Because when you bring a knife to a gunfight, make sure your knife shoots bullets. The Defender is a single-blade pocketknife that also happens to be a .22 caliber zip gun. Produced in the ’30s, the Johnson Smith & Company’s Defender was a single-shot backup pistol designed to look as inconspicuous as could be.
It says so right in the description. “There are many persons who naturally desire the protection that a good revolver affords, but for obvious reasons do not care to have a sinister-looking weapon laying around,” and “The loading mechanism and trigger are so cleverly disguised that a deadly weapon is about the last thing the uninitiated would take it for.”
We can’t tell you why it’s called a revolver. It’s got no cylinder. It uses a tip-up barrel (rapid loader!) that loads either a .22 Short or Long Rifle cartridge and a trigger mechanism that pops out on the underside of the gun. As far as guns go, even though it’s a single-shot .22, the asking price isn’t too bad at $5, delivery by Express, 100 cartridges for $1, and 100 blanks for $.50. “Great for surprising your friends!”
An interesting point of note is that the Johnson Smith & Company is a novelty catalog. Automatic cigarette lighters, kazoos, costumes and imitation bed bugs join this concealed-carry pocketknife. Clearly the young and young-at-heart were more defense-minded back in the day, as the catalog carries a few other things that make for decent self-defense and home-defense.
Air rifles are a great way to practice your shooting skills without breaking the bank, always have been. The catalog carried a full line of pump guns and lever guns, including the Buzz Barton, which is arguably the most famous air rifle ever made. They also carried bonafide centerfire firearms (top).
And for home-defense you absolutely cannot top the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week protection that is a real live alligator. Yes, that’s correct, actual crocodilians, American gators from the Louisiana delta. Priced between $2.25 and $25 dollars, the alligators spanned from baby to adult, 12 to 60 inches long.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that all of these were ordered by mail. The guns and the alligators. Delivered right to your door.