Tiny weapons that pack a powerful punch

Tiny weapons that pack a powerful punch

They don't make 'em like that anymore, tiny weapons that pack a powerful punch. And while you can't buy them, you can check them out at the Rock Island Arsenal.
They don't make 'em like that anymore, tiny weapons that pack a powerful punch. And while you can't buy them, you can check them out at the Rock Island Arsenal.

With it's pearl inlaid handle, the Palm Pistol was originally designed for women. 

William Johnson, Curator of Collections for The Rock Island Arsenal Museum says, "Basically, you can put it in your hand like that and squeeze it and pull the trigger."

But it wasn't long before another group found good use for it.

"For gamblers it was a nice weapon," Johnson says. "Because you know, not only palming cards but they could palm weapons so to speak. They've got it under the table, they can easily pull it out and set their hands on the table and whoever their adversary is, they can shoot 'em or threaten them."

And if you think the palm pistol is small, The Pepper Pot is even tinier.

"It's a 22 caliber Derringer and it has 4 chambers," Johnson says. "This is also easy to conceal.  Because you can put it in your pocket and pull it out of your pocket, pull the trigger back and fire either one or all four."

That's right, this tiny pistol has four chambers.

And while these small weapons were popular among many groups, there's an even smaller gun that nobody wanted to fire. Produced during World War Two, the liberator pistol was a weapon made for the resistance fighters.

"There were over a million that were dropped behind enemy lines during World War Two," Johnson says.

But, just because the guns were there, doesn't mean they were used.

"The resistance people didn't like them because they were almost as dangerous to use as to take out an enemy soldier," Johnson says.

Dangerous because they were made of stamped metal.

"So the recoil from firing a round was as hazardous to the person who was holding the weapon as it was to the person who was being shot at," Johnson says.

And if you survived the shot, you had to reload.

"It's a single shot so after you fire that round you have to take the casing out and put in another round," Johnson says.

At a cost of 30-40 cents a piece to manufacture, these guns didn't hold up for more than two rounds. And these weapons certainly didn't offer any of today's modern conveniences.

Johnson says, "Is there a safety on that thing? No, the safety is not firing it."

To hear more about "The Liberator" and why many collectors are getting duped, watch this web extra.
To hear more about "The 410 Pistol" and why it was called "The Surveyor's Gun," watch this web extra.


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