Wheelgun Wednesday: A New Custom Take On The Apache Revolver

Doug E
by Doug E
Knuckle Duster Revolvers

Thanks for joining us for another edition of TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesday, where all revolvery topics are on the table. This week, we’ll take a look at a custom project submitted by a reader, that he’s dubbed the “Apache Pug” which was derived from the foldable Apache revolver of old that also incorporated knives and knuckle dusters. Rudukai13 set out to explore this interesting topic by creating his own modern version of the Apache revolver, the name of which stems from a violent, French gang “Les Apaches” that chose their name based on the brutal reputation of the American Apache tribe. Les Apaches were also known to carry knuckle duster style revolvers, and the namesake was transposed to the style of revolver designed by Dolne. Let’s take a look.

Revolvers @ TFB:

Modern Apache Revolver


Rudukai13 detailed his intentions in an AR15.com thread and started off by saying that he has two main joys when it comes to firearms: finding the peak efficiency of modern weapons platforms and the exact opposite spectrum of exploring the more eccentric rabbit trails in firearms history. His Instagram tagline sums it up perfectly, “Normalcy is overrated.” Rudukai13 had the following to say about how he landed on the Apache revolvers:

Ever since learning about the history of the Apache Knuckleguns many years ago I’ve wanted to try building one of my own. Recent events conspired and that dream is finally becoming a reality. My project will be based on the popular NAA Pug 22Mag mini revolver, in my case one of the limited-edition “The Dude” models of the Pug, of which only 2,000 were made.

While the Dolne revolver is the most popularly known Knucklegun variant, the intricacies of the folding grip mechanism make it less appealing to me from the viewpoints of cost, complexity, and practicality. Having to stop and reconfigure the weapon, folding/unfolding it in the middle of a deadly confrontation is a dubious manual of arms at best (Full Conceal anyone?). For that reason as well as my own personal preferences, my Knucklegun project will be loosely based on the Delhaxhe revolver variant, with the muzzle of the revolver fixed in the same orientation as the strike face of the impact surface of the knuckles. This affords practical use of the weapon as both a firearm and an impact tool from one universal, unchanging grip.

Rudukai13 eventually contacted Wright Armory with his design request, and they came up with the overall design that integrated the four-fingered knuckle duster with the North American Arms NAA Pug revolver. In looking at the overall layout, Wright Armory did a great job of the two weapons together, both mechanically, and as unobtrusively as possible. Seeing Rudukai13 hold the Apache Pug for firing, it seems like a mostly natural grip, and of course, adds more purchase for the hand than the standard tiny grip of the NAA Pug. The ergonomics seem to take a little more awkward turn when the Apache revolver is gripped for punching, however, I believe that Wright Armory realized a design that stayed within reasonable bounds for the hand to perform both shooting and striking, all while working with the minimal attachment points the Pug had to offer. The Apache Pug uses four screws to attach the knuckle duster, and still only weighs 11.6 ounces unloaded!

Apache Revolver
Apache Revolver

Rudukai13 gave the following range report:

I recently received the completed gun back from Wright Armory and went about function testing the piece to make sure everything was in working order. A trip to the range where the Pug fired dozens of CCI Maxi-Mag and Speer Gold Dot .22 Magnum rounds without a single light strike, failure to fire, stuck case, hitch, glitch, or hiccup of any kind confirmed that the gun was still in fact a functional gun.

Just yesterday I tested the knuckles using a large chunk of frozen ice, impacting it by alternating the front of the knuckle stalls and the pinky knuckle stall for a “hammerfist” strike.

The piece remained firmly in my grasp throughout the testing and proved to be extremely comfortable – and effective – when used as a striking implement.

In all reality, this project was really meant to create a unique and interesting display piece and “man jewelry”, not unlike I think the original Knucklegun designs the build was inspired by. I’m extremely pleased with the way the piece turned out aesthetically, and am further heartened in knowing that it could in fact be a functional pistol or impact weapon should the need ever arise. In short, I accomplished the goals I set out to achieve when I first had the idea for this project:

– A functional mini revolver: check ✔️

– A functional knuckleduster: check ✔️

– A badass, one-of-a-kind, Steampunk pocket jewelry piece: uh-_________ing-check ✔️✔️✔️

Pocket Revolvers

What do you think about Rudukai13’s new custom take on the old Apache revolver? Could this concept catch on again? Would you carry the Apache Pug? Thanks to Rudukai13 for sharing his exploratory venture with TFB! You can follow him on Instagram @rudukai13, or view his original thread on AR15.com, which I recommend as he posts many more photos surrounding his research and of the final product. He’s also got another wheelgun project that we’ll take a look at in a future TFB Wheelgun Wednesday.

If you’ve got some customizing to do, consider Wright Armory. You can contact them through their website, WrightArmory.com. If you’ve just been tempted to explore the world of mini revolvers, you can see what North American Arms has to offer as well.

Doug E
Doug E

Doug has been a firearms enthusiast since age 16 after getting to shoot with a friend. Since then he's taken many others out to the range for their first time. He is a husband, father, grandfather, police officer, outdoorsman, artist and a student of history. Doug has been a TFB reader from the start and is happy to be a contributor of content. Doug can be reached at battleshipgrey61 AT gmail.com, or battleshipgrey61 on Instagram.

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