National Firearms Museum receives rare CIA Deer Gun

NRA Senior Curator Philip Schreier accepts an original CIA Deer Gun into the museum’s collection from Thomas Ring who also donated a tool room prototype replica that he made himself. (Photo: National Firearms Museum)

The Deer Gun, a refined 9mm zip gun made for use during the Vietnam War-era, is a rare thing today, and the NRA’s Museum just lucked into one.

The National Firearms Museum announced the acquisition of the hard-to-find piece, a donation from Master Armorer Thomas Ring, last week.

“Less than 10 of these are known to exist and this relic example is possibly the only specimen likely to be on public display in this country,” noted the museum, co-located at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.

Produced back in the 1960s by bowling machine maker American Machine & Foundry, the gun sprang from the mind of company engineer Russell J. Moure, who came up with a super simple single-shot pistol for an agency that could neither confirm nor deny its existence. Moure’s simple gun took advantage of the work being done at the time in aluminum and plastics to create a firearm that had a dozen or so components and came away with the Deer Gun. The name was either AMF’s red herring code word for the project or the CIA’s, stories differ, but it stuck.

Real Deer Guns in the wild have gone for over $20K at auction, making the museum’s newest addition to the collection an interesting one indeed.

A file image of a Deer Gun example in its original ornate Styrofoam packaging, complete with instruction cartoon and allocation of “sterile” 9mm rounds. (Photo: Rock Island Auction)

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