’t fully enclose the trigger. That may make you nervous about the trigger catching on something and unintentionally touching off a couple of rounds.

As Standard Mfg describes their trigger design . . .

The S333 is the safest self-protection firearm available due to its blade style safety on the trigger, which must be depressed before the trigger can be pulled. The travel of the trigger then actuates a transfer bar, which will only then allow the gun to fire. This will only occur with a complete pull of the trigger; no other revolver on the market has this type of safe and reliable system.

All of that is true. What they don’t mention, however, is that the S333 also has an extremely heavy trigger pull.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

The double barrel Thunderstruck has an overmolded polymer grip that’s very comfortable in the hand. (Dan Z for TTAG)

Those two finger indentations aren’t there for fun. While it’s theoretically possible to fire the gun using only one finger on the top trigger position (which would depress the blade safety), in practice, it isn’t possible. Try as I might, I don’t have the finger strength to pull the S333 trigger with only my index finger. Jeremy, who also shot the gun, is fully capable of firing it with only one finger, but just barely. And he makes funny faces and some wounded moose noises while doing it.

The S333 double action revolver’s trigger pull weight, according to Jeremy’s scale, is….23 pounds. You read that right. And that’s with the safety blade disengaged but all of the pull happening only on the bottom portion of the trigger — the part with the most leverage.

Hold on, though. While that sounds ridiculous, it works in practice. When using two fingers, the added leverage the second finger (your middle digit) provides is plenty to fully pull the trigger. With two digits it feels like a “conventionally” heavy 10-15 pounds of pull. Stout, but very doable.

In short, despite the open trigger guard, it’s virtually impossible to fire the S333 unintentionally. One finger on top just won’t do it. Pulling from just the bottom position doesn’t release the safety. You have to use both fingers and want to fire the gun.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

The top trigger safety blade combined with the S333’s pull weight mean unintentional discharges are extremely unlikely.

OK, but how does the trigger pull feel?

First and foremost, it’s long. And mushy. The S333 won’t win any awards for its trigger. But feel wasn’t Standard’s first priority in its trigger design. They wanted to make sure it was both safe and reliable.

In terms of safety, while the partial trigger guard may give some the willies, I don’t see how the S333 can possibly fire unintentionally (famous last words, I know).

As for reliability, the Thunderstruck went bang every time with each full pull of the trigger. That’s no mean feat when you’re dealing with rimfire ammunition. We shot it with ammo from Armscor, CCI and Hornady and didn’t have a single failure.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Note the dual firing pins in the S333 Thunderstruck.

As for follow-up shots, like getting to Carnegie Hall, you’ll want to practice, practice, practice. As I said, the S333 has a long trigger pull and you’ll have to release that double action trigger completely to reset it.

When first shooting the gun, I found myself short-stroking it…pulling the trigger for a follow-up shot before the revolver had been reset. That’s something I worked my way out of with practice. But in a tense, adrenaline-fueled situation, I can see a defender possibly doing the same thing. It’s something to keep in mind.

Shooting the S333

How accurate is this thing? Well . . .

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

The double barrel S333 Thunderstruck’s heavy trigger took some getting used to when shooting it for the first time. (Dan Z for TTAG)

At first, only OK. But like the trigger, the S333’s accuracy gets easier with repetition.

Our review sample shot high…four to six inches at 15 feet. That’s consistent with other reports I’ve read of the gun around the intertubes. Recoil isn’t bad at all….about what you’d expect shooting a .38 snubbie.

The heavy trigger pull, as you can see above, led me to pull my shots right at first. They’re still well within minute of bad guy, but . . .

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Eight rounds (four pulls of the trigger) at 15 feet. (Dan Z for TTAG)

Once you shoot the S333 more and make friends with that trigger, the little revolver becomes plenty accurate enough for personal protection purposes. And let’s face it, the Thunderstruck is intended as a personal defense weapon. You’re not likely to use it for anything beyond five yards.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

Dan Z for TTAG

Which brings us to the question of caliber. The keyboard commandos among TTAG’s commentariat are already limbering up their fingers to decry .22 WMR as wholly inadequate for personal defense purposes. That said, being hit with a .22 WMR is nothing to sneeze at and being hit with two of them at a time is even more attention-getting.

To be clear, you can carry other handguns (revolvers and semi-automatic pistols) that shoot .380 ACP, .38 Special, 9mm or .357 Magnum in the same size  as the S333. Most of those guns won’t, of course, hold eight rounds or shoot two of them with each trigger pull. Most of them will also be heavier and produce more recoil.

Whether the firepower advantages of sending eight rounds with four pulls fo the trigger is enough to outweigh other options on the market is up to the individual shooter. I’d certainly suggest shooting the gun before you buy one if possible.

