I really enjoy researching unusual guns. Today’s example is a very small (though not the smallest) gun you can wear–a ring gun.
The ring gun, from the mid-1800s, is a pretty rare item. These tiny revolvers were made to shoot cap and ball black powder or cartridges. This one [on the right] holds .15 or .17 caliber (around 4.5-5mm) pinfire cartridges. See the pin on the side of the cartridge?
This 19th century French ring (to the right) uses a 5mm cartridge. In the box there are 2 cartridges, a cleaning brush and an adjustment screw driver.
Click on these links to see amateur video of them in action:
5-shot cap and ball, black powder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQGAFyoZHtw
Le Petit Protector – 5mm 5 shot rim fire cartridge
Nearly all the rings I’ve found are beautifully engraved.
I know it isn’t practical as a weapon—though up close it could do damage—and it’s more suited to steampunk than westerns, but I like it.