The Chicago Palm Pistol – A “Handy” Little Gun

Look what I discovered the other night. I’m always on the lookout for a proper weapon of choice for a character. While catching up on the to-be-watched shows on my DVR, I ran across one about old guns, including this little beauty.

The Chicago Palm Pistol.

Originally called the Minneapolis Protector Palm Pistol, The Chicago Palm Pistol began as a copy of the French Turbiaux pistol, Le Protecteur.

The design for this palm-sized weapon was patented in 1883 by the Minneapolis Firearms Company, then sold to Peter Finnegan of Austin, Illinois. Mr. Finnegan created the Chicago Firearms Company and immediately contracted with Ames Sword Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, to manufacture the pistol in time to introduce it at The Columbian Exhibition–The Chicago World’s Fair of 1892. Because of manufacturer delays, it didn’t make it in time for the Fair, and, in 1898, Mr. Finnegan ended up with 13, 000 pistols to sell.

The moment I saw it, I knew this would be an excellent concealed weapon for a character to carry, whether he’s the hero or the villain. Since it was billed as a small enough weapon to be easily handled by a woman, I suppose my heroine might have one tucked into a pocket or her reticule, as well.

Here, you can see the actual size.

And here’s what the insides look like.

It wasn’t a very powerful gun, so no shootouts from twenty paces, but for an ambush, or a last ditch attempt at protecting the one the hero (or heroine) loves, it would be perfect.

What do you think? Would your character have a need for a Palm Pistol like this one?

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21 thoughts on “The Chicago Palm Pistol – A “Handy” Little Gun”

  1. Hi Tracy, never heard of these little guys until now but yeah, I’m thinking my next heroine Molly definitely needs one LOL.

    Thanks for the great info. oxoxo

  2. Tracy, I can definitely see a woman on the frontier using one of these. They’re so small and could be concealed very easily. I’m just wondering how accurate they were. The range must’ve been very short and the shooter would have to be extremely close.

    Very interesting!

  3. My first thought on looking at the photo of the gun in hand was “Yikes! You could shoot your own finger off!” The bullets would have to be tiny.
    A few months ago I did a blog on the Deringer. These are even smaller. It would be fun to use one in a story. Cool!
    Thanks for a great blog, Tracy!

  4. old school pepper spray perhaps?
    very interesting…i’d take one now…i always think someone’s out to get me
    i wonder what kind of kick they had

  5. Tracy what a timely blog for me. My WIP’s heroine has a hidden pearl handled Derringer and the hero finds it (so you all can imagine the scene where he finds it in her garter LOL) and is aggravated that she could do little more than get killed with it … so your gun gives me some ideas. And like Elizabeth I can only image the size of the bullet and the wound. Unless you shot them in the eye or the you-know-where’s it’d probably do little damage. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sorry I’m late. I just spent a wonderful 2 hours talking books and writing with a local book group then a not so pleasant hour driving through a rainstorm to get the groceries. But I’m here now.

    Quilt Lady, I had the same thought. It’s the perfect size for a lady’s purse.

  7. Mary, there actually is a “safety” on it. See the little lever under the barrel? That has to be compressed or squeezed for the gun to fire.

    And I think cute is quite appropriate–but then I’m kind of a fan of old guns. :-/

  8. Linda, you’re correct. The range is very short – more appropriate for close in use as a back up gun.

    Elizabeth, the Derringers were mostly 22 caliber. This one is 32 caliber, so a little bigger but not much.

  9. Hi Tabitha,

    I suppose the use would be like we use pepper spray today. Since they were 32 caliber extra-short cartridges, it would make a definite impact–just enough to get away unless you hit something vital.

  10. Phyliss, at close range, a 32-caliber bullet would do some damage. They’re about 1/3″ in diameter. But at 30′ it would probably bounce off a leather vest. 🙂

  11. I almost forgot— Tabitha, you mentioned the kick. The palm pistols they’re manufacturing today are being advertised as a perfect self-defense weapon for a senior citizen because of the ease of grip for arthritic hands and the lack of much recoil, or kick. Hopefully I can shoot one someday then I’ll know for sure.

  12. I’d be afraid that I’d end up as the injured
    party in the use of this type of weapon! LOL

    Pat Cochran

  13. Actually, the most common derringer was the .41 Rimfire, the most popular of which was *probably* the Remington M1866 Double. Bond Arms, as well as American Derringer have nice copies for decent prices.

    The Chicago Pocket Protector is a nice example of a whimsical firearm that only those in the Victorian Age could dream up. Along with it are Harmonica Guns, and those “cute” little pinfire 2mm pistols. Talk about something that’d bounce off a leather vest at 30 feet!

    From a cursory search of pricing on the CPP, it seems to run around 2Kish, give or take a few hundred.

    It would be the PERFECT gun for a character to just walk up to someone, punch ’em in the gut, and walk away with them bleeding from the stomach.

    I’m thinking “Assassin” type wepons here…

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