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World’s First Automatic Handgun

World’s First Automatic Handgun

Photo credit: Michael Ives

As titled by imaginative artist John Belli, this steam-powered wonder challenges tactical limits with brass gauges for trigger pull, shots per second and even reloads. Could Sherlock Holmes have used such armament to fend off the evil Professor Moriarty? We may never know, but those with a keen eye can easily spot the reproduction Remington percussion revolver or the brass doorknob at the heart of this apparatus. Yes, it’s a piece in a museum. 

NRA’s National Firearms Museum is showcasing “Steampunk Guns,” a whimsical, goggles-clad look at fantasy and reality, embodied in firearm designs drawn from past and future. From 19th-century technology that might have been, our curators have opened the doors to an exhibit where it may be hard to tell what can actually shoot. Victorian science fiction themes and popular culture collide in the steampunk genre, and this temporary exhibition encompasses an exotic mix of dirigibles, corsets, rocket ships and ray guns. You’ll want to see this unique gallery soon, before it slips into an alternate reality. 

The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email nfmstaff@nrahq.org.