European online auction house Catawiki has a rare French-made pinfire revolver up this week that provides a modicum of self-protection in a handy bauble.
Although the auctioneer describes the gun as “A beautifully made and intriguing fantasy piece,” the French-made Le Petit Protector was the first documented example of a functional ring gun.
The frame of this manually operated pepperbox revolver is a ring made from German silver. Placed atop the ring, where a stone would be on a normal piece of jewelry, is a fire-blued steel recoil plate that serves as the base for a cylinder full of actual, live rounds that could be fired while wearing the piece on the hand.
They were sold with a five, six, or 7-round cylinders in either 2mm or 4mm pinfire. In terms of size, the 4mm guns had a cylinder about as wide as a nickel while the 2mm had one closer in size to a dime. The “pinky pistol” up for grabs is one of the six-shot 4mm varieties.
Velocity generated through such a pipsqueak round fired from a non-existent barrel would likely be about that of a spitball from a fourth grader, but it at least would give a ruffian a moment of pause. Besides, there are always five more shots available to help change their mind if they were still thinking about it after the first.
The auction is currently up to £2,060 ($2,929) and is set to run out in two days.