RogerBW's Blog

Some of the Royal Armouries 07 October 2021

Since I was in Leeds, I went to the Royal Armouries Museum.

I didn't have time to see all of it – I could easily spend a day there – but I visited some old friends and wandered about a bit.

Hunting crossbow.

An unusually pretty Walther Model 9. (The labels always start with the technical description, a little unexpected; and while a .25ACP is "of 6.35mm calibre", it was built for the .25ACP, not for generic 6.35mm.)

One of several "Apaches", knuckleduster-knife-pistols. One suspects they were rather more popular for threatening than for actual use, particularly the way you'd have to reverse your grip to use the knuckleduster.

Most of the guns were mounted sideways, but here's one to show you just how big a barrel can look. (Mind you, it was something over half an inch.)

Another Apache in a different shape.

Sterling SMG in remarkably good nick.

And a third Apache. Wavy blades are cool!

You know, I start to think there might be a reason combination weapons have never been very popular.

Ring-trigger derringer.

One admires the mechanical ingenuity to make flintlocks work in the first place, but my goodness the reliability…

Kolibri pistol, believed to be the smallest ever made – firing 2mm ammunition. Alas, they didn't have a scale next to it. Yeah, very small, but desperately underpowered and inaccurate… you could probably discourage someone if you shot them in the face.

Some fantasy weapons, from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Hour of the Gun.

The inspiration for the pulse rifle, and for the Star Wars blasters.

Holland and Holland hunting rifle. Very few uses in the real world, rather more in role-playing games where often something much tougher than human is being a threat.

Pneumatic rifle, reservoir in the (rather uncomfortable-looking) stock.

They had surprisingly few Drillings, and the reflective front glass faced the window…

Gorgeously decorated crossbow-rifle.

Down the shaft. What is the term for this sort of art? Hoplography? Or would that be the weapon as tool for creation of art?

An Anglo-Saxon sword from near Windsor.

Bergmann MP 18 – the weapon all those Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark should have been using instead of MP40s. (They might have had early MP35s.)

Webley-Fosbery!

That very distinctive feed system on a Maxim.

Trench periscope Mauser Gew98. (Not at all clear that this was ever actually useful.)

Sword, Cavalry, Pattern, 1908.

Persian horned helmet, probably ceremonial.

What is it with these combination weapons? The grip would be horrid for pistolling or for swording.

Supposedly, headgear for carrying Deadly Accurate Razor-Sharp Quoits.

Pangolin-scale armour from Rajasthan. (The only known example.)

I feel that the Glasgow Kiss is unlikely to be an effective cavalry tactic.

What makes a polearm more dangerous? More blades! (Er, we want it to be dangerous to the enemy, sir…)

Mother-of-pearl and lacquer on spear shafts presented to Queen Victoria in the late 1800s.

Lorcin L-9, still high in the lists of handguns used in crimes even some years after production ceased.


  1. Posted by Robert at 03:31pm on 07 October 2021

    I don’t know about terms for use of weapons in that fashion but maybe something more from decor than art? I’m not finding anything useful.

    The Magazine and Governor’s palace at colonial Williamsburg have good examples of it through.

  2. Posted by Dr Bob at 04:53pm on 07 October 2021

    Was Games Workshop involved in the design of the Apaches with wavy blades? Those feel very WH40K :-)

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 05:05pm on 07 October 2021

    This is a weapon which makes it clear that the user ranks style well above practicality or effectiveness. I suspect it might be the flick-knife of its day (1890s/early 1900s).

  4. Posted by John P at 07:02pm on 10 October 2021

    It may be urban myth, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that in the first Star Wars film, some of the stormtroopers were actually firing blanks from disguised Sterling SMG's. I think the claim was that you could see the muzzle flashes. But I've never bothered to check the film to see if I could spot them.

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