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Handgun development has become relatively streamlined these days, to the point where some would argue that many pistols closely resemble each other. But it hasn't always been this way — back in the 1800s and early 1900s, weapon designers came up with some guns that would be considered extremely unusual by today's standards. In fact, the designer of the pocket pistol below literally called it Unique.
The C.S. Shattuck Unique was a pistol produced from 1901 to 1915, and followed a format that became known as the squeeze pistol. It's small enough to fit into the palm of the user's hand, and designed to serve as a low-profile self-defense weapon.
This squeeze pistol's trigger is actually a large rectangular piece of metal that is squeezed by the user's middle finger. This fires a rimfire round in one of the four barrels, then rotates the firing pin to the next barrel when squeezed again. The unusual trigger, small caliber, and lack of any form of sights means this self-defense weapon would only be effective at extremely close range.
Watch the video below from Forgotten Weapons to see how the gun works, and learn more about its history. Interestingly, this pistol shares connections to the present-day Mossberg gun company.
This squeeze pistol is certainly unconventional by today's standards, but it could've made an effective and unexpected self-defense weapon at the time. This particular gun ended up selling at auction for $1,035.