Weird handguns are like ugly kids, they are cute in their own way, but, man, they can be hard to look at.
I love weird handguns and weird guns in general. The weirder, the better. There are only so many times one can see the latest and greatest strike fired polymer frame handgun or 1911 design and still have an interest. Show me something weird, and you’ll capture my attention. I’ve gathered my seven favorite weird handguns to share with you fine folks.
Is it even a gun when it fires small rockets? Because the Gyrojet pistol fires teeny tiny rockets instead of normal bullets. These space-age guns were developed in the 1960s and were experimented with by the United States Military. When the pistol fired, the projectile started moving very slow but picked up speed within about 30 feet. The Gyrojet pistols were a semi-auto design, and production numbers were very low. These guns were never highly reliable and died a quiet death.
The LifeCard is a weird handgun, but hear me out; it serves a purpose. When you need to carry a gun as discretely as possible, then the LifeCard is the way to go.
The LfieCard is a single shot 22LR pistol that folds into a weapon roughly the size of a credit card, minus the thickness level. This little foldy fella is reliable, simple, and easy to carry in nothing more than a shirt pocket. It’s weird, but the good kind of weird. The spy kind of weird.
Bullpup pistols are few and far between, but the USFA ZIP is one of the most prominent. This weird handgun is a semi-auto 22LR pistol that feeds from Ruger 10/22 magazines. This weird space-age pistol used a mostly polymer design and was remarkably affordable. However, it was also super unreliable. It jammed, failed to extract and eject, and found a way to take the fun out of 22LR plinking. Sadly, the entire USFA company collapsed around the ZIP, and their finely made cowboy revolvers are no more.
Harmonica pistols were very early examples of repeating pistols that offered higher capacity than any revolver of the time, and the earliest example was built in 1742. These pistols gave their wielder ten rounds of manually operated goodness. These weird handguns required the user to shift the horizontal magazine for each shot. These guns were built as percussion cap guns primarily, and as pinfire weapons later on.
Harmonica pistols seemed to be custom style guns and never achieved mainstream success. John Browning’s father was a famed producer of Harmonica guns, but they were never as successful as his son’s designs.
This weird handgun is still in production is the relatively new and ultimately awesome CP33. The CP33 is a futuristic-looking target pistol that feeds from a 33 round, flush-fitting quad stack magazine. This little semi-auto plinking pistol is railed for an optic and ready to be accessorized. The CP33 is a blast to shoot, and while weird in design, it’s one of the few effective designs that just so happens to be weird.
It’s most certainly on my shortlist of new guns to get.
The Bergmann 1894 is getting a little more famous these days because the Mandalorian wields a Bergmann 1894, and it fits the Star Wars aesthetic well. The Bergmann 1894 is a weird-looking pistol, but that’s only the start of it. The gun used a bizarre 8mm cartridge that was quite anemic. The gun feeds from an integral forward sitting 5 round magazine. This early semi-auto pistol wasn’t highly successful but saw a little use around Europe.
The Bergmann 1894 was a weird handgun that served as a step towards semi-auto firearm domination.
This is a confusing weapon. It’s a fully automatic machine pistol that has a blow forward operation. It’s chambered in 22 Magnum and feeds from a pan magazine that also uses a belt-like tape design to hold the cartridges. If that’s not a confusing design, then I don’t know what it is. This gun doesn’t seem to have made it past the prototype phase, but it existed at one point.
If this isn’t a weird handgun, then I don’t know what is—I kind of want one.
These are my favorite weird handguns. I would own and adore everyone; in fact, I own two on this list and am actively shopping for a third. They keep things interesting, and interesting is good. These are my favorite weirdos; what are yours?
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.
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