There’s one more topic that’s been brought up about the S333 Thunderstruck (and the Volleyfire before it). That’s the gun’s legality. Some think that because it fires more than one round with each pull of the trigger, the S333 qualifies as a machine gun.

Standard Manufacturing has submitted the S333 to the ATF which has given the gun its blessing. I’m not an attorney and I don’t play one on TV, so I won’t try to deconstruct the ATF’s decision. If the S333 passes their test — and it has — that’s legal enough for me.

armscor ammunition

Specifications: Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck Revolver

Caliber: .22 WMR
Capacity: 8 rounds
Barrel material: 4140 steel
Cylinder material: 4140 steel
Frame material: 7075 aluminum
Action: Double-action only
Barrel length: 1.25 inches
Weight: 18 oz
MSRP: $429 (about $370 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish: * * * *
The Thunderstruck is nicely constructed with an aluminum frame with steel cylinder and barrel. All parts were nicely finished. Our review gun wasn’t new and it seems to have held up well to a number of rounds fired. The non-adjustable sights are what they are (I’d paint the sights a different color if it were mine).

Ergonomics: * * * 
With its comfortable overmolded polymer grip the S333 is comfortable in the hand. The trigger pull is heavy and the reset takes some getting used to.

Reliability: * * * * *
Perfect, which is saying something for a rimfire revolver that has as much going on as the S333.

Accuracy: * *
The gun shoots high. Not high enough at personal defense distances to be a problem, but high nonetheless. And accuracy is definitely affected by that heavy trigger pull, though that gets better with repetition.

Concealability * * * * *
The Thunderstruck’s small size and fairly light weight it a good concealed carry option. Compare it to a similarly-sized Smith & Wesson 642 which is exceptionally concealable, both on the waist or in the pocket (Standard Manufacturing offers a number of holsters for the gun).

Overall: * * *
The Thunderstruck does what it’s advertised to do. It puts eight rounds on target with four pulls of the trigger at self-defense distances and does it very reliably. As for the effectiveness of two .22 WMR rounds at a time, I have to believe that would deter most attackers. While the S333 certainly conceals well, the fact that the gun shoots consistently high with a heavy trigger means you’ll want to put in plenty of range time with it, something that should be a consideration when buying.

comments

  1. avatar Leslie says:

    I guess it gives a new meaning to the phrase “Double Tap”…

    1. avatar Joel says:

      That’s one ugly gun….

      I’m actually a fan of .22wmr for self defense as long as proper care is taken in ammo selection. And an 8 round revolver is cool too. Why the 22wmr LCR is only 6 rounds baffles me.

      1. avatar Leslie says:

        How thick is the Cylinder Walls between Chambers and what type or grade of metal alloys or steel is used in the construction of the cylinders…

  2. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    The two shots at a time thing is cool, two barrels, etc. Hmm maybe they should have called it 222. I think I would like it more without the strange two finger trigger and open triggerguard. They already had a unique firearm, I think they took it too far.

    I can’t imagine I would buy one for any purpose other than bizarre range plinker, I am content with my existing carry guns and don’t think this would offer me an advantage.

    Though count me in when they release the double barreled suppressor module!

  3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    .22 WMR is a potent round, and the thought of two of these firing at the same time is respectable. I’m not a fan of the trigger design, though. Why not a standard single trigger with an 8-lb pull and protective guard?

    Doesn’t matter for us Californians, tho. “Pepperbox” style guns are prohibited here (gee, was that a surprise?)

    1. avatar Leslie says:

      As of August 2018, the Std. Mfg. S333 is available in California. And at least 6 shops do carry them.
      1. Rocklin Armory
      2. Outdoor Sportsman
      3. Brian Nussbaum & Associates
      4. A&W Surplus & Supplies
      5. Second Amendment Sports
      6. Warrior One

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        I’ll have to verify this. Before I posted my comment above, I literally visited the CA DOJ website to view the current (as of Oct 2019) gun roster. Didn’t see this make/model listed, so assumed it’s not approved for sale.

        1. avatar Hankus says:

          “Not approved for sale”.

          That phrase sounds foreign. The People’s Republic of Kalifornya needs a wall around it.

    2. avatar TexTed says:

      .22 WMR is a potent round from a rifle, yes. From a 1″ barrel it wastes all its power making flash and noise, resulting in actual bullet speeds no better than 22lr from that same barrel.

      .22 Magnum in this gun was a stupid decision. It generates too much recoil, blinding flash, and deafens you, whereas if they’d made it .22LR it would be every bit as effective, quieter, and little to no recoil. And cheaper to operate too.

      Now, if this thing had a 2.5″ barrel, that would be a different story and .22WMR would start to show some advantages at that length or longer.

