Canadian 12 Gauge Handgun

A Canadian fellow who tinkers in gunsmithing came out with a break open, 12 gauge handgun in this video. He incorporated a top rail to mount various optics, and a small forend to hold the monster handgun. The grip appears to be a rugged large frame rubber revolver grip, that must not make any difference in how much the thing must hurt to shoot! According to STG Tactical Canada, there aren’t any other such firearms registered in the handgun category, and so it appears to be the “Most powerful pistol in Canada”.

The practical uses of such a handgun might just be limited to having an awesome 12 gauge pistol, similar to the practical uses of an IWI Desert Eagle. You could probably hunt with it, but if you can hunt with a 12 gauge pistol then you could probably also hunt with a 12 gauge shotgun due to local hunting laws and such. If you needed something that small for some serious wildlife protection, you might be better off with a large caliber revolver. Although, this thing is almost incapable of jamming, compared to a revolver so that might be a factor as well.

Now, shotgun shell chambered handguns aren’t anything new at all, Ithaca came out with a 20 gauge “burglar” double barrel with a pistol grip handgun in the 1920s, there’s a 12 gauge conversion of the 1911 in Thailand among a number of other inventions, and we even blogged about an odd contraption of a handgun that electronically fires 12 gauge shells from a tube while being semi automatic.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Gerald Dodd

    What is the law in Canada regarding handguns. I have avoided taking fishing trips there because I thought I would be unable to defend myself against bears. On one trip I made to Canada I saw about 35 bears in 5 days including both grizzly and blacks

    • M.M.D.C.
    • Blastattack

      Handguns are only permitted to be used on approved ranges. Unless you are a licensed and registered Trapper, or you can demonstrably prove that the police cannot protect you, you will not be granted an Authorization To Carry to carry a sidearm for self defense.

      • 1leggeddog

        AKa, forget about it.

      • BattleshipGrey

        Is there ANY justified self defense against bears in Canada? I’ve heard that there isn’t and anyone who shoots one in self defense will be in really hot water.

        • kgallerno

          You can defend yourself against a bear or any other wildlife with firearms. Just be ready to prove it, if that is the actual case. However only trappers or geologists will ever be issued a ATC to carry a hand gun in the wilderness. And even then very rarely.

        • Kefefs

          You’re free to carry a non-restricted rifle or shotgun with you in the woods for defense. A lot of people bring those Dominion Grizzly short-barreled pump shotguns as something effective enough, but light and compact. Could also bring a lever rifle or something like an M14.

        • Zebra Dun

          Judged by twelve or eaten by ONE is a good place to start as to choices.

      • Sianmink

        Less reason to carry a handgun when you can carry an 8″ shotgun without any paperwork.

        • Kivaari

          Unless you are from the US. You need a letter to take your registered NFA guns across a state border. We had cops crossing that had to leave their handguns on this side of the line, while the MP5 was cleared to go. Go figure.

      • Joshua

        Bear Baiters can also get Authorization to Carry, couple other profesions as well, whether a visiting American can get one? I doubt it.

    • Nicks87

      I’m sure a lever action 45-70 would be legal to take with you and would work just fine against bears. Much better than a pistol I would think.

    • The Bellman

      Okay, people laugh about using pepper spray instead of a gun to ward off bears, but it is honestly the better solution.

      Unless you’re a (combat ready)crack shot and you’re carrying a powerful automatic rifle with the proper load, if you’re actually in a position where you need to defend yourself against a bear (that is to say, you spook one by getting within ~4 meters) it *will* kill you long before you kill it. Shooting it will actually make it *worse*, as you transition from a territorial/scared bear to an enraged, wounded bear out for blood. The bear spray on the other hand, will quite likely make the bear disinterested as opposed to mortally enraged, and also temporarily blind and unable to pursue.

      Obviously, the bear spray won’t save you from the rare rogue bear or being on the same planet as a mama bear with her cubs, but unless you’ve incurred the wrath of any gypsy mystics one is incredibly unlikely and the other avoidable most of the time.

      This isn’t to say you *shouldn’t* carry a gun into the wilderness, duh, but if you think you’re going to be taking on any bears I suggest you bring bear spray *in addition* or at least up your game from a handgun (got a .50 AE?)

      • I don’t think you know what you are talking about. You should get some experience with killing bears before you advise people about protecting themselves from them.

        Bears do not automatically kill people they encounter.

        • The Bellman

          Well perhaps I was unclear:

          Shooting the bear is only going to escalate what is otherwise a nonlethal territorial encounter, and unless you really know what you’re doing and are packing a lot of heat you aren’t going to kill the now enraged bear. That’s why we have bear spray.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Most interesting thing- Every person that held and fired that hand cannon came away with a huge smile on their face.

  • Tassiebush

    I’d love to see how sore things are the next day after firing that.
    Happy new year everyone from an hour and ten minutes into 2016

    • Nashvone

      I would think that they would be okay with only pulling the trigger once. If they emptied a box of shell, it would be a massively different story.

    • Marty Ewer

      Still 2015 here. 🙁

  • Bradley Jones

    one would need a federal tax stamp to own in USA for a short barreled (aka sawed off) do to barrel and over all length

  • Captain Obvious

    That appears to be a cut down H&R or NEF shotgun, which in the US would be a SBS (short barrel shotgun) and require a stamp.

  • iksnilol

    Canada: The place where a Margo is more regulated than a 14.5mm rifle.

