Smallest of the Small

posted on December 22, 2018

Aside from being the smallest semi-automatic pistol ever made, the diminutive Kolibri also claimed the title for the smallest center-fire handgun cartridge. The 2.7 mm Kolibri fired a miniscule projectile weighing in at just 3 grains. (A .45 acp round is pictured above the pistol for reference.) Its estimated muzzle velocity of about 500 feet per second would have yielded a whopping 1.75 ft./lbs. of energy—a mere 1 percent of the power delivered by a .22 Long Rifle cartridge, which is good for 175 ft./lbs.

Marketed by Georg Grabner of Austria in either 2.7 mm or an even rarer 3 mm chambering, the Kolibri entered the European marketplace around 1914. Early cased examples were sold with grip panels marked fp for Francois Pfanni, the creator of the slightly larger Erika pistol. This particular Kolibri was gifted to the National Firearms Museum by the Raymond S. Suckling Estate.

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.; all have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected]. 



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