A Liquid Pistol? What’s So Special About This Rare Gun?

When this rare Giffard gas pistol is brought into the shop on Pawn Stars, Rick is baffled; so he calls in his guy. They made less than 500 of these guns, and expert Craig Gottlieb thinks there are probably only 100 left in existence.

So what’s so special about it? Typically, guns get their firing power from compressed air. This gun, however, uses carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is a liquid that, under normal temperature and pressure, would be a gas.

When the trigger is pulled, a small amount of the liquid is released. It then expands into a gas and creates a tremendous amount of pressure. That pressure is what forces the bullet out of through the barrel and out of the gun.

French engineer Paul Giffard worked to make powder-burning arms obsolete. In the late 1800s, military leaders predicted that gas-powered guns’ “silent deadliness” could change the future of war. The Chamber of Commerce of St. Tiienne gave the inventor a field medal and $200 as a testimonial of the success.

It can never be a complete substitute for gunpowder, although within its restricted limits it has remarkable merits. Advantages possessed by this weapon are smokelessness, a very moderate report, safety in use, and the preservation of the barrel from fouling. The sportsman, even more than the soldier, will appreciate the lack of smoke and of noise, which might alarm his game, as well as the advantage of finding his gun barrel smooth and bright after 300 rounds

Colt paid $1 million to purchase the American rights to produce Giffard’s gas pistols.

What do you think of Giffard’s invention of a gas powered gun? Would you rather use gas or gunpowder? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!

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