Quick Draw Sleeve

Pistol pens and pistol pencils have been made in considerable numbers. Figure 169 illustrates a group of five. Each has a clip designed to hold the pistol upright in a pocket. Each is about 5" long and fires a cartridge which to be loaded requires unscrewing the barrel. The barrels range from 5/8" to 31/2" in length. Most guns of this type shoot .22's, but some have barrels that will chamber much heavier cartridges. These latter guns are in general intended only for gas cartridges. All are unmarked.

The heavy all metal pistol at the top of the group is of early construction. It is cocked by pulling the knob at the end straight back, and fired by pressing down the long trigger clip.

Early Guns Firing Igniting Touch Hole

The second has the firing mechanism most commonly found on such pistols. The gun is cocked by pulling the striker back against spring pressure and slipping its button end sideways into a slot. It is fired by moving the button out of the slot.

The middle piece has a button trigger that moves out when the striker is pulled back. A slight pressure on the button will then fire the gun.

The fourth down looks like a modern plastic fountain pen. This is the best disguised of the lot. It is cocked by pulling back the metal top of the plastic cap and fired by pressure on a very small button in the cap.

These four pieces all fire from the end at the right in the illustration. None of the four actually incorporates either a pen or pencil.

The piece at the bottom has the muzzle at the left and an actual pencil at the right end.

The idea of attaching a pistol to a belt appealed to many inventors. Usually the belts were worn around the waist but sometimes they were held high on the chest. In some a short pistol barrel could be seen sticking out; in others the barrel was quite concealed. The most favored method of firing these contraptions was by pulling a string that ran up the sleeve, through the arm hole and down to the trigger.

How the percussion cap belt pistol, figures 170 and 171, operates may be seen at a glance. The oval iron plate is about 7" long, and the pistol barrel protrudes about 1 %2". In this gun the cord runs from the lock through a channel in the belt for a foot or more, before being carried up to the shoulder and down through a coat sleeve. A man ordered to put up his hands can grasp the weight and tighten the string as he raises his arms. A belt pistol such as this had no appeal as a work of art and it was unlikely to be treasured because of its history or associations. Once obsolete it was neglected, then discarded, soon it was rotted leather and scrap metal. Now this belt pistol is a scarce collector item.

The collector item shown in figures 172 and 173, though it is very modern, couldn't be scarcer. It is a German Nazi belt buckle pistol. Apparently several one-of-a-kind experimental models were made but only one example was made of the model intended for regular production. That particular piece, which bears serial # 1 is the one pictured here.

167. Pipe pistol/ Dr. W. R. Funderburg collection.

167. Pipe pistol/ Dr. W. R. Funderburg collection.

168. Pipe pistol/ Eddie Reider collection.
Pipe Pistol
169. Group of pen and pencil pistols/ Eddie Reider collection.
Western Fast Draw Gun Belt
170. and 171. Belt pistol/ C. Stanley Jacob collection.
Pinfire Shotshell Box

172. and 173. Belt buckle pistol/ Governor Gordon Persons collection.

It is about 2" x 4" and shoots cartridges similar to our .32 ACP cartridges. Normally the barrel group is folded down and concealed under the swastika and eagle ornamental cover. Putting this deadly four-shot battery in action may be done before the surprised victim can move. Two outside levers are squeezed simultaneously, thus releasing the barrels which force open the cover. Instantly the barrels are locked in place and ready to be fired by trigger pressure. The gun is not automatic. The shots may be fired one at a time at will, or the four triggers may be manipulated to fire two, three or all four shots together. Of the unblest guns that come sneakingly to kill this is probably the most efficient.

To the uninitiated, a gun collector's pulling a pepperbox from a bicycle handle bar is just as surprising as a magician's producing a rabbit from a boy's pocket. Handle bar pepperboxes were made in France and Belgium. They were probably all sixshot, double-action, using pin-fire cartridges of very small caliber, and were sold in pairs. Such a pair is illustrated in figures 174 and 175. The pepperbox shown detached was removed from the handle bar by a quick pull which left the rest of the handle bar grip an empty shell. The cylinder pin has a split end, and when compressed on being pushed back in place, will hold the two parts of the device together by friction. Some of these oddities had the two parts of each grip shaped alike, with straight ends, thus giving a better disguise.

In the previous chapter a Day's patent cane was described. Mr. Day made a number of all-metal truncheons, employing the same firing mechanisms used in the canes. There is no evidence Mr. Day had any success whatever in getting these truncheons approved for use by the London police. The example shown in figure 176 is a particularly desirable collector's specimen, being finely gilded and in a case with an extra barrel and a special powder flask. The illustration shows the gun having a short barrel screwed in place, and with a longer barrel of blunderbuss type in a separate compartment. A space for caps is provided in the sinister bird's-head grip. Of course, when used as a club, this piece has not the disadvantage of a lead pipe, which may bend on a tough skull.

