This Snag-Proof Pistol Never Caught On
John Morrison imagined an easier-to-draw sidearm
In September 1918, inventor John Morrison of Spokane, Washington patented a simple adaptation for sidearms that ostensibly made them snag-proof. The modification also elongated a weapon’s sight radius.
Morrison’s patent claimed to “provide a pistol embodying a simple and inexpensive appartenance designed and adapted to provide a considerable distance between the front sight and the rear sight, to guard the hammer lug against possible accident, to render the pistol capable of being smoothly and easily drawn and to afford a comfortable and steady grip.”
The kit simply added a metal piece that attached to the top of the frame and grip. The extra piece shielded the hammer, in theory preventing a shooter from catching the hammer on, say, a pocket — and accidentally firing it. The piece also had the effect of extending the distance between the front and rear sight posts without actually lengthening the weapon, potentially making a modified pistol more accurate.
The problem was that Morrison’s “appartenance” surely made a pistol much more cumbersome, likely greatly outweighing any benefits for all but a few niche uses. A Morrison-modified gun might have been useful for target-shooting, which was popular at the time.
Morrison’s patent explained that the modification was “applicable to any type of pistol,” not just revolvers. But it’s difficult to see how the metal frame would have fit on a semi-automatic pistol — or why anyone would’ve bothered.
I’ve been unable to find any examples of pistols with Morrison’s adaptation. It appears that Morrison also held a number of other patents, including a luggage rack for automobiles and several hat, lace and button-fastening designs. Hopefully the latter were more successful than the snag-proof gun frame was.