10 Unusual Firearms

The world is filled with unusual weapons of all kinds, both futuristic and antique, and while these particular weapons listed here might be rare, they sure are something to look at and consider. Gun collectors will especially like knowing about these oddities.

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MAGPUL FMG

The FMG stands for folding machine gun. What this is is basically a semi-automatic handgun (in the video below the MAGPUL representative uses a Glock) that is encased in a rectangular case about the size of a large book. This collapsible case can fit in the back of your pocket, and a small flashlight can be attached to the top of the case so it appears as if you’re just carrying a flashlight with one of those big battery packs attached. This FMG is a weapon for concealment that would draw little if any attention from anyone who happened to see the thing, that is until you swiftly unfolded it. But even then, it might not appear to be a firearm except maybe by someone who is familiar with guns and/or trained to spot them. Even though the MAGPUL FMG is technically a handgun, for handling purposes it looks as if you’d use it more like a mini-submachine gun, think Mac 10 or Mini Uzi.

As of 2008, MAGPUL was not selling their FMG, and I couldn’t find it on their Web pages. Perhaps it will be available in the future. However the Web site FullAutoClassics.comis purporting to sell a folding machine gun marketed as the UC-M21 (to my knowledge not affiliated with MAGPUL) available in 9mm, taking Uzi magazines and comes in full auto.

Interestingly enough, the Magpul FMG isn’t the first such device ever created, though it is the most recent one. Gun manufacturer ARES created one back in the early 1980s, though it was not a handgun, but more of a true mini-submachine gun, and was never sold on the market. And, of course, there’s the UC-M21 mentioned above.

Coilguns

Technically, coilguns aren’t firearms. There’s no fire. Without getting into a bunch of science, it’s difficult to explain how a coilgun works, but basically it’s a projectile weapon (often similar in shape and size to a handgun or small rifle) in which coils of electromagnets are used to launch a magnetic projectile.

Apparently no one has perfected a coilgun as of yet, so they’re not very common nor popular. To my knowledge, after much research, no company professionally manufacturers coilguns. Instead, most coilguns are created by hobbyists, those with a love of coilguns. If you’d like to know more, and to see a whole bunch of different designs for coilguns, check out the World’s Coilgun Arsenal.

The video below shows a weak coilgun at work and gives a little detail on how the device operates.

Miniature ring pinfire revolver

This one is an antique apparently built in London back about 1870. It’s literally a ring you wear on your finger, and it’s a miniature revolver with sevenshots. Built for the ladies, this weapon was dubbed the “Femme Fatale.” It fires .06 caliber pinfire projectiles. Comes with its own, engraved case. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d feel safe firing this thing off, especially seven times. I’d be afraid my hand would blow up. And considering this thing would have a relative distance of only … oh, a foot! … I think I’d just stick with a trusty knife if I needed a weapon at such a close range.

Neostad shotgun

Look at the image below. At first glance, it looks like a short semi-auto rifle or maybe even a paintball gun. It’s not. It’s a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun meant for law enforcement and military applications and not for sporting. Made by the Truvelo Armorycompany out of South Africa, this shotgun sports dual top mounted magazine feeds. That’s right, those big round things atop the barrel (where the pump grips can be seen) are actually removable magazines. Looks awesome, too, in my opinion.

Gyrojet weapons

A gyrojet firearms are simple to describe. They fire a miniature rocket instead of a traditional bullet. Because of the high spin rate of the projectile and the lack of recoil, modern gyrojet weapons are supposedly quite accurate.

An organization known as MB Associates originally began to develop gyrojet pistols and rifles in the 1960s, and eventually a few of these firearms were placed on the market and even tested by United States military. Probably the best known of these early gryojets was an MB Associates pistol called the Mark 1 model B, which fired a 13mm rocket projectile. As pictures below will show, there were even carbine versions made. Unfortunately the weapons never caught on for a variety of reasons, including a lack of accuracy and firepower in these early gyrojet projectiles.

Still, today, there are manufacturers and hobbyists looking at the potential of gryojet weapons. One of these modern projects can be found online as The “Deathwind” Project.

