Eight Shot Hand Cannon From Asia

The Hand Cannon. Not the wire winding around the forged barrels.

I was browsing a large historical gun auction at ProxiBid and this cannon caught my eye. It is an eight barrel hand cannon, apparently from somewhere in Asia, and is just 9″ in length. The small size, combined with the fact that each barrel has its own touchhole, makes me think this was the medieval equivalent of a close quarters hand gun.


It would nave had a wooden pole attached to the end. The operator would hold the pole under their arm and rotate it in order to access the touch holes. The very short and small caliber barrels combined medieval-quality gun powder would have made this an inefficient weapon. I suppose it could be used as a mace or club in a pinch, although the wire winding does not look like it could take a lot of damage.

The opening bid on this is $125 with an estimate value of $500-$800. The auction is on July 19 at 9 AM Eastern.

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.


  • Zachary marrs





  • gunslinger

    so how does it work again? the pole would beccoming out from the “top” in the first picture, thus making it the “stock?”

    then the box in the second picture was the business end? user would light each barrel from where the pole connector “bends” to the barrel?

    • yes. Except I think each barrel needs to be ‘touched’ individually.

  • Timothy G. Yan

    It’s designed for shooting Barbarians off their steppe ponies.

    • Dieter Schaumer

      God damn mongorians!

      My deepest apologies.

      • None of your 13th century politics here!

        • Zachary marrs

          Party like its 1230 bro.

      • Stand Darsh

        The reference made me laugh.

  • bbmg

    Seems remarkably cheap in the context, any indication of how old it is and the circumstances of its recovery?

    • It does seem rather cheap. But then I have no idea how many of these show up in auctions. The Chinese equivalent of arrow heads?

      • Nathanael S.

        Any fan of Deadliest Warrior could tell you this was the staple of the rank and file Ming Dynasty warrior. I, too, am mystified by the low price, but it may owe that to its rather degraded and incomplete condition.

        You’re right about the lethality, too. Live-fire testing showed it wouldn’t penetrate European mid-17th century light breastplates at ~10yds when a period European firearm would have put a ball through it with ease.

  • Looks like it was intended to be hafted.

  • davethegreat

    It seems there are three identical ones being sold at the same time, of the same style, in the same condition, for a fairly low price. That screams “replica” to me.

    COOL replica, but replica none the less. There are also several three-shot “Asian hand canons” in the auction, apparently of similar origin.

  • Secundius

    A 13th Century “Volley Gun”.