Knuckle Duster

A friend sent me this article from back in March about representatives from New York City's Department of Records--they are digitizing over 30,000 photographs (from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century) from the NYPD's crime files, and making the images available to the public.

The photos range in subject matter--from cat rescues to award ceremonies to homicides.

In browsing through the collection, the following photo caught my attention.

Hoodlum Fav: Combination Gun, Knife, and Steel Knuckles
You don't see an Apache Revolver too often. Also called the "Knuckle Duster" gun, it was manufactured in Belgium around the turn of the last century.

The Knuckle Duster was a favorite of gangster types in the early 1900s, as it offered multiple options when fighting, carried 6 bullets, and was easily concealed (no barrel; folding trigger and blade).

Obviously, they also liked the intimidation factor of the weapon.

With no barrel though, range was limited--meaning very poor accuracy.

Reportedly, a major issue with the gun was unpredictability.

A user might pull the trigger to fire the Apache, but instead the weapon would explode in the person's hand.

Wait... firearms need to be reliable?

Hmm.

I can see where that led to the Knuckle Duster's demise.

Talk about how a loud boom and a trip to the ER could just ruin a weekend for Mr. Gangster.

--------------------------------------------

You can view NYC's police photo collection, by clicking here

14 comments:

ladyfi said...

That is a terrifying gun!

Bijoux said...

I could see someone pulling that out of a box and having no idea what it is!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It looks pretty shady.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Aha... is this a case of "you reap what you sow"?

Thanks for starting my day on an amusing note!

Pat Hatt said...

Poor gangster's become Captain Hook. Really feel for them lol

Chrys Fey said...

I've never seen a Knuckle Duster before. I like the look of it and the idea behind having multiple weapons in one, but having your own hand blown off is not good. Not good at all.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
That's does an intimidating factor to it,m esp. for those in the 1800s...
Reliable...could be with some "tweaking":...
Kinda reminds me of the WW1 tranch knives - (3 weapons)...knife, spike on end of grip (skull smashing) and brass knuckles.

Good post.

Have a great weekend & stay safe out there.

Mary Kirkland said...

You know, if I'd seen that on a table at a gun show or something similar, I would have had no idea what it was. That's really neat about the pictures.

Momma Fargo said...

It's still pretty cool, tho. Be fun to practice...on uh paper targets or gel ones. :)

Miss Caitlin S. said...

I hadn't ever seen or heard of such a thing! What an interesting weapon. If you liked shooting things, it all sounded perfect up until your last few sentences. How funny. And I think it's great they have all this available online to look at. That's a rabbit hole I'd have trouble finding my way out of.

messymimi said...

No, i wouldn't argue with anyone who had one of those. Even if it blew up in his hand, the collateral damage could be significant.

lisa said...

And somebody thought this design was a GOOD idea? Must have looked much better on paper. But, fascinating to know!

Secret Agent Woman said...

That is one creepy looking gun.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's one scary looking gun.

(This comment may show up twice - I can't tell if it posted.)