A pistol sword is a sword with a pistol or revolver attached, usually alongside the blade. It differs from a rifle with a bayonet in that the weapon is designed primarily for use as a sword, and the firearm component is typically considered a secondary weapon designed to be an addition to the blade, rather than the sword being a secondary addition to the pistol. In addition, the two components of these weapons typically cannot be separated, unlike most bayonet-fixed rifles.
Historically, some flintlock pistols of the 17th and 18th centuries were constructed as gun-swords, with the barrel of the pistol attached to the side of the blade of a shortsword or dagger. A shell guard protected the firing mechanism when it was used as a sword. These were used by French and German hunters to kill wounded wild boar. Examples of these weapons can be found in the armoury of Wawel Castle (Kraków, Poland). Similar weapons were made in India, including the Katar (कटार), a thrusting dagger, modern variants of which may feature a single-shot pistol built into one side.
In 1838, the United States Navy developed the .54 caliber, single-shot smoothbore Elgin pistol, which was equipped with an 11.5-inch Bowie knife blade and was intended for use by boarding parties; it was the first percussion cap gun in naval service, but only 150 were made. The Navy specifically intended them for the Wilkes-South Seas expedition. Reportedly, in 1840 a naval landing party used the pistol to good effect when Fijian warriors attacked the sailors on the island of Malolo. A few Elgin pistols were still in use during the US Civil War, but proved unpopular. The Navy quickly replaced them with the M1860 Cutlass, which remained in service until the 1940s. Some found their way into civilian hands and some ended up in the Old West.
Pinfire cartridge gun-swords were produced in Belgium during the mid-19th century, although in limited quantity. These custom-made weapons were sometimes used by European officers and featured a loading gate behind the basket hilt. In 1866 T Rauh of Solingen filed a United States patent on the design of a 9mm caliber pistol sword with a 32in blade.
During World War I, the British manufactured a limited number of Webley revolvers with folding blades, similar in design to the Pritchard pistol bayonet. These were used by officers in the trenches for close quarters fighting as the confined space made it difficult to use a sword. However, few were produced due to the expense and scarcity of raw materials.
A rare variant of the World War II Japanese Nambu automatic pistol was a pistol sword. It is possible that this non-regulation weapon was privately purchased by an officer as only one example is known to exist.
Another notable example of a pistol sword was the Swedish 1865 Cutlass Pistol; 500 were ordered by the government and issued to prison guards. It was a breech-loading 2 shot weapon with a 14in by 2in blade weighing 2.5 lb. A few ended up on the other side of the Atlantic and one became part of Buffalo Bill's gun collection.
In the late Victorian era, some French swordsticks had built-in pinfire pepperbox revolvers to increase their lethality; these were carried by civilians for self-defence. However this idea was far from new; combination swordsticks and wheel lock pistols have been in use since the 16th century.
Pistol swords were not widely used and became uncommon relatively quickly, due to their expense and because instead of getting two weapons in one, one got a heavy pistol and a heavy, off-balance sword, as shown by the poor performance of the Elgin pistol.
Modern versions occasionally appear on the market, however, as novelties or collectors' items, including the Sierra Madre knife pistol.
German sword pistol, 1580s.
Sword cane with wheel-lock firearm from the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen
Dated to the end of the 16th century, this sword cane (already a combination weapon) also incorporates a wheel-lock firearm.
A billao (Somali: billaawe), also known as a belawa, is a horn-hilted Somali shortsword. It served most notably as a close-quarters weapon in the Dervish State, at the turn of the 20th century.Cinquedea
The cinquedea is a civilian short sword (or long dagger). It was developed in northern Italy and enjoyed a period of popularity during the Italian renaissance of the 15th and early 16th centuries.
The name cinquedea means "five fingers", and it describes the width of the blade next to the guard. The blade was heavy, about 45 cm (18 in) in length, and tapered to a somewhat rounded point. The grip was simple with a small pommel, and the guard was curved with the concave side toward the point. There were typically several fullers along the wider sides of the blade to lighten the weapon. The wide blade was useful for decorative etching. The wide blade was also used for attacking rather than the point of the blade.This weapon was varied in size, being anywhere in size from 10" to 28". It was often carried in place of a knife or larger sword. It is depicted in period art as sometimes being carried horizontally next to the buttocks so that it could be drawn laterally from the back. The cinqueda was able to deal cutting blows unlike most other daggers because of its size and shape.Combination weapons
A combination weapon is a close-quarters weapon combining the features of both a firearm and an edged melee weapon. Examples of gun hybrids include knife/pistols and pistol/sword combinations.Flyssa
Flyssa is a Berber traditional sword of the Kabyles tribe of Algeria during the 19th century and earlier. These types of swords come with blades of various sizes from 12 to 38 inches (30 to 97 cm). This type of sword was used to break open mail armour, which was still worn in that part of the world in the 19th century.Gari (sword)
Gari is a sword that originates from Nias, an island off the west coast of North Sumatra, Indonesia. It is a term used for a type of sword found only in North Nias.Gunblade
Gunblade may refer to:
A fictional weapon from the Final Fantasy video game series.