Double Action Pepperbox Mechanism

There was also mentioned in the previous chapter a pepperbox fitted in a cane. Illustration 177 shows a pepperbox fitted in an umbrella. Except that this fires pin-fire instead of rim-fire cartridges, and that it bears French markings, it is just like the cane pepperbox, but scarcer.

An early Spanish key pistol is shown in figure 178. The illustration is reprinted by permission from the forthcoming Corpus and History o f Hand Firearms by Thomas T. Hoopes and William G. Renwick. The concealing of a pistol in a key, or of disguising a pistol as a key, has for centuries been a recognized but little used method of hiding a firearm. The miquelet lock on the piece shown is very interesting. Figure 179 is a view of the reverse of the lock. Notice the long lever attached to the top jaw of the cock and the unusual folding frizzen, or steel. The makeup of the lock seems well adapted to the close quarters provided. There is apparently no half-cock stud. Obviously, the barrel of the pistol is the stem and pin of the key.

Frankenau Purse PistolPistol Smoke DrawingFirearms Purses Top Draw
181. and 182. Frankenau purse pistol/ Gov. Gordon Persons collection.

Purses as repositories of concealed pistols are almost as common as pockets or holsters. However, we include here only pistols made to be fitted into specially made purses, or pistols made as integral parts of purses.

A good example of the former is shown in illustration 180. The bone-handled, single shot pistol is a very small and early European pin-fire. The case was made for no reason but to hold the gun.

An example of a pistol made as an integral part of a purse is to be seen in figures 181 and 182. This is the Frankenau „Combination Pocket-Book and Revolver", and is probably the only oddity of its type to be widely sold. It was patented both here and abroad-in the United States on November 6, 1877, patent #196,794. The British patent, #3375, dated September 5, 1877, refers to the invention as a „Revolver Purse". Both the British and American patent drawings show pepperbox construction, but the actual piece here pictured is a revolver with a very short barrel. It is double-action, six-shot, and fires 5 mm. pin-fire cartridges.

This unusual leather covered fabrication has a sheet metal center frame which divides it into two sections. As shown in the illustrations one section holds a compartmented change purse, while the other holds the revolver. The revolver section need be opened only for loading or unloading. It is not opened when the gun is fired. At one end of the frame is a pivoted gate to cover the barrel muzzle, and at the bottom is a well concealed folding trigger. To fire the gun it is only necessary to snap the trigger free and pull it. At the very beginning of the trigger pull an ingenious contrivance swings the pivoted gate or muzzle cover, out of the way. The closed purse-revolver is about 4" x 21/2" x 11/4". It is nearly the same in size and appearance as the case for the little pistol shown in figure 180.

Of all purse pistols, the combination of a flint pistol and a Scottish sporran is probably the top rarity. One such piece was, and perhaps still is, in the Museum of Edinburgh. Sir Walter Scott in his novel Rob Roy, describes one, the property of his hero, as „. . . a large leathern pouch, such as Highlanders of rank wear before them when in full dress, made of the skin of the sea otter, richly garnished with silver ornaments and studs." To quote further, „ 'I advise no man to attempt opening this sporran till he has my secret', said Rob Roy; and then twisting one button in one direction, and another in another, pulling one stud upward, and pressing another downward, the mouth of the purse, which was bound with massive silver-plate, opened and gave admittance to his hand. He made me remark . . . that a small steel pistol was concealed within the purse, the trigger of which was connected with the mounting, and made part of the machinery, so that the weapon would certainly be discharged, and in all probability its contents lodged in the person of any one who, being unacquainted with the secret, should tamper with the lock which secured his treasure. 'This,' said he, touching the pistol-'this is the keeper of my privy purse.'"

Firearms Curiosa

183. Sleeve pistol/ Eddie Reider collection.

Sleeve Gun Mark
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184. Sleeve pistol patent drawing.

Rob Roy would probably have traded the sporran and the privy purse for a modern sleeve pistol and a supply of ammunition. One such „Automatic concealed firearm for self defense", as E. B. Juhasz described his sleeve pistol in United States patent 1,726,228, granted August 27, 1929, is shown in figure 183. A glance at this illustration, and a brief examination of illustration 184, which shows part of the patent drawing, will probably make clear both how the gun is hidden and how it is fired. The pistol, which fires a .30 caliber center-fire cartridge, is fastened to a leather strap which has elastic bands to fit around the forearm. The barrel unscrews for loading. The gun pictured is cocked by pulling back a striker similar to the device commonly used on pen or pencil pistols. A wire or cord is run from the striker release to a ring on the middle finger. When the hand is flipped back the gun fires.

