The Five Most Dangerous Guns [to the Shooter]

All guns are inherently dangerous. Anything that propels a piece of metal at several hundred or thousands feet per second can easily kill and maim. When I say the most dangerous guns, I’m not talking about the most powerful, man-stopping firearms ever created. Nope, I’m talking about firearms dangerous to the user or dangerous unintentionally. That’s what makes these the most dangerous guns out there. 

1. Wamo Powermaster 

Wamo, which is appropriately confused with Wham-o, the frisbee company, produced quite the dangerous little pistol. Wamo and Wham-O are related companies, or… were, when Wamo produced a variety of little single-shot 22LR rifles and pistols. A few of their guns were mocked up to resemble Tommy guns. Another one looked like a dueling pistol of yesteryear. And then, there is the Powermaster. 

Were the other Wamos dangerous guns? Well, I have no idea. After owning a Powermaster,, I know that I can certainly say it’s dangerous. The Powermaster is mocked up to resemble a sporting 22 LR in the vein of the Ruger Mk series. It appears to be modeled after the Daisy 100 series airguns. 

Wamo Powermaster
The Powermaster can Alec Baldwin itself

It’s big, has great grip ergonomics, and a great trigger. Why is it one of the most dangerous guns? Well, it has a tendency to just go off without the trigger being pressed. The manually cocked striker will often just release and fire by itself. Barely anything holds the weapon back from firing, and a slight jostle seems to make it go bang. I own one and don’t trust anyone other that myself to even attempt to shoot it. 

It seems silly, and maybe time has eaten away at it, but I can’t help but feel it’s an internal design flaw. A toy company built it in a time when safety was rather relative. Still, what do you expect for $14.95? That was the going price way back yonder. 

2. Nambu Type 94 

The Japanese were ahead of the curve when it came to firearm concepts. They abandoned the revolver for an automatic pistol. They adopted the first Nmabu pistol in 1904— an early semi-auto pistol chambered in an anemic cartridge. In 1935 they began to field the Nambu Type 94, which serves distinctly as one of the worst military pistols ever. 

The Type 94 not only used the weak 8x22mm round but only held six of them, although you’d only need one to accidentally shoot yourself. The sear bar of the pistol sits outside of the pistol and converts trigger movement to lateral movement to free the hammer. A sear that is positioned on the outside of the pistol is a prime time set up for accidental discharges. The terminology as of late has changed to ‘negligent discharge’ but this is a firearm that could truly have an accidental discharge. 

Nambu Type 94 - Dangerous guns
The Nambu served surprisingly long even with its rather dangerous feature

The Type 94’s manual safety could prevent this from occurring if used correctly, but still, it’s a painfully awkward design. The firearm could discharge while holstered, which takes the challenges the famous Glock leg with Nambu leg. It’s one of the most dangerous guns certainly ever used by a military force, but it’s one of the few more dangerous to the user than the intended target. 

3. Colt Revolving Rifle 

Usually, innovation is awesome. Back in the time when most guns fired one round a minute, a repeater would be amazing. The Colt Revolving rifle took Sam Colt’s famous revolver design and upscaled it to rifle size. This allowed a rifleman to fire five to six rounds before needing to reload. That was quite the firing rate for 1855. 

The Colt Revolving Rifle descended from the Colt ring lever carbine. Like its predecessor, it was both loved and loathed. It was also expensive. When the Civil War broke out, the North purchased a handful, and they actually performed well. That didn’t stop them from being dangerous guns, though. 

Colt revolving rifle
Sometimes it just becomes a grenade.

Revolver rifles are a pain. The gap between the cylinder and muzzle creates a space for burning gas to escape. It often burns the arm and requires a glove or gauntlet to fire like a traditional rifle. While a hassle, it was a compromise of the time. What made these dangerous guns was a phenomenon known as chain firing. 

Chain firing is whenever a cylinder goes off at the same time and turns your Colt revolving rifle into a grenade. This occurred when loose black powder was ignited and sent sparks into the other chambers, also full of black powder. The resulting explosion could seriously injure a rifleman and potentially kill them, with 1850s medicine being what it was. Needless to say, the advent of lever-action rifles and metallic cartridges kiboshed the revolving rifle for serious use. 

4. The Winchester 1911 SL 

There is a long and rather convoluted story about how the Winchester 1911 SL semi-auto shotgun came to be. The long and short of it was that Winchester rejected Browning’s A5 design because he wanted royalties and not just a one-time payment. He took the gun elsewhere, and the patents were so strict and so specific that Winchester had to produce a semi-auto shotgun that didn’t infringe on any of them. 

The Winchester 1911 SL was the result of ten years of building a semi-auto shotgun that avoided Browning’s patents. I wouldn’t say corners were cut, but compromises had to be made. For example, John Browning owned the patent on charging handles mounted to the bolt. Winchester needed to find a way to cock the shotgun without a charging handle. 

Winchester 1911 SL semi-auto shotgun, widowmaker
Cocking a gun by the barrel isn’t very safe.

Winchester decided the best way to cock the gun was to have the user grab the barrel and push it rearward into the action. This cocked the weapon and readied it to fire. The barrel was textured to allow a grip because the motion was fairly awkward. This led to the gun being called the Widowmaker because of supposed stories of people bracing the gun on the ground and cocking it while leaning over the weapon. 

It’s not necessarily one of the most dangerous guns because people are stupid, but because it’s almost impossible not to violate Rule 2 when cocking the weapon. The awkward cocking method makes it impossible to charge the weapon while the weapon is pointed safely into the ground. You can point it essentially in the air, but bullets do come down. 

5. The Aramatix iP1 Smart Pistol 

Smart pistol, my ass. I’m not declaring any gun smart until it reaches Judge Dredd levels of on-board computer. The Armatix iP1 Smart Pistol would supposedly usher in a new generation of safe defensive pistols. Ony an authorized user could fire the weapon. That’s what the promise was anyway. Keep in mind this was a 22 LR pistol, so not exactly a defensive caliber. 

Anyway, the dangerous part doesn’t come from the weapon firing. In fact, it’s the opposite. The system didn’t work. A watch worn by the user unlocked the weapon, but it didn’t work. In testing, the NRA found that pairing the watch to the gun could take up to 20 minutes. Once paired, it took seven push-button commands and 12 seconds to be ready to fire. 

Aramatix iP1 smart pistol - dangerous guns
I will give it points for style.

Beyond the technology sucking, the gun sucked. It often failed to fire and was not a reliable tool. The double-action trigger sucked, and the weapon had to be within ten inches of the watch to work. It’s not one of the most dangerous guns because it will fire. It’s quite the opposite. 

This smart gun is one of the most dangerous guns because it won’t fire when you need it to. That doesn’t even begin to address the gun control concerns the firearm generates with a New Jersey state law prohibiting the sale of non ‘smart’ firearms once the first smart firearm is sold. 

Dangerous Guns and You 

Does it say something about me that I own two of the guns on this list? Maybe, I certainly have a fascination with old guns and poor designs. Don’t get me wrong, I own them, but that doesn’t mean  I trust them. These are the top five most dangerous guns I know of. Did I miss any? Let me know below. 

 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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