      1. avatar Leslie says:

        Should be spectacular with .22 tcm’s instead of the .22 wmr’s…

        1. avatar Kevin says:

          Yep, I thought about that, too. But I believe the cylinder would have to be way too big, since I think a .22 TCM is based on a .223 case.

      2. avatar TommyJay says:

        This. You can’t have higher pressures in a malleable rimfire casing, so the WMR adds slower burning powder to keep that modest pressure up as the bullet travels down a longer barrel.

  4. avatar James Campbell says:

    Sorry, calling BS on the manufacturers statment QUOTE; “The S333 is the safest self-protection firearm available due to its blade style safety on the trigger, which must be depressed before the trigger can be pulled.” END QUOTE.
    The Heckler & Koch P7 owns the the title of “safest self protection firearm available.
    A blade safety in the trigger (and heavy trigger) is HARDLY grounds for their “safest” claim.

  5. avatar Merle 0 says:

    In before the ATF classifies this as a machine gun.

    1. avatar James Campbell says:

      So true. More then 1 round per trigger pull. I’m surprised Arsenal has not been gigged for the double 45acp.

      1. avatar Leslie says:

        That would be one hell of a recoil, two .45acp fired at the same time…

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          The recoil isn’t bad at all. I reviewed one years ago. Unimpressive gun.

        2. avatar Leslie says:

          Can the Barrels be Threaded so a Kitbash barrel extensions as a twin carbine…

        3. avatar James Campbell says:

          I was interested in the Arsenal twin 45 until I actually held one and saw the price (YIKES).
          Purchased a MK XIX stainless/ported 50AE DEagle as a range toy and never looked back.

        4. avatar Leslie says:

          I use a .460 Rowland in my 1911A1. Makes for a great “Universal Translator”, that say’s it load and clear in any language…

  6. avatar Lost Down South says:

    1) Unless the blade safety needs resetting as well, I can think of at least 3 different non-permanent ways to by pass that for lower finger only operation.

    2) With all those pokey things sticking out, it’s not likely a pocket-carry piece. Their holsters look reasonable and are priced well too.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Somebody wants this. I don’t but choice is good. America😄

  8. avatar daveinwyo says:

    Thanks, but no thanks.
    I’ll stick with my “conventional” guns.
    Way too many hooky thingies. Mexican carry?
    I do agree that the .22 mag is potent. That’s why I have a NAA .22 mini mag standard.
    And I can carry it in a vest pocket, plus when the hammer is in the safety notch it won’t fire, even when dropped.
    I suppose some one could buy it as an interesting collectors item, as in, guns that never took off in sales. Who knows, 50 years from now it might be worth a thousand bucks.
    An answer for a question no one asked. Kinda like a folding glock.

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Agree with this, a curio stuck way back in the safe and brought out once every couple of years to say “Hey check this out.”

      Might be worth more in 20 years or more.

    2. avatar Anymouse says:

      It’ll be an episode of Forgotten Weapons in 3 years.

  9. avatar Oscar Cannington says:

    For under $400 It becomes a viable choice for some. Plenty of guys are carrying the NAA Mini revolver, which shoots ONLY ONE bullet at a time and has to be cocked for EACH SHOT!

    LOL

    1. avatar daveinwyo says:

      True, one for one and only 5.
      But;
      Doesn’t weigh 1/2 # or more.
      Fits ANYWHERE, just ask female prison guards.
      And doesn’t have a trigger pull rated in tons.
      So, again, no thanks. But I’m sure someone will buy it just for giggles.

    2. avatar DaveP says:

      Meh. Right now, you can buy a Smith Shield 9mm for $199 (plus s&h and tax) after rebate from PSA. Anybody wanna bet on 2x .22WMR four times vs 1x 9mm HST eight times?

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Gonna go browse PSA right now. Thanks for the tip.

  10. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I read something about this thing a while back in Guns or American Handgunner. The only two magazines worth reading anymore. I laughed then. The humor has worn off. It’s a novelty. Wait! Don’t let me disparage my favorite magazines. I may have read it in the American Rifleman. Whichever, it’s a stupid idea. It will soon disappear.

  11. avatar MyName says:

    But, why?

    1. avatar Leslie says:

      “Home Defense”!

      1. avatar MyName says:

        .22mag + .22mag = .44mag. I think I’ve solved the home defense equation.

        1. avatar Leslie says:

          I suspect that would depend upon the point of impact, close range or further out. The .22 tcm has a flatter trajectory…

        2. avatar MyName says:

          What if we are talking about self defense against a bear? In general, I’m gonna vote for bigger holes, trajectory correction is what sight adjustments are for.

