From the suave secret agents of James Bond to the agile spies of Mission: Impossible, popular culture has long fascinated us with tales of espionage and the intriguing gadgets used by fictional spies. But how much truth is there behind these fantastical inventions?

In this article, we’ll explore the reality behind five bizarre concealed weapons associated with spies, from lipstick guns to cigarette darts, separating fact from fiction and uncovering the surprising history of these peculiar yet extraordinary weapons used in real-life missions.

Lipstick Guns

This one’s for the badass lady spies hiding within innocent-looking cosmetics. Lipstick guns were compact firearms disguised as beauty products used by KGB operatives during the Cold War. These covert weapons allowed spies to maintain their cover while carrying a concealed firearm, providing them with a discreet means of self-defense or offense in critical situations. While a lipstick pistol may seem like a creation straight out of a spy movie, it was indeed an actual invention used by intelligence agencies during the mid-20th century. It was cleverly designed involving a hollow tube that housed a small caliber pistol, complete with a trigger mechanism disguised as the lipstick’s cap. When triggered, the unsuspecting target would not know the seemingly harmless cosmetic product could discharge a deadly projectile. Nonetheless, you only got one shot—one chance to deliver the ultimate “kiss of death.”

Lipstick Pistol (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Cigarette Darts

Cigarette darts are yet another peculiar tool in the arsenal of spies. Disguised as ordinary cigarettes, these specially designed projectiles could be loaded with a tranquilizer or poison, offering a covert method for incapacitating or eliminating targets without arousing suspicion. This inconspicuous tool may sound like a far-fetched creation from a spy novel, but it was, in fact, a real weapon used by spies. Its discreet and covert nature made it a valuable asset in situations where subtlety was paramount. The seemingly harmless cigarette is modified, replacing the tobacco filler with a hollow tube capable of housing a slender dart or needle, which could be coated with various substances, including deadly toxins or tranquilizers—depending on the mission. With a quick flick of the wrist, spies could launch a dart toward their target, delivering a precise and often unsuspected strike. To the untrained eye, the cigarette dart appeared no different from a regular cigarette, allowing undercover agents to carry out their missions undetected in plain sight.