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The Worst Guns in History 

Mike Rothschild
Updated March 9, 2020 24.5k votes 4.6k voters 1.4M views 20 items

Among the countless number of firearms designed and built in the last few centuries, a select few lay claim to being the worst. Some are so bizarre that they could have only come from the mind of a madman. Others among the worst weapons were products of necessity, designed and built during desperate times by nations at war. Still a few of the worst firearms in history are new spins on an old product, but just don't work as well.

Bad guns have many differences, but a few key similarities, no matter if it's a tiny Kolibri pistol, a nuclear warhead firing Davy Crockett rifle, a futuristic Gyro Jet, or a ludicrous volley gun. They tend to be hard to fire, bulky, inaccurate, and prone to jamming. They're impractical, often to the point of being pointless. At their very worst, they have a nasty habit of maiming their owners through horrible recoil and flying parts. Whether you're fending off pirates in the 1800s or target shooting in 2015, these are things you don't want in a gun.

Here are some of the worst, most impractical, least effective guns ever made.

1
Chauchat
Chauchat is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Guns in History
Photo: Amendola90/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Soldiers in World War I needed light, powerful machine guns that could be easily moved during attacks, and provide copious firepower for defense. Unfortunately for French troops, they had the Chauchat light machine gun. Its construction was so shoddy that parts weren't interchangeable, while the distinctive magazine had large holes that easily became caked in mud, making the weapon useless.

It jammed easily, overheated, and was impossible to aim. 

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2
Cochran Turret Revolver
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Video: YouTube

With the advent of the Colt Revolver in the early 1830s, a number of gun manufacturers tried to develop their own versions of the iconic revolving mechanism. Likely the strangest was the concept of the "turret gun." The turret was a round disc with holes bored into it that would hold powder and a ball. To fire the next ball, you moved the disc from an empty hole to a loaded one.

It's not the worst theory, but it winds up with the shooter essentially having a loaded gun pointed at them. If the gun misfired, which it did often, the other chambers could discharge - including the one pointing at the shooter. Needless to say, turret guns did not spark the public's imagination.

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3
2 mm Kolibri
2 mm Kolibri is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst Guns in History
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0

A tiny pistol that fired a bullet about half an inch long, the Kolibri (German for "hummingbird") was patented by an Austrian watchmaker in 1910to be the ultimate concealed self-defense weapon. In practice, it was so small that handling and firing it were next to impossible. If you did manage to get a round off, you probably were better off delivering a swift kick to the shin.

The bullet had no spin and no velocity. Kolibri pistols are now collectors' items.

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4
Nambu Type 94 Pistol
Nambu Type 94 Pistol is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Guns in History
Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

While popular with Japanese servicemen, the Nambu Type 94 was plagued with a number of design problems. It was difficult to reload, and had delicate parts that would break easily when being disassembled. The magazine would also fall out if the pistol was jammed in a holster too hard.

But by far the worst problem with the gun was that because of its design, it could accidentally fire without pulling the trigger if tapped on the side too hard. 

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