    • Canada, where you can have an unregistered M1A or SG542 but FAL’s and G3’s are banned.

      Canada, where the Vz.58 is basically the national weapon but AK-pattern weapons are banned.

      Canada, where a Desert Eagle is legal but a .32 PPK is banned.

      Canada, where the AR-15 is too scary to be shot anywhere but a range, but an SG550 or Tavor can be discharged anywhere it’s legal to shoot firearms.

      Canada, where the GM6 Lynx can be posessed without a registration but the Barret M107 is prohibited.

      Ugh. 😐

  • kgallerno

    I have no idea how this pistol shotgun is classified as restricted in Canada. All it is, is a cut down shotgun wich would make it illegal. The guy’s statement in the video makes no sense to me.

    A purpose made 12 gauge pistol that meets the 4.2 inch barrel length would be legal assuming it could get a FRT number . The one in this video certainly isn’t that.

    • Riot

      This sawed off shotgun is illegal since it is too short

      better saw off some more to make it legal!
      bizarre logic

    • Michel_T

      If you watched the video, when these shotguns were brought initially brought in, the overall length was too short to be non-restricted. So they got re-classified as restricted.

      once restricted, it is perfectly legal to cut the barrel… as long as it’s over 106 mm.

  • Bill

    A revolver “jam?” I know in some cases of heavily recoiling revolvers that bullets have jumped crimps, tying up the gun, but no one’s ever been et by a bar because of it that I know of. I’d spend the bucks for a Serbu.

    Every police property room I’ve been in has a couple of guns identical to this, except for the furniture.

  • Y-man

    Rifled barrel?

    • Sianmink

      No, it’s Canada, and their shotgun laws(in regards to single and doubles at the very least) are very permissive, moreso than here in the USA.

      • Y-man

        I mean: with them getting such accuracy at 20 to 25 yards from what I see: from a 3-inch barrel: could it be that the barrel is rifled?

        • Sianmink

          I doubt it, as rifling that short wouldn’t make much difference anyway.

  • maodeedee

    If I were going to go to the expense of paying the federal tax for a short barreled shotgun, I’d make it a side by side and I’d make it a 20 guage. — more compact, lighter weigh, less recoil, but still very formidable.

    • Michel_T

      There are no special tax in Canada for such firearm. It’s either restricted (for range use only) like this pistol… or it’s not.

    • Kivaari

      It’s better to buy one already existing. It costs an individual $200 to make a smooth bore pistol, but then only requires $5 tax after that. A factory made Ithaca M37 Stakeout has a $5 tax.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    In the US you could buy a TC Encore frame and a 12ga barrel and pay the $200 tax to make an AOW so that you could cut down the 12ga barrel and install this.

    Would be legal in places like CA that prohibit SBS’s.

    Using a TC frame would allow you to still swap barrels to shoot normal cartridges so it’s not just a 12ga 100% of the time.

  • JD

    This makes me uncomfortable. Guns aren’t toys.

    • Kivaari

      Guns can be toys for most of us. Big boy toys (or big girl) are one of our most loved traditions. There’s nothing stopping you from having loads of fun with an AR15, and packing it in your patrol car for work. Fun and Gun go together.

      • JD

        That’s irresponsible.

        • Kivaari

          Why? Have you ever competed in IDPA matches? Other sports like 3-gun matches? In the old days we did PPC. Practical Police Competition. It is great fun to use guns in the run and gun matches. It builds skill levels that practicing boring square matches can’t deliver. If having fun shooting seems like it is irresponsible then there are millions of American shooters wasting their time in the shooting sports.

        • Kivaari

          JD, you need to lighten up.

  • Nils

    So essentially it’s a howdah pistol.

  • Old Gringo

    When I was a kid I sawed a 12 gauge single barrel off to the legal limit with an 18.25 barrel and overal length that was legal. It weighed about 4 lbs as I recall and recoil was memorable…now I have a little stainless Rossi model 92 in 45 Casull that is nearly as short and weighs 5.8 lbs which I find has much more recoil that the single 12 and hold 10 rounds and is easy to carry with a sling and is legal everywhere…..when you put the red dot on top of his gun it gets thick and harder to carry…..and my 45 Ruger Bisley with 5.5 inch barrel with bear loads weighs less than 55 ounces and has 6 rounds,……just not sure all these inventions have much practical use outside range fun….now if you want that option, go with a double barrel…IMHO

  • Kivaari

    Almost 45 years ago I was part of a drug task force. The ARF donated several 12 ga. single shot pistols to the group. Several guys had a clip on the pistol grip that hung from the strap on their shoulder holster. I never bothered. The 30 years later our long retired sheriff wanted to pass his double barrel pistol before he died. I arranged to do a no tax transfer to our police department. We all shot it, and it wasn’t all that bad. Eventually we disabled it by welding the firing pin holes and boring holes in the chamber. It went for a historical display honoring the old sheriff. He was one of the real lawmen. Fun stuff.

  • Secundius

    I’ll stick with a Short-Shorty, 3-rounds are better than 1…

  • Zebra Dun

    My first thought was “OUCH!” that must hurt to shoot.
    My second thought was, “For combat in a phone booth size arena” and very effective for such I’d say.
    I go with the idea, for a canoe, aircraft survival or camping weapon and I would want a double barrel.
    Give it a laser pointer to aim with and go.