The Kolb Baby Hammerless — An American Velo-Dog

Oh boy, my local gun show is great! My small town has had a gun show twice now, and both times I have found something fun and interesting for a great price. I’ve gotten some surprisingly good deals that remind me of the gun shows of my youth. One such steal I recently got my hands on is a Kolb Baby Hammerless. This teeny, tiny pocket pistol was slightly hidden at a table, seemingly ignored and forgotten about.

Kolb Baby Hammerless review

After a quick inquiry, a small discussion, and a little haggling, I walked away with what is now the smallest gun in my entire collection. Its appearance was what struck me and I didn’t know very much about the little gun. I had seen them before, likely online or in a magazine, but I never did a deep dive on these guns.

The Origin of the Kolb Baby Hammerless

Guns like the Kolb Baby Hammerless trace their lineage back to the Velo-Dog, a design from France that was originally designed for cyclists to defend themselves from dog attacks. The original guns used the proprietary 5.5mm Velo-Dog cartridge was basically a centerfire .22LR that was slightly less powerful than the 22LR.

The design incorporated a very small size, along with a DAO design with an enclosed hammer and a folding trigger without the presence of a trigger guard. (Although some did have trigger guards and standard triggers.) The Velo-Dog proved popular enough that other companies started copying the design.

kolb baby hammerless revolver
The folding trigger allows it to be carried ‘safely’ by 1910 standards.

The Bossu Revolver is an example of a Velo-Dog clone. It’s ultra-small, and this is where we see the general outline of the Kolb Baby Hammerless appear. The design spread across Europe, and they are typically called Velo-Dogs regardless of who and where they were made. Occasionally they were also called bicycle guns.

By the time they made it to the United States, the Velo-Dog name was dropped. These guns were produced mainly in Philadelphia by a number of companies that seemed to have shared a factory that was passed from owner to owner. There were usually subtle changes and improvements made by each owner. This Baby Hammerless and the Kolb series, in general, seem to be the most common.

The Kolb Baby Hammerless — Break It Down

The Kolb Baby Hammerless matches a lot of the same features of the Velo-Dog. It’s a double-action-only revolver that lacks any kind of hammer. The Kolb revolvers do not have trigger guards, so for safety’s sake, they feature a folding trigger. The trigger is easy to fold downwards and out of the way.

Kolb Baby Hammerless revolver with trigger unfolded
Notice the trigger is right below the cylinder gap.

The whole thing is rather snag-free and very easy to pocket and conceal. If I was riding a bike, this thing wouldn’t slow me down. The revolver is extremely small and holds six rounds of the very anemic and downright cute .22 Short. I won’t say it’s not lethal, but it would be my last choice for self-defense. It’s right up there with birdshot. The little .22 Short can be somewhat tough to find, but I got lucky when I purchased my Rohm and grabbed a small collection of it.

You can load the cylinder through an exposed loading gate or by removing the cylinder. To get the cylinder to spin, I originally thought it required a slight press of the trigger. However, behind the trigger sits an exposed portion of the trigger mechanism. Press it upward, and this releases the cylinder to spin freely to allow you to load via the gate.

Kolb baby hammerless pocket revolver
This little fella is downright cute.

Ejecting the rounds does more or less require you to remove the cylinder, which is very easy. A small latch allows you to remove the cylinder rod and then the cylinder. This makes it easy to pop in and out. The rod that holds the cylinder can be used to eject the casings out of the cylinder.

Shooting the Little Monster

At the end of the very short 1-⅜ inch barrel sits a very small front sight. It’s a good suggestion but doesn’t exactly mean much when it comes time to shoot the gun. The whole thing is only 4.125 inches long and .825 inches wide. The gun is tiny, and your grip is almost a joke. It’s adorable but not exactly designed for accurate shooting.

I can hit a target as long as it’s huge or as long as I’m very close to it. A man-sized target is easy to hit. Where I hit will be the question. I joke, but at 5 yards, I can hit the target, but my group will be about six to eight inches.

Kolb Baby Hammerless loading gate
This little loading gate makes it fairly easy to load the weapon.

The term Belly Gun comes to mind with the Kolb Baby Hammerless. The original design was to defend yourself from dogs, and maybe you’ll be relying on the noise of the gun more than its accuracy and effectiveness.

Using the .22 Short was smart. The tiny guns have no real recoil. It bucks just a bit, but it’s not uncomfortable. Well, the recoil isn’t. Your finger sits right underneath the gap between the barrel and cylinder. You get a little bit of blast, but not too much. The trigger is heavy but surprisingly short. It’s an odd, upward trigger pull rather than a rearward one.

Kolb Baby Hammerless revolver disassembled
The cylinder pops out for easy unloading and reloading.

It’s loud and sounds scary, but it’s clearly not a practical self-defense pistol in 2022. It’s a novelty, and that’s okay.

The Kold Baby Hammerless — Bring It Back

I would love to see NAA bring back the Kolb Baby Hammerless. Well, not the Kolb, but a DAO gun with a folding trigger. It’d be an interesting novelty. Though, I don’t think you can make a DAO gun without a trigger guard these days. I imagine there would be some lawsuit fears. Common sense just isn’t so common these days.

Imagine a slightly larger version of the Kolb Baby Hammerless in .22 Magnum. It would be small and convenient, and fun to shoot. Heck, even a .22LR would be a great little gun in this configuration. Maybe install a very small level of protection between the cylinder and finger for blast protection.

Kolb Baby Hammerless sight
The sight is fairly optimistic.

These Kolb Baby Hammerless guns are cheap little retro guns that are a fair bit of fun. They are not superbly rare. If you like old guns, they can be an inexpensive collectible to add to your gun safe.

Are there any other Kolb owners out there? If so, 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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