Homemade pistol made from 20mm cartridge

This pistol belonged to a member of EOKA, a group who fought against the British and Turkish for Cypriot independence during the 1950’s.


The barrel on the pistol is a 20mm cartridge case! I think the general idea was to pack a very small charge of blackpowder at the back of the “barrel” by the touch hole and jam some sort of projectile in the front, sort of like a blackpowder cannon. As the text in the above photo says, it would have need to be held right up to the victims head.

I do wonder if it was ever fired because a cartridge case is not designed to hold up against pressure, it is designed to expand. I suspect this would do as much, if not more, damage to the operator than it would to the intended target.

Hat Tip: weissent @ MP.net

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Brad

    A small charge of black powder, wadding and a few buckshot pellets might have made for an effective load, though no more than a few feet range.

  • Matt Groom

    Necessity is the mother of all invention.
    Sloth is the father.

  • Mu

    Makes me wonder if this was not just a farmer’s solution to bird removal. It probably survived ignition of a black powder charge with no projectile, basically an oversized “weinbergpistole”, or small boeller.

  • Carl

    Let’s hope the base of the cartridge holds up…

  • Carl

    I don’t know about this touch hole business… It sounds kind of indecent if you ask me.

  • Squidpuppy

    I’ve seen pictures of this thing in numerous books now, notably in a DK book on firearm history; I’m very suspicious of it.

    None of the sources I’ve seen said much more than it was taken from this mythical EOKA partisan. Was it ever fired? Did the EOKA guy claim it was intended as an offensive weapon? Mightn’t it have been nothing more than a magical morale totem? Who knows but it wasn’t a toy the guy made for his kid? I wouldn’t put it past the Brits and/or the Turks to have created this thing as disinformation propaganda.

    It’s 1950 on Cypress, not some back water tribal locale in the middle of a jungle steeped in cargo cult mentality – these guys would’ve seen WW2 all around them only a few years earlier; would anyone really have been so unsavvy as to think this thing was a viable firearm? Perhaps only picture book publishers…

  • HashiriyaR32

    Haha!! I actually have the book that this image was a scan of!

  • I would theorize that this weapon was only intended to be used once. Recall the ‘liberator’ pistols made and distributed in small numbers by the US.


    You load it with a single, modest charge and ambush a lone enemy soldier. One shot at very close range and you can take that soldier’s weapon and ammunition.

    Given that the case only needs to hold up to a single shot, I don’t think that the idea of this pistol is totally insane in the context of someone who believes that they are fighting for their freedom.

  • A big thank you for your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  • Sam Suggs

    Ive noticed that most solgiers regardless of their nationality are facinated with improvised enemy weapons specifically firearms I suppose it has somthing to do with a desire to see desperation in your enemy. thoughts?

  • yiannis