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Confederate Baby LeMat

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One of the rarest models of LeMat grapeshot revolver is this, the “Baby” LeMat. This is a substantially smaller gun than the normal LeMat, although it retains a 9-shot cylinder and a central barrel. In the Baby, however, the cylinder is in .32 caliber (rather than the standard .42) and the central barrel is […]

Frankenau Purse Gun

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Patented in 1876 in both the US and UK as well as Germany, the Frankenau purse gun was a very small 5-shot, 5mm pinfire revolver hidden inside what appeared to be a normal small coin purse. One side of the purse would even open, with several accordion pockets, allowing to to be used for […]

RIA: Danish 1865/97 Pinfire Conversion Revolver (Video)

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The Danish artillery was an early adopter of metallic-case handguns, taking on this pinfire 6-shot solid-frame revolver in 1865 – when most of the world was still using percussion firearms. The thousand guns made served well for many decades, until in 1897 they finally were recognized as obsolete and converted to use more modern […]

RIA: Russian M1870 Galand Revolver (Video)

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The Galand was an innovative revolver design created by Frenchman Charles Francois Galand and patented in 1868. It is most notable for using a long lever system to eject cartridges by throwing the cylinder and a separate cartridge retention plate forward. It was also one of the early adopters of centerfire ammunition (a .45 […]

RIA: London-Made Lorenzonis Repeating Flintlocks

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A 7-shot repeating handgun before cartridges had been invented? Yep, long before. These two pistols are London-made examples of the Lorenzoni system, in which a gun was made with internal magazines of powder and projectiles and a rotating central loading spindle like a modern reloading powder throw. By rotating a lever on the left […]

RIA: Mauser Model 1878 “Zig-Zag” Revolvers (Video)

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After making their big break with the adoption of the Model 1871 Mauser rifle by the newly unified German government, the Mauser brothers, took a shot at getting the handgun contract for the military as well, with this revolver, the Model 1878. It is often colloquially called the Mauser Zig-Zag because of its conspicuously […]

RIA: Strange Unique European Revolver

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With no markings or provenance at all, the origins of this revolver are a mystery. Its features all point to the 1880s or 1890s, and someone clearly spent a lot of time working on it – but we don’t know who. What makes it interesting is the very unusual operating mechanism. It is similar […]

RIA: Little All Right

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Aren’t these 19th century little pocket pistols cute? This is another palm-type hideout gun, named the “Little All Right” and patented in 1876. It’s actually a pretty basic revolver mechanism, just put into an unusual style of body with a strange trigger. It holds 5 rounds of .22 Short, and fires double action. Only […]

Book Review: Documenting the Weapons used at the Little Bighorn

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I previously reviewed a book on archaeological study of the Little Bighorn battlefield, which did an excellent and very insightful job of tracing the battle through tangible artifacts, including forensic tracing of different individual weapons across the field. I recently picked up another book on the battle (Little Bighorn to the Americans; Greasy Grass to […]

Vintage Saturday: Send a Gun to Defend a British Home!

British women sort through guns donated by Americans for the Home Guard.

British women sort through donated American guns for the Home Guard.

“When the ships from America approached our shores with their priceless arms special trains were waiting in all the ports to receive their cargoes,” Churchill recalled. “The Home Guard in every county, in every town, in every village, sat up all through the […]