Many, many gadgets have been invented for attachment to firearms. There are lighting devices galore. Some illuminate the sights, some the target. Some throw a light beam when the trigger is pulled and are intended for use with an unloaded gun to show where a bullet would have gone.

A flashlight attached to a pistol, like a bayonet attached to a gun, hardly makes the firearm an oddity, but a revolver attached to a flashlight like a revolver attached to a bayonet, as in figure 31, is an oddity. It's the same old „Dog bites man-no news; man bites dog-news".

A flashlight with a revolver built in is pictured in figure 185. This is marked s. P. COTTRELL & SON BUFFALO, N. Y. and PAT. u. s. JUL. 10, 1923 and PAT CAN. DEC. 26, 1922. The flashlight is a conventional two cell type controlled by the usual sliding button. The 7-shot, .22 caliber revolver unit is screwed into and on the front part of the flashlight casing. It is double-action with a trigger that folds into the casing when not in use. An undated advertising folder furnished to me by Frank Wheeler, pictures one of these flashlight guns and states, „Aiming is unnecessary as the bullet must travel to center of the light. The most practical defense arm ever invented. Absolutely dependable. Price $12.00".

An all-metal German pistol, marked BUCO, and firing a centerfire cartridge of about .45 caliber, is shown in figure 186. This illustration shows the pistol ready to fire. To load, the large knurled cap is turned until two red marks are in line, when the cap will slip off. A cartridge is dropped in the barrel chamber. The cap is slipped back on, turned and locked so it forms a breech having at its inner center a raised projection which acts as a firing pin. The gun is cocked by pulling the barrel forward about an inch against heavy spring pressure, until it is held by a stud rising through an opening in the frame. The gun is fired by pressing down this stud.

Frank Hamer Guns Gun Collection
185. Flashlight pistol/ Dr. W. R. Funderburg collection.

186. „Buco" pistol/ Frank R. Horner collection.

187. Japanese pistol and sheath/ Eddie Reider collection.

187. Japanese pistol and sheath/ Eddie Reider collection.

Governor Gordon Persons
188. Wrench pistol/ Governor Gordon Persons collection.

When the military classes in Japan lost their feudal powers and their sword-carrying rights, in the 1870's, they may have become customers for concealed pistols. Illustration 187 shows a Japanese percussion pistol perfectly disguised, when sheathed, as a dagger which would be dangerous only in hand-to-hand fighting. The long hammer and the folding trigger fit perfectly in the narrow confines of the sheath. The piece is noteworthy because of its fine decoration. The sheath is covered partly with engraved metal and partly with shark skin, lacquered, colored and polished. The silver dragon inlaid in the barrel is very artistically done.

A wrench pistol of uncertain origin but probably of World War II vintage is pictured in figure 188. It is an American allsteel socket or box wrench, size 21/32", converted to a single-shot pistol using some special center-fire cartridge of about .26 caliber. The handle of the wrench becomes the barrel of the pistol, and the socket head becomes the pistol grip. The knurled part of the wrench handle may be unscrewed to load a cartridge. The cartridge may be fired after pulling the round projection which is the hammer, and pressing with the thumb the button on top which is the trigger. Probably very few of these wrench pistols were made.

Illustrations 189 and 190 show two small single-shot pistols such as were sometimes carried by men on special and hazardous assignments in World War II. Neither pistol is marked. One, figure 189, of bright steel, is reportedly German and can be unscrewed for reloading. The other, painted green, is American made, and an issue item to small numbers of o.s.s. men. This latter pistol, officially known as the OSS Stinger, is single-shot in the strictest sense-it can't be reloaded. It is welded in the middle, after being loaded. Either pistol is fired by release of the hook-shaped wire at the breech end. On the American piece the safety lever, like a pencil clip, is held by a plastic ring which must be slipped off before firing.

In figures 191 and 192 are two views of a primitive percussion cap pepperbox in the form of a whiskey cask made of German silver. The cask headings, each of which has a swivel resembling a carrying ring attached, hide the hammer at one end, and the barrel muzzles at the other end. A pull on one of the swivels will cock the gun. A twist of the other swivel will drop a small plate and disclose a barrel muzzle, as in figure 192. The end bands-the hoops that bind the staves-are free to turn, and so permit manual rotation of the pepperbox cylinder and successive firing of nine shots. The trigger is the small button sticking out from one of the hoops.

189. Metal pistol-3 /2" overall/ Eddie Reider collection.

190. Metal pistol/ George R. Numrich, Jr. collection.

190. Metal pistol/ George R. Numrich, Jr. collection.

George Numrich
191. and 192. Primitive pepperbox/ Anthony Fidd, Jr. collection.

Chapter 9

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja

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Responses

  • Adelgrim
    Is carrying a gun with a pen or pencil in the barrel to preserve evidence a good idea?
    6 years ago

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