Pistol sword, a rare type of combination weapon in use from the 16th until the 19th centuries.Hunting sword
A hunting sword is a type of single-handed short sword that dates to the 12th Century but was used during hunting parties among Europeans from the 17th to the 19th centuries. A hunting sword usually has a straight, single-edged, pointed blade typically no more than 25 inches long. This sword was used for finishing off game in lieu of using and wasting further shot. Adopted by many Europeans, and in past centuries sometimes worn by military officers as a badge of rank, hunting swords display great variety in design. Some hilts featured a thin knuckle-bow to protect the fingers. Others sported a serrated saw edge on the back of the blade. Still others had small matchlock pistols built into the hilt, with deep firing grooves cut into the fuller of the blade.Katzbalger
A Katzbalger is a short Renaissance arming sword, notable for its sturdy build and a distinctive s-shaped or figure-8 shaped guard. Measuring 70–80 cm long and weighing 0.8-1.5 kg, it was the signature blade of the Landsknecht.Kayamkulam vaal
Kayamkulam vaal (meaning Kayamkulam sword) is a double-edged sword that was used by the rulers and soldiers of Nair aristocracy (mostly in Travancore), in the Kayamkulam princely state of India. An example is on display at the Krishnapuram Palace Museum in Kayamkulam.It is said to have been used by the Kayamkulam Rajas in the 18th century.
Some Nair families such as Velathandethu house (Pallarimangalam), Padanilathu house (olakettyambalam) are keeping kayamkulam vaal as their historical evidence of family.Klewang
The klewang or kelewang is a class of bladed weapon between the sword and machete originating in Indonesia but also found in Malaysia.Langgai Tinggang
Langgai Tinggang (other names also include Langgai Tinggan, Langgi Tinggang, Mandau Langgi Tinggan) is a traditional sword of the Sea Dayak people, originating from Borneo. The name Langgai Tinggang means "the longest tail-feather of a hornbill".Mandau (knife)
Mandau is the traditional weapon of the Dayak people of Borneo. Sometimes it is also known as Parang Ilang among the Bidayuh, Iban and Penan people, Malat by the Kayan people or Baieng by the Kenyah people or Bandau by Lun Bawang or Pelepet/Felepet by Lundayeh. Mandau is mostly ceremonial. However, a less elaborate version called Ambang is used as an everyday practical tool.
Associated with the Headhunting Ceremony, where people would gather to attack other tribes, and gather heads to be used in various festivities, Mandau is both a work of art in itself and a weapon.Niabor
Niabor (other names also include Beadah, Naibor, Nyabor, Nyabur, Parang Njabur Laki-Laki) is a curved sword from Borneo, a characteristic weapon of the Sea-Dayaks.Nimcha
A Nimcha is a single-handed sword from northwestern Africa, especially Morocco and the western part of Algeria, a type of scimitar or saif.
These blades are usually from the late 18th century onwards and are notable for often using older blades. With this variety of possible blade designs nimcha are distinct with the hilts that sport forward pointing quillions, and wooden handles with squared off "hooked" pommels. The cross guard will often have a knuckle guard which starts beneath the quillions and runs to the bottom of the pommel; on the opposite side of the hilt this path is normally continued into a 3rd quillion. These swords bear strong resemblances to the neighboring Arab.Parang (knife)
The parang (; Dusun: dangol) is a type of machete or cleaver used across the Malay archipelago.Parang Nabur
Parang Nabur (other names also include Belabang or Beladah, while older variants are called Pacat Gantung or Pacat Bagantung) is a sword that originates from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Most of this sword is made during the Banjarmasin Sultanate period in the 19th century.Shamshir
A shamshir (Persian: شمشیر) is a type of Iranian sword with a radical curve. The name is derived from shamshīr, which means "sword" (in general). The curved sword family includes the shamshir, scimitar, talwar, kilij, pulwar and sabre.
A shamshir shekargar (Persian: شَمشیر شکارگَر shamshir-e shekârgar; literally, "hunters' sword" or "hunting sword") is the same as a shamshir, except the blade is engraved and decorated, usually with hunting scenes.Surik (sword)
The surik is a traditional sword of the island of Timor. The first coat of arms of East Timor depicts crossed suriks.Wakizashi
The wakizashi (Japanese: 脇差, "side inserted [sword]") is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihontō) worn by the samurai in feudal Japan.