Le Petit Protector Ring Pistol: A Modern Antique
Le Petit Protector is a ring pistol, made in both 5 shot/5mm and 6 shot/4mm pinfire variations, as well as a smaller version holding 7 rounds of 2mm pinfire, called the “Femme Fatale”. They are mechanically quite simple, with a manually cocked hammer, manually indexed cylinder, and can be reloaded only by removing the cylinder completely. They are made in the aesthetic of 19th century French or Belgian guns, but were actually produced relatively recently.
Some clues to this true manufacture include the English spelling of “Protector” (instead of the French “Protecteur”), the wide variations in fitted case design, the lack of reference to them in books like Winant’s “Firearms Curiosa”, and the fact that they are always found in perfect or nearly perfect condition. If they truly were 150 years old, a substantial proportion of the surviving examples would have significant wear. Just being made recently doesn’t make them less interesting mechanically, though – someone put in a lot of time and effort to make such small, well-fitted, and smoothly operating guns.
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