        3. avatar Anymouse says:

          It’s kind if a solution to rimfire unreliability. If one side is a dud, the other side will probably fire. I’d rather trust my life to a centerfire.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      MyName, because it’s a stupid idea, or maybe you’re being facetious.

      1. avatar MyName says:

        I’m gonna go with the former.

  12. avatar OldProf49 says:

    This concept reminds me of the AMT 45acp BACKUP, the COP 357 magnum 4 barreled derringer, the LM4 Simmerling, various single and double action derringers, etc. Yes, I know they all look very different and these fire only one round per trigger pull (yank?). I’m referring to their single purpose designs that are intended ONLY for very close last ditch self defense. That’s great if the BGs cooperate. I’ll stick to something a little more general purpose, just in case I have to shoot at something (one) more than 10-12 feet away.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Old, those handguns are giving a peek at your birthday. Lol. Seriously, that’s what J frames are for. Choose your favorite.

      1. avatar LdProf49 says:

        Yes, I know. I never claimed to be young, even when I was. Interestingly, the Simmerling and the derringers are still in production, sort of. American Derringer owns the production rights to the LM4 and the former High Standard derringer, but I’ve never seen either one at a gun show or on Gun Broker, etc. Of all, I think the BACKUP was the most useful. I owned one in the late ‘70’s, early ‘80’s. The trigger pull was truly obnoxious (15+ lbs.) and the lack of sights disconcerting, but it did carry 6 rounds of 45 acp. I maintain old and/or quirky guns are fun. I wish I had the money to collect them.

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          They may be fun on the range, but they have no place on the street. At least in the hands of anyone who has a clue.

  13. avatar Southern Cross says:

    The Velo-Dog revolver for the 21st century.

  14. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I can see buying one as an investment. It might be worth something in 20 years.

    People always like weird stuff and it will be good for a laugh.

    Otherwise……no.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      You go ahead and buy one and in twenty years I’ll trade you two boxes of 12 ga #8 shotgun shells and a water pump from a late 70’s small block chevy for it.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        LMAO….its a roll of the dice.

        Better chance if it was made entirely of metal and was attractive.

        It looks kinda like the Leonad (?) guns but a little better quality……..a little.

        But guns like the Rogak bring top dollar even though they were dogs. They were made of metal though.

        Some jobber sold the last of the HK VP70s for $250 as I recall seeing in Shotgun News.

        That was half what a Beretta 92 was going for once the army adopted them.

        Wish I had bought 2.

        1. avatar SkorpionFan says:

          “sold the last of the HK VP70s for $250”
          Because who in the world would ever want the first polymer-framed, striker fired pistol? /sarc
          As a youngster, I was fascinated by the VP70M with the shoulder stock-holster, three-round burst capability, and 18-round magazine. I wish I had bought HK VP70Z (civilian, non-burst fire model) and P9S when they were available. When I was young and stupid(er?), I didn’t realize cool stuff would cease production or be banned and not available in the future.

  15. avatar Nanashi says:

    I think they’d get a lot more sales if they offered a 22lr cylinder for practice.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      I think they would get a lot more sales if it was 20 bucks.

      1. avatar Leslie says:

        Or buy Practice Ammunition at ~$11.00/box…

  16. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

    I’d love to have one, just for the cool factor.

    As a self-defense option…well, it probably wouldn’t be my first choice. I will say, though, I like this design a lot better than the original S333 pistol. That one was the pepperbox-style weapon chambered in .25 ACP. I don’t think it ever made it into production, but it was at SHOT show one year.

  17. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Everbodee need a twice barreled shoot gun. But, prolly betta in dozen gauge.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      Agreed, dozen gauge way much better in double shooter gun.

  18. avatar Ogre says:

    Saw one of these at a gun show last weekend. Strangest modern firearm I ever saw. Probably won’t get one, but thanks for the information about it.

  19. avatar StuckInIllinois says:

    Not for me, but kudos for thinking outside of the box. More Guns, more better.

    I’ll gladly have one of their single actions though.

  20. avatar Whoopie says:

    Needs name change from Thunderstruck to Dumbasfvck.

  21. “I’m not an attorney and I don’t play one on TV, so I won’t try to deconstruct the ATF’s decision.”

    It looks like they take advantage of the definition of “automatically” within the general definition of “machinegun” in 27 CFR § 479.11. It isn’t an autoloader and the two rounds are simultaneous; that makes it a volley gun rather than a machinegun.

    Until ATF FTB changes their alleged mind again.

  22. avatar Dani in WA says:

    “Standard Manufacturing has submitted the S333 to the ATF which has given the gun its blessing.”
    That just sounds funny to me.
    Weapons the ATF curses are infinitely more attractive.

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