8 Most Impractical Handguns in History

8 Most Impractical Handguns in History

Practicality may not be something shooters think about all the time; if that was the case, .50-cal rifles would be a lot less popular on the civilian market . However, while we may look at some guns and think, "Now why would anyone need THAT?" chances are the Herculean handgun that looks like it was hauled in by a flatbed trailer doesn't hold a candle to some of the most impractical handguns in history. Whether they were too costly to make or just plain ineffective, here are eight of the most impractical handguns in history.

The Apache Revolver

Ah, the Swiss Army Knife of awful weaponry. For those of you looking to bring not only a knife, but brass knuckles to a gunfight, the Apache revolver is the gun for you. Made by the French (of course it was), this pepperbox revolver could fold up and fit compactly in the user's pocket. Seems awesome enough, but with no sights whatsoever, the Apache was practically impossible to aim. Its limited 7mm caliber didn't exactly help matters, and the entire axle holding the cylinder in place had to be removed in order to reload. In addition, the knuckle dusters were only 1½ inches across, meaning you'd need to have ridiculously tiny hands to use them, and with a blade the same size, almost every facet of this weapon seems utterly useless.

The Duck's Foot Pistol

Of all the insane volley guns ever created, the duck's foot pistol is up there as one of the most impractical. Featuring four -- sometimes more -- branching barrels, the duck's foot pistol is of course meant to hit four targets at a time, and in a more general sense, to basically spray a mob with bullets. As you might have guessed, however, there's really no way of aiming; it's more drawing and firing, and praying that you didn't hit one of your own guys. One thing's for sure, though: We'd love to see the holster for this thing.

The Gyrojet

The idea behind the Gyrojet family of guns (shown above, two pistols, a carbine and a rifle) sounds awesome enough: Make a gun that's essentially a mini-rocket launcher. Sounds great on paper, sure, but in practice, it's another story. That was apparent when the Gyrojet made its debut in the 1960s. Firing mini rockets called 'Microjets ' -- which differed from conventional bullets in that they continued to accelerate after leaving the barrel, and achieved maximum kinetic energy just after expending fuel -- the Gyrojet offered low combustion, and therefore low recoil. However, this thing was expensive; rounds were known to cost $100 a pop and became far too costly to manufacture, and Army tests proved it to be cumbersome and unreliable.

Henrion, Dassy & Heuschen Revolver

At one point or another, many of us have probably wished our revolvers could match the capacity of any given semi-auto. However, we never expect cylinders to straight-up shatter mag capacities. The Henrion, Dassy & Heuschen Revolver features an unbelievable 20-round cylinder. Its laughable design is coupled with the fact that the manufacturers tried to brand it under manly names like 'Wild West, ' 'Redoubtable, ' and we're not even making this one up, 'Terrible. '

2mm Kolibri

The lilliputian Kolibri pistol and its equally tiny cartridge, the world's smallest commercially available centerfire cartridge (shown above next to a .45 ACP cartridge), showed that when it comes to guns, smaller isn't always better. Introduced in 1914, the Kolibri and its firearm series was designed with self-defense in mind, but as is common with extremely small guns, shooters soon found the Kolibri had almost no power, being unable to fire through a piece of pine board 1.5 inches thick. When your gun can be deterred by wearing a piece of wood, maybe it's time to trade -- or trash.

LeMat Revolver

Have you ever been at the range and thought to yourself, 'Gee, handguns are fun and all, but it would be so much more fun if I could tape a shotgun to this puppy. ' Sounds ludicrous, but in keeping with gun nuts' lust for more and more firepower, the LeMat Revolver combined the best of both worlds; the caliber cap & black ball powder revolver featured a smoothbore barrel capable of firing 16-gauge buckshot, made possible by a novel pivoting striker on the hammer. Innovative, maybe -- and that's a BIG maybe -- but the LeMat didn't see much service beyond the Civil War.

Protector Palm Pistol

The need for a compact handgun can't be understated; it's always nice to have a good carry gun just in case. The French jumped on that bandwagon in 1882 with the Protector Pocket Pistol, a .32-caliber seven-shot pistol that was unique in the way it was operated. Rather than firing with a conventional trigger, the Protector was fired when the shooter squeezed it in the palm of his or her hand. Though innovative, efficiency took a backseat; the gun featured very limited range and lethality, and shooters had to disassemble the entire gun just to reload.

Arsenal Firearms AF2011-A1

Last month, Arsenal Firearms introduced its double-barreled take on the 1911, prompting many gun enthusiasts to wonder if it was an early April Fools' joke. Nobody's laughing, though: The AF2011-A1 is very real. With a bigger butt than your extra large Aunt Marge, our faithful readers were reviled by the Frankengun, and even G&A blogger Iain Harrison poked a little fun at it: 'Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a brilliant idea that involves a couple of Glock 17s and a tube of JB Weld€¦ '

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

Century Arms Introduces a Heavy-Duty AK Rifle

Century Arms Introduces a Heavy-Duty AK Rifle

Chambered in 7.62x39mm with components machined from extremely durable S7 tool steel, a chrome-moly 4150 barrel and a carburized 4140 steel bolt.

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Hornady 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is a Rifle

6.5 PRC - Magnumized 6.5 Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand - August 01, 2018

The Hornady 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is a "magnumized" 6.5 Creedmoor. It offers...

Crossbreed's new The Reckoning holster is a simple leather-Kydex combination with multiple points of retention adjustment and clip options. Accessories

Crossbreed's The Reckoning Holster

Eric R. Poole - May 13, 2019

Crossbreed's new The Reckoning holster is a simple leather-Kydex combination with multiple...

Reminiscing on another great American lever action. Rifles

Review: Savage Model 99

Craig Boddington - February 11, 2019

Reminiscing on another great American lever action.

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different. Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

Wilson Combat announced they have been awarded a contract to supply the Arkansas State Police with 5.56 NATO caliber WC-15 patrol carbines. Industry

Arkansas State Police Selects Wilson Combat for Patrol Carbine

Guns & Ammo Staff - May 12, 2020

Wilson Combat announced they have been awarded a contract to supply the Arkansas State Police...

True Velocity teams up with Sierra Bullets to launch its first commercial ammunition. Rifle

True Velocity, Sierra Bullets Team Up to Produce Ammo

Eric R. Poole - February 05, 2020

True Velocity teams up with Sierra Bullets to launch its first commercial ammunition.

Guns & Ammo Magazine has honored the Aimpoint Acro P-1 with their Optic of The Year Award for 2019. Industry

Aimpoint Acro P-1 Guns & Ammo 2019 Optic of the Year

Aimpoint - January 28, 2020

Guns & Ammo Magazine has honored the Aimpoint Acro P-1 with their Optic of The Year Award for...

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. announced that its Mark 5HD riflescope has been selected as the day optic for the U.S. Army's Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program. Optics

Leupold Mark 5HD Selected by Army PSR Program

Guns & Ammo Digital Staff - March 07, 2020

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. announced that its Mark 5HD riflescope has been selected as the day...

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now