Retro Vaping: Praxis Derringer RDA
These Retro Vaping blog posts have inspired me to look through several dusty boxes of assorted hardware for the first time in years. This time around, we’re taking a look at the Praxis Derringer RDA.
This is another 2015 release and it’s also something I remember fondly, since it was the first “expensive” bit of vape gear that I purchased. As I mentioned in my post about the Goblin Mini, around this time I was only interested in vaping very small setups, so when I saw pictures of the Derringer, I knew I had to have one.
To this day, it’s one of the smallest RDAs ever released and in 2015, an RDA of this size was basically unheard of. After giving the device a good clean, it’s clear that the machining and finishing hold up to 2020 standards. This is a three-piece RDA, a design that was fairly common a few years back. This means there’s a deck, inner barrel and top cap to contend with. Such designs have all but disappeared in modern RDAs but this approach does confer some advantages, which I’ll cover shortly.
The deck itself has a respectable amount of capacity, both for coils and e-liquid, considering the fact that it’s a dual coil 22mm atomiser. The three post design is very simple and due to the small shared post hole in the centre, it can only accommodate round wire builds.
Truth be told, I can’t remember what build I settled on back when this was in regular use. At the time, I was very new to coil building and enjoyed the novelty of tinkering with different gauges of wire, number of wraps and diameters.
Looking at it today, I think a 24g dual coil build is most suitable, though. With this in mind, I built the Derringer with a 2.5mm, 6-wrap 24g dual coil Kanthal build, which comes out to 0.25Ohms. This is certainly lower than I ever would have gone in 2015, though with a reliable regulated mod, that’s a non-issue.
At 45W, with three airflow inlets wide open, this RDA produces a flavourful, albeit rather noisy vape, with a very slight restriction to the airflow. This is where the three-piece design comes in. By moving the inner barrel, so that two inlets hit the centre of each coil, you can then cut the airflow down to two slots on each side, without compromising on the direction of air.
Reducing the airflow in this way creates a less noisy draw, with a more noticeable restriction. Flavour is absolutely fantastic too, but it doesn’t quite compete with modern single coil atomisers, such as the Haku Venna. Another thing to note is that with a dual coil build, this atomiser gets hot, fast. After 6 vapes at 45W, I found the cap to be slightly hotter than is comfortable to use.
Looking back on this RDA is funny because at the time, it was the best flavour experience I could get from vaping, far outperforming anything else I owned, or knew of on the market. It still performs well but unfortunately, I don’t see myself going back to the Derringer regularly.
Firstly, that three-piece design causes noticeable build-up of condensation, which results in e-liquid seeping on to the mod after sustained use. Along with this, the hot top cap, lack of squonk compatibility, and small centre post hole puts hard limits on versatility. If I’m not mistaken, aftermarket accessories were sold for this atomiser, which would have solved some of these issues, but I was never able to get my hands on them.
In summary, the Derringer is flawed by modern standards but it can still produce a fantastic vape, when set up properly. I will give it credit for being the RDA that made me realise how much better flavour could get in vaping, though.