Watch: 1870s Frankenau Purse Gun


Watch: 1870s Frankenau Purse Gun

This is one of the more concealable handguns in history, in that it is built into its own disguise. Move over, Ideal Conceal.

It’s basically a small case, one side of which contained an accordion-style organizer for coins or other necessities, and the other side of which enclosed a 5-shot pinfire revolver which used 5mm (roughly .20 caliber) cartridges.

The trigger unfolds from the case and could be deployed quickly, without opening the case at all. Pretty cool idea (patented in the 1870s), but likely costly to produce and there aren’t many of them still around.

Patented in… both the US and UK, the Frankenau purse gun was a very small 5-shot, 5mm pinfire revolver hidden inside what appeared to be a normal small coin purse. One side of the purse would even open, with several accordion pockets, allowing to to be used for its nominal purpose. The other side contained the revolver, with a hinged plate covering the muzzle and a trigger which would fold up into the body of the case when not in use. Few were sold, and most saw a lot of use, making them pretty unusual to find today.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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