Have you heard of a harmonica pistol? How about a gun to shoot around blind corners? The need to kill people during wars or even just to protect your country or territory calls for creativity, and it’s safe to say firearms makers were certainly creative in coming up with inventive and perhaps even unsafe firearms to bring into battle. Here are three of the most creative and weird firearms in history:

Krummlauf

German rifles, including the STG44 assault rifle with Krummlauf and a G3 battle rifle. (Joe LoongCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Wish you could shoot your enemy from around the corner without risking exposing yourself? Say no more!

Literally translated to “curved barrel,” Krummlauf was an attachment to Germany’s  Sturmgewehr 44 rifle during World War II. Not only that, but it also came with a periscope sighting device so that you could still aim at your target. There were also varying versions of degrees depending on your needs: 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90° bends, although it was the 30° that was produced that most. This idea was also applied to tanks to cover dead areas during close-range assaults. You see, troops could effectively take out panzers during WWII as long as they could get right up to the tank, unbothered whether they would survive or not. The Germans depended on their infantrymen to make sure that no enemies could get close and climb up on their tanks. If that didn’t work and Russian troops climbed on the tank, the tank commander would unbutton his hatch, slip out and angle krummlauf, and then hose the enemy troops off without exposing himself to enemy fire or maybe even bothering to get out of his seat… ideally.

The thing with this seemingly brilliant idea was that the curve on these barrels caused the bullets to shatter, causing an unintended shotgun. To try to reduce the pressure built up by gasses once the bullets were fired, designers experimented with drilling small vent holes. That didn’t help much, and the krummlauf’s life span was still short. Predictably, there wasn’t much of it produced.  The recoil must have felt weird too, jerking to right pretty hard we expect.