A very simple improvised percussion firearm


Pictured is a type of muzzle-loading improvised firearm sometimes encountered in Russia. The barrel usually consists of a length of steel or copper pipe, either capped off or hammered and folded shut at it’s breech end. A hole is drilled on top over which toy caps are placed and held by a strip of tape. It’s hammer consists of a bent length of metal bar attached to it’s handle which is allowed to snap down onto the toy caps with the aid of an elastic band or tension spring. Sometimes a trigger in the form of a simple hook is added, or more often the user simply pulls the hammer back and releases with their thumb.

Crushed up match heads are often used as improvised gunpowder with a lead projectile or ball bearings loaded in front. The basic mechanism is very reliable and the ignition area somewhat waterproof, offering an advantage over a basic matchlock design.






  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Reminds me of a zip-gun made with a car antenna to fire .22 ammo.

    • derfelcadarn

      When you could buy .22 ammo.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I have 4 K rounds at home, no worries.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Homemade match-head blunderbuss- Darn, I don’t see it on the California approved firearms list. They must be waiting for some demo units…

    • Spencerhut

      Needs micro stamping to be considered for the list.

  • Tassiebush

    Splendidly simple! The examples in the illustration and bottom photo seem to have an extra component above the touchhole. I’m trying to figure out it’s purpose. if that’s a cap holder, weather cover or safety? It might even be for use with another type of primer? I know regular matches will explode if jammed between hard surfaces quickly. Perhaps that’s what it’s about?

    • noob

      I think that sort of nut thing on the end of the stick that the hammer hits is sort of like a firing pin, except it converts the forward motion of the hammer into downward motion that crushes the toy cap-gun cap into the touch hole vertically. I could be wrong.

      I think each of these weapons would be evolving to balance ease of manufacture with some margin of reliability. having a vertically falling hammer would be better (as in the other designs) but they probably made the trigger and hammer for the last gun and realised that the angles were all wrong for the top mounted touch hole.

  • PeterK

    Huh. Surprisingly ingenius.

  • Phil Hsueh

    Interesting, so it’s a primitive form of cap and ball gun with toy caps for percussion caps. Even more interesting that they still sell caps in Russia, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen caps, of any kind, sold here in the US, at least in CA.

    Btw, the possessive form of it is its, with no apostrophe. It’s is an abbreviation of it is.

  • Rock or Something

    When an Obrez Mosin pistol is just too tacticool.