A blade weapon makes a pretty crappy firearm
by MATTHEW MOSS
In November 1916, John Krasnodemski of Wausau, Wisconsin filed a patent for a modern version of a weapon that had its roots in the late 17th century — a pistol-sword.
Yes, a sword that could fire bullets.
Pistol-swords appeared with the introduction of the flintlock, which offered a more reliable ignition system for firearms — and which was easily mated to the body of a sword.
Initially developed in Europe as a hunting weapon for killing wounded boar and game, the pistol-sword eventually found its way into military circles, although it was never a very practical weapon. The firearm typically has the effect of upsetting the sword’s balance, while the grip angle of the sword’s hilt isn’t conducive to good accuracy.
Despite this, inventors, sword-makers and gunsmiths repeatedly returned to the basic concept through the early 20th century, producing a wide range of single-shot, muzzle-loading flintlocks and pinfire revolvers wedded to blades.
Krasnodemski’s Pistol-Sword is a prime example of the later versions of the hybrid weapon.
The Krasnodemski Pistol-Sword combined a “sword of the usual form” with a striker-fired automatic pistol of an undisclosed caliber by attaching it to the side of the sword’s hilt. The magazine well forms the front of the weapon’s guard — if struck and deformed while parrying, the pistol might have then failed during firing.
The swordsman fired the pistol by depressing a thumb trigger on the right side of the sword’s grip — hardly ideal for right-handed swordsmen. Thoughtfully, Krasnodemski also incorporated “a safety lock preventing the actuation of the firing mechanism.”
It’s unclear whether anyone ever actually built Krasnodemski’s Pistol-Sword, but Krasnodemski did manage to score a U.S. government patent in August 1917.
Originally published at www.historicalfirearms.info.