Bizarre Percussion Knife Pistol/Cannon

While browsing the Tortuga Trading Inc1 website I came across this bizarre knife/mini-cannon/pistol weapon. I can’t even figure out how it is supposed to be held. It is such a terrible idea that in comparison it makes the infamous Apache Pistol look ingenious.

  1. The owner of Tortuga Trading frequently appears in the TV show Pawn Stars. 

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.


  • Brian P.

    It looks like you’re supposed to hold it somewhat like a gun, and it’s upside down in the pictures. Basically, it looks like your index finger is supposed to wrap around in the space between the blade and the cannon.

  • Oswald Bastable

    Sword gun- mightier than the pen gun!

  • Greetings from Texas,
    Steve, did they say anything about the calibur of this, er…item? I am guessing the trigger is under the barrel (I mean – where else?) but would love to get a good view of it.

    Like you said, the Apache is starting to look creditable.

  • wright

    looks to me like you’d put it between your first two fingers make a fist then use your thumb for the trigger/ hammer. then again it might be a lot larger than it looks.

  • Chris Gedrim

    I may not be a weapons expert, but it looks like the knife is styled after, or was originally, a Javanese Kris, which tend to be short handled stabbing weapons (unlike a Tantō).

    Working on the basis of it being a stabbing weapon: if you were to hold the pommel in your right hand, so that the barrel was projecting out of your fist between your thumb and fore-finger, you would be able to thrust the blade with a punching action whilst still being able to bring back the hammer with your thumb.

  • Thumb on the cannon, two fingers on other side, either side of the cannon.

    It reminds me of that strange new self-defence pistol that you’re written about.

  • jonmac

    Without doubt a fantasy piece, could be late Victorian at the earliest.

  • Dave H

    My guess is the ball goes in the right hand with the index finger in the notch under the barrel, and the rest of the fingers wrapped around the ball. It’s probably fired by the left hand pulling the hammer spur back and letting it fall. holding the ball would put the blade in line with the forearm, so it’d be in an effective position for thrusting.

    I’m not sure why the guard is so wide, unless it’s meant to be used as a clubbing weapon also.

  • brandon

    I’m guessing you hold it sorta like a set of brass nuckles

  • cal

    I have never seen a more phallic weapon in my life.

  • ThomasD

    The saddle ring really helps make sense of it all.

  • MrTolliver

    I’m guessing you have to hold that sphere, so that your knuckles fit into the grooves in an underhanded grip so your thumb can cock the hammer. Or maybe its a two handed job? I am so lost.

  • kind of makes you wonder what some people were thinking. It looks kind of ok, but not practical at all. Wow, great find.

  • LW

    it seems to me that sphere at “operator” end of device would fit in palm, dagger blade and guard would be in position like knuclkes, and firing mechanism would be operated by other hand/

  • howlingcoyote

    I’m sure that sarah Brady will want to ban this!
    Where is the rail mount, so one can put on a laser, flashlight, scope, foregrip and a bipod!

  • asianMike

    The only thing I can think of is that it is a push knife. You would hold it by wrapping your finger around the hilt and the blade with stick out between your finger (kind of like how you would with your keys before punching an assailant). I’m guess the trigger is connected to the blade so the impact of the blade was suppose to cause to weapon to fire, sort of like the OSS glove pistol.

  • Denny Mulvey

    I agree! One of the strangest weapon ? I have ever seen.


  • Vitor

    By terrible idea you mean awesome?

  • Beaumont

    I imagine that it is held with difficulty, and only fired by the sort of people who can’t get life insurance.

  • John Doe

    This makes pistol bayonets look useful.

  • jimbo

    i’m skeptical of its antiquity and authenticity … there, i said it.





  • atypicaloracle

    It’s a desperation weapon of sorts, meant to be used in very close quarters. As others suggested, the weapon is held with the ball in the palm and the fingers divided on either side of the blade. I’ve owned a very pretty push knife with much the same design, minus the pistol part.

    There’s no trigger, the weapon is fired by cocking the hammer back and then letting it drop. (Presuming this weapon ever fired at all; I’d guess it was a percussion cap weapon if it did.) The idea I’m guessing is that you stab your target and then fire the pistol point-blank into their body. There are some hunting knives owned by wealthy sportsmen that feature a similar concept, a big broad blade with a side-mounted flintlock for making absolutely sure that a critter was dead. I can’t imagine the thing was very practical, but the design at least makes some sense that way.

    And the guard isn’t all that wide. If you picture the sphere in the palm of your hand and your fingers on either side of the blade, the guard would poke out a couple-few inches on either side of your palm. Not sure that you’d want to try and catch a blade that way given your hand is completely exposed, but it does add a little extra “handle” to the thing.