In my earlier blog on the most beautiful handguns ever made, Jim Wargula (a faithful reader) suggested that I cover the ugliest handguns, ever. Great idea; and an incredibly fertile field.
Again, we probably should establish some parameters. I'd like to keep it to form over function — we can cover guns that include both in a future blog. Also, it 's only fair to eliminate some that are just outright bizarre, or specialty pieces such as the Reid Knuckleduster, Chicago Palm Pistol or Cochran Turret Revolver — those are just offbeat contrivances that seem to transcend any sort of aesthetic judgment.
So here are my personal top five. In this case, I suppose, they'd have to be in descending order. Check out the gallery below and be sure to chime with your thoughts.
No. 3: Borchardt
This was truly a seminal handgun, but, good lord, it could have been given a bit more style. I know the mechanism required the rear end look like it was afflicted with a bad case of lordosis, but still€¦ It's certainly nothing you'd want to take home to mother. Most are found in pretty good shape. I guess the owners couldn't stand to look at them and just stuck them away in the drawer. Good point: It spawned the Luger.
And the Winner€¦Model 1898 Rast und Gasser
The earlier Austrian Model 1870 Gasser was no beauty contest winner, but it almost seems that Franz Josef came up with a contest for his arms designers to see who could outdo their earlier effort. Well, if that was the case, someone was a clear winner because the 1898 is the most ungainly-looking revolver ever made — and that's saying something. The weird grip angle has never been duplicated — with good reason--and the rest of the piece is totally devoid of any semblance style. Surprisingly, the thing worked pretty good, but that's beyond the scope of this evaluation.
No. 2: Savage Navy
With its ring trigger, Frisbee-size triggerguard, awkward grip and front-heavy mechanism, it's simply one of the most unlovely percussion revolvers ever.
No. 4: FP 45 'Liberator
A .45 sheet-metal wonder intended to be given to partisans during World War II so they could use them to kill the enemy and take their sidearms. Sure the things only cost a couple of bucks to make and were churned out in seconds, but at least they could have been given a bit more panache. The Liberator looks like something designed by an engineer. They made a million of them but there are no verified instances of their use. The Army Air Corps was probably too embarrassed to drop them.
No. 5: British 1842 Lancer's Pistol
The term 'ungainly ' seems to have been coined for this beauty. Designed by a chap with no handgun experience, it mated an oversized carbine lock to a musket-bore barrel and weirdly configured, skimpy grip. Most of the troops threw them away.