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 Gaulois No. 1 Palm Pistol (courtesy

Constitution Arms‘ attempt to reanimate the palm pistol concept has faded into obscurity. Thanks to Rock Island Auctions, frustrated palm pilots can still arm Rosy Palm and her five lovely daughters. (of all people) tell us that “The well-known firm of St. Etienne/ManuFrance, roughly the French 19th century version of Sears, produced the Gaulois. Put into production in 1896, they seem to have fallen out of favor by 1911 . . .  A 3-position safety took a moment to figure out before the gun could safely be squeezed to fire [sic], but this simple 10-ounce a five-shot [8mm] semi auto pistol was perhaps the most effective of all the French palm guns.” Like the world’s most fire-resistant paper hat? Anyway, this one’s not le plus ultra of palm pistols. In fact . . .

They were made in four different grades that varied from the simplest which had plain bluing and rubber grips, to the top grade, (a certifiable pimp gun) with a Damascus steel barrel over a nickel finish.

How much would the Gaulois be worth with pimp provenance? Note: this gun is not to be confused with Gauloises, which are far more lethal.

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  1. It can also be configured to dispense clove cigarettes also, right? Just be certain of which configuration you are currently in before lighting mademoiselle’s cigaretter, no?

    Merde!! Sacre Bleu….

    • Well thank you very much.

      Now I’m going to be pissed all afternoon that clove cigarettes were made illegal by tobacco industry lobbyists trying to protect their menthol market.

      Cloves, grenades, full auto. Everything good is illegal.

      • cloves are still legal. you can buy them online, and Djarum won their appeal with the WTO, about how cloves and menthols are “like products”. doesnt mean they’ll be on shelves anytime soon though.

  2. Palm pistols, knuckle duster “Apache” pistols were interesting evolutionery side notes and dead ends in the developement of the gun. Except for the collector, there’s nothing to see here folks. Move along.

  3. I’ve got you your palm pistol right here….
    I can hear the ladies now, “Is that a palm pistol or are you just happy to see me?”
    Me says, “It’s a palm pistol toots.”
    She ends with, “Too bad, bye.”

  4. Interesting, but in this modern age, I guess someone would build it outta polymer like the ZiP .22 or make James Bond-esque, spy-like mobile phone that spits bullets (if they haven’t already, that is…).

    • Guns have been disguised as a lot of everyday items. Cameras, lozenge tins, walking sticks and umbrellas. Recently I saw something on the webz about a combo flashlight-.410 shotgun.

  5. If you want to get into collecting really obscure turn-of-the-century paperweights, check out “velo-dog” revolvers. Cheap small-caliber tiny-frame single-action folding-trigger revolvers, usually made in Belgium (I think) for the express purpose of being carried by enthusiasts of the new sport of bicycling (“velo”) to ward off dog attacks. Seems like it was the early 1870s when cycling really caught on – when something we would recognize as a bicycle today became popular, as opposed to high-wheelers, so the pistols were probably introduced around the same time. At one time I had a reprint of a Sears catalog from the late 1890s, and as I recall if .44-40 Colts and S&Ws were $16 and breaktop Iver Johnson .32s were four or five bucks, the velo-dogs were between a dollar and a half and two bucks. But the idea of making and marketing a gun for the specific purpose of shooting aggressive dogs… PETA would have had a fit.

    • Bicycle guns were made and marketed in this country also. A lot of these were wire folding stock single shot break actions in various calibers. We moderns think of it being extreme to shoot a dog snapping at us. We criticise cops for killing dogs. But at the time of these bicycle guns rabies was a very real and uncurable threat. Being bit by a stray could well be a death sentence.

      We moderns tend to look at things thru 21st century eyes.

    • More commonly nec plus ultra, actually. But since he is playing with words and adding a French twist, who cares?

      • Perhaps on The Continent, but here in The Colonies, I can count on one finger the times I’ve see nec as opposed to the tens of thousands of times I’ve seen ne.

        Just sayin’…

  6. This thing wasn’t semi-auto; It was fully manual. Squeeze a little, it chambers a round from the single-stack magazine and locks the ‘bolt’; Squeeze some more, it cocks and releases the firing pin. Let go, it pulls the case out of the chamber and spits it out. And so on. Probably the only thing cooler is a Chicago Protector, which has a rotary cylinder/ magazine, fires .32 Extra Short rounds and doesn’t extract or eject–the cartridges are loaded into the central ‘turret’ and fire as they align with the single barrel, rather like a sideways revolver. When you’re done, you take out the central ‘turret,’ poke the cases out, reload, and start over again.

  7. I’ve always been fascinated with palm guns and their potential capability for firing BIG rounds with less discomfort. I’m thinking a .44 magnum defensive pistol that will not punish the hand the same way a Bond Derringer would… Or maybe even a 12 gauge shotgun… The fact that the recoil would be going straight into the palm and linear to the arm would negate the muzzle flip that causes a significant part of the discomfort in firing powerful handguns. If I had even a smidge of mechanical smarts, I would try this myself…. but unfortunately I have to contend myself with stories about these antiques.

  8. Number one deep CC pistol on the planet, Kahr Arms .32 NAA. A beast and very concealable. Ballistics like a rattlesnake. Quit messing around. Get one!

  9. That’s a nice example of a Gaulois Palm Pistol you have there. I have never seen one with its original leather case. Palm Pistols were quite innovative for the time. As far as effectiveness, I’m sure they were quite effective. And, for the guy who said “move along, there is nothing to see here….”, there is actually quite a bit to see. Far more than there is to see in another 1911 or Glock-a-like. With the Gaulois Pistol, you have a design that is truly unique – not a semi-auto and not a revolver. Thanks for sharing. I know this is not your latest Taurus injection molded Glock-off, and this is disappointing to some. Nor is it a gun you can select for use in Call of Duty – which makes it “worthless” in the eyes of couch-potato gamers. Guns like these were good for two things – close range self-defense and assassinations. They are no longer produced, not because they are ineffective, but because BATFE would likely categorize it as an “AOW”, requiring registration and the same ownership/transfer requirements as do machineguns and silencers. In fact, there is a company that is attempting to make and market a new version of the palm pistol: . We’ll see if BATFE kills this one too.

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