For those of us who carry concealed handguns on a daily basis, it’s often a necessity to “dress around the gun” by wearing slightly roomier and less-form-fitting clothes. Of course, carrying a smaller pistol makes this less of a challenge — but how small should you go? Most will settle on a subcompact, while a few will consider pocket pistols with even smaller frames. At the most extreme end of this spectrum is the 2.7mm Kolibri, the smallest centerfire pistol that was ever mass-produced. In a classic Forgotten Weapons episode from back in 2014, Ian McCollum gets his hand (singular) on one of the few remaining examples of the world’s smallest pistol.
The Kolibri, which means “hummingbird” in German, was developed by an Austrian watchmaker named Franz Pfannl and released in 1914. It fires a 3-grain bullet. No, that’s not a typo — three grains. For a quick comparison, that’s 7.5% of the weight of a 40-grain .22LR projectile, or less than 3% of the weight of a common 115-grain 9mm.
This 2.7mm round delivers 3 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, which was reportedly enough to penetrate about an inch into a pine wood board. It was also said to be quite inaccurate, since early-1900s machining technology made it difficult to add rifling to the tiny barrel. Understandably, it seems that this weapon was not well-received as a practical tool for self-defense.
Unlike the simple derringers that are a mainstay of this ultra-compact pistol category, the Kolibri uses a semi-auto blowback mechanism with a reciprocating slide. It even has a removable magazine that holds six rounds. About 1,000 of these pistols were produced before they were discontinued in 1938.
For a closer look at the world’s smallest pistol and some more interesting details, check out the Forgotten Weapons episode below. We agree with McCollum’s conclusion: “It may be insanely impractical, but it’s a great piece of mechanical art.”
Plate Carrier Placards Overview: Part 2The idea of one plate carrier or chest rig with swappable placards is far more attractive than setting up multiple rigs for different uses.Plate Carrier Placards Overview: Part 1The market for plate carriers, chest rigs, and modular plate carrier placards has seen unprecedented growth in the last 10 years.Lessons Learned: Fieldcraft Survival Gunfighter Pistol & Carbine ClassI recently attended Fieldcraft Survival Gunfighter Pistol and Gunfighter Carbine classes that focused on practical shooting skills.Bag Drop: Viktos Upscale 2 Urban EDC Sling BagThis Viktos Upscale 2 sling bag belongs to one of our female freelance photographers, who wears it instead of carrying a traditional purse.Blue-Green Alliance Pistol & Carbine Class ReviewBack in December 2019, I attended my very first formal pistol shooting course, taught by Blue-Green Alliance founders Gabe and Josh (both active Force Recon Marines). The lessons I learned […]Optimized: Glock 45 9mm Carry Pistol ProjectWhen we decided to hot-rod this Glock 45, our goal was a 9mm carry pistol that was clearly custom but remained tasteful.New: Cloud Defensive MCH Handheld FlashlightThe new Cloud Defensive MCH handheld flashlight design, specifications, and approximate release date have been revealed.Video: RECOIL Staff at Finnish Brutality 2022Iain Harrison, the Editor of RECOIL, flew into Helsinki to participate in Varusteleka’s Finnish Brutality 2022 competition.Pocket Preps: Corrosion Resistant Knife Buyer’s GuideIf you work in an extremely humid environment or on the deck of a boat exposed to saltwater, a corrosion resistant knife may be a necessity.