Palm Pistol

The modern Palm Pistol isn’t available for sale just yet, but Constitution Arms is gearing up to place this interesting little weapon on the market.

And what exactly is a Palm Pistol? It appears to be a single-shot firearm you trigger by pushing a button on top with your thumb. See the images below for a better idea.

This would seem to be a concealed-carry weapon, and/or perhaps a last-defense weapon.

Also, while this particular Palm Pistol is quite modern looking, the basic idea of a roundish one-shot firearm that can fit in the palm of your hand is an old idea going back at least as far as the mid-1800s. Still, the new Palm Pistol appears interesting and to be a major improvement over older, similar weapons.

The following image is of an old palm-like pistol from the 1800s. This particular version was made in France.

TKB-022

Looking like something out of an old Flash Gordon movie, the TKB-022 was an experimental Soviet assault rifle back in the 1960s. It fired a 7.62 mm round and its housing was a hard plastic, unusual for the times.

The Soviet military tested various versions of this rifle for several years, but eventually passed on the design. Why? Who knows? Perhaps the weapon was just too unusual looking for the Soviet brass. Or maybe it was because the traditional Soviet weapon of choice, the AK-47, was just too good a weapon to let drop. The answer probably lies in some secret Russian files somewhere.

COP .357 Derringer

This handgun is a four-shot derringer chambered for .357 magnums, which means it should also be able to fire .38 rounds. Manufactured by COP Inc., which no longer exists, this firearm was meant to be a concealed carry gun no bigger than many of those cheap .25 semi-autos you can find in most pawn shops.

Besides its looks, what makes this derringer unusual? For one thing, it had a floating firing pin. As you can tell in the image below, the COP has four chambers. You load each one separately. Then as you pull the trigger, the firing pin moves internally so it is over each chamber before firing. This handgun was also double action, which didn’t give it a very easy trigger pull.

Unfortunately for gun lovers, the COP is no longer being manufactured, so it’s not easy to find one. Still, every once in a while one will pop up at a gun show or online.

Borchardt C-93

Before the famous Luger, there was the Borchardt C-93. For all its impracticalities, this ungainly-looking sidearm was actually the first semi-automatic pistol marketed in Europe and one of the first semi-auto pistols made in any numbers throughout the world in the 1890s.

Chambered for a 7.65X25mm Borchardt cartridge, this handgun had massive recoil and just wasn’t very easy to use. All that bulk also added to difficulties of handling and storing, even simply holstering.

However, without the Borchardt there might never have been the Luger or the Mauser pistol. George Luger made a study of the Borchardt, improved upon it drastically and came up with the now famous Luger pistol. As for the Borchardt and the Mauser, the 7.65X25mm Borchardt cartridge played a big influence on the Mauser C96 pistol which fired a 7.65X25mm Mauser cartridge.

Jarre Harmonica Pistol

This oddity can bring a hefty collection at auction houses nowadays, usually at least $10,000 if the gun is in decent condition. Originally this handgun was built in the 1800s in the hopes of being one of the first multi-round weapons. It was, but it’s obvious just looking at the gun that it wasn’t very practical. The revolver stood out. Thank Sam Colt. The Jarre wasn’t the only harmonica pistol of its day, but it’s probably the best-known. It fired .38 rounds.

Related links

10 Unusual Revolvers

Fiction Writers Need to Know Their Weapons

5 Excellent Books about the History of the Old West

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7 Comments
  1. Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Great one. My favorite is still the coil-gun. This article should go on the hot content.

  2. Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Brilliant Write

    Best Regards.

  3. Posted February 20, 2010 at 2:49 am

    interesting..nice share..thanks for this..

  4. Posted February 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    That was interesting.

    Thanks,

    Inna

  5. Posted March 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Kind of random, but interesting to read.

  6. robert pa;mer
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Your ring pistol was made around 1950-60 in England alonw with a bunch more that was dumped on the market here. It is 2mm, not .06 caliber.

  7. Trevor
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Does anyone know anything about “Pen Guns” that fire 22 cal. rounds. I am about to purchase one for my collection and the current owner has no idea what its worth.

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