The Ring Gun — A Tiny Protector


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?



They are really very small! That’s a U.S. quarter beside a ring, cleaning brush and two cartridges.

 

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.


The hammer is on one side of the ring (right side), the trigger on the other (left side). I doubt you could surreptitiously cock the weapon unless you kept your hand out of sight under the table.

 


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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZX5W4yzkqI


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.

 

Tracy Garrett
History, Texas, cowboys, horses—these are a few of Tracy’s favorite things. Check out her westerns at www.TracyGarrett.com.

13 Comments

  1. Interesting! And so tiny. Don’t know how much damage they could cause but fun to see.

  2. I would like to have one of these. They had one on the show Pawn Stars.

  3. That is a hoot! What a great gift for the lady who has everything…

  4. Fascinating, Tracy. I had no idea such little guns existed. Great touch for a story.

  5. Good morning, all.

    Connie J, up close they’d do some damage, but not from more than a couple feet away.

    Kim, me too! I think it would be fun to have one. As Sherri saaid (hi, Sherri!), something for the woman who has everything.

  6. I had never heard of such a thing. Very cool to see. Wonder if it left powder burns on a lady’s hands or if it gave much of a kick. Could be an interesting plot device, though I doubt readers would believe it was a real thing.

    Thanks for sharing, Tracy!

  7. Okay, SERIOUSLY cool. I love learning about all these weapons that seem too fantastical to be true. My “what if” radar is taking off…

  8. Terrific post and pictures, Tracy. I saw a ring like this on Pawn Stars, which if y’all aren’t watching the show, has tons of history in it. (Yeah. they’re goofy Gusses but Rick knows a ton of historical tidbits.)

  9. I have never heard of a ring gun before but looks like it could be handy!

  10. Wow, I didn’t realize there were guns so small!! If you said ring protector to me, I would think of diamond rings. LOL!!

  11. Karen, when I watched the video of the cap and ball model, there wasn’t much kick. There’s only a very small amount of powder in those cartridges, so they can’t offer much kick.

    Renee, mine has been pinging since I first saw this little beauty.

  12. Pawn Stars, huh, Tanya? I’ll have to hunt for that episode. Thanks.

  13. I love this post, Tracy. The ring gun would be a great addition to a western. Thanks for sharing.

    –Kirsten

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