OSS “Bigot” Pistol

The “Bigot” was a dart-firing modification of an M1911 .45 caliber pistol developed by the Office of Strategic Services during WW2. The OSS was a clandestine operations service, the predecessor of the CIA. The Bigot was intended as a way for commandos to quietly eliminate sentries – although we are not sure what advantage it might have had over a silenced pistol. Questionable utility doesn’t prevent it from being a pretty interesting piece of equipment, though, and we had the opportunity to take a look at one up close recently:


    • I read somewhere that this was actually to be used underwater. the fins slid back and forth, creating inertia when it hit its target.

  1. I wonder if they could have been used underwater. It seems like a “frog man” might have found these useful in sabotage if not defense. Very interesting, thank you!

  2. The “piston” inside the barrel would probably be more accurately described as a “spigot”, and the name “Bigot” would seem to be a derivative of that term. The weapon seems to be inspired by the various types of “spigot mortars” (and other similar weapons) which were widely used by British and Commonwealth forces during and after WWII.

    The PIAT is a very well known example of a spigot weapon (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank). The main advantage a PIAT had over a rocket launcher was the lack of back blast which made the launching point easier to position and conceal. They were strictly short ranged weapons however, and the basic concept couldn’t be extended to longer ranges due to mechanical limitations on accuracy (not to mention the massive recoil when used as an infantry weapon).

    Turning a pistol into a spigot type projector however doesn’t sound like a very practical idea. I imagine the trajectory would be like a rainbow, and the recoil would be difficult to control. Your chances of actually hitting anything at less than point blank range would be pretty poor.

  3. ‘Bigot’ was the code word used to identify those who had access to plans for Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion. This suggests that perhaps the weapon was a ‘special’ developed for use behind enemy lines with the French resistance forces. Given the level of protection given to the word ‘Bigot’, I’d be suspicious that the same code word was used for two separate items. It could happen, but it inclines me to think that someone misheard ‘spigot’, an unfamiliar term, and turned it into a word he did know.

  4. I think you need to feed that cat!

    Great video as always – you might consider providing further reading references at the end though.

  5. I can see this concept being ingeniously useful. For instance, a pilot is shot down and needs to signal S&R people his location for them to pick him up. With this device, a flare can be fired out of his sidearm and he does not need to pack a flare gun which (at the time of this device’s invention)would result in more space in the emergency sustenance kit (as survival kits were called in that day) for more gear. Also, the darts can be used to hunt game without the loud report of a normal pistol shot. It could also be used for fishing with the proper darts and somehow incorporating a retrieval line. As I said before, ingenious concept.

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