The 6 Most Ill-Conceived Weapons Ever Built

#3. The Ridiculous FP45 Liberator


The French Resistance is one of the most famous guerilla organizations in history, and the one thing keeping the French from looking totally incompetent during the biggest war the world has ever known. The United States really wanted to help them out, but they also wanted to not spend a lot of money doing it. Thus, the FP45 Liberator was born: a weapon specifically designed to be low in cost and easy to mass produce.

The average cap gun today has a higher build quality.

The Liberator was also seemingly designed to suck balls.

First of all, the gun had an effective range of about 25 feet, which coincidentally is about as far as you could throw it. The idea behind it was that a resistance fighter could use it to sneak up on an unsuspecting Nazi, shoot him at close range and then steal a weapon that didn't completely suck.

If all the Nazi was carrying was a corkscrew and some lint, you were still trading up.

However, if you missed that first shot then you were completely fucked, because the Liberator was a single-shot gun. In order to reload it, you needed to force a wooden dowel down the barrel of the gun and retrieve the spent shell casing, which is never something easy to accomplish when there's a pissed off German coming directly at you.

To top it all off, the gun was shipped in a cardboard box with a comic strip instruction manual:

And a little sign saying "Ages 4 and Up."

It's like they took some cheap toy guns from the dollar store and retrofitted them to fire live ammo. Despite all the obvious shortcomings, the U.S. government actually produced a million of these guns with plans to secretly drop them all over occupied Europe. Historians claim that only a few were actually used by resistance fighters, probably because it was very hard to carry one of these things without feeling like someone at the other side of the Atlantic was laughing at you.

"Hahahahahahahahaha, oh shit, hahahaha"

#2. Canada's Useless World War I Rifle

It turns out a lot of the world's most inept weapons are a direct result of England being a jerk to its colonies. When Great Britain told Canada to provide troops for the war effort back in World War I, Canada happily obliged. When the Canadians asked the British for weapons to equip themselves with, however, they were told to bugger off. So, with no other choice, they sent their forces into battle equipped with a gun 100 percent made in the land of the maple leaf: the Ross Rifle.

Via Vaarok
The hollow stock holds a small, emergency supply of poutine.

The Ross Rifle was a fine, reliable weapon ... as long as it didn't get dirty or wet. Then, because of various design flaws, it turned into a useless piece of shit and a serious threat to the life of the person who fired it.

"We're proud of you! But we still buy our weapons from the lowest bidder."

Like many weapons of the day, the Ross Rifle didn't handle dirt and grime in its inner workings very well. Unfortunately for the Canadian troops, wars tend to be fought in rather messy places, which meant that their rifles were constantly jamming and misfiring. Cleaning the rifle required the soldier to completely dismantle the mechanism -- which sucked for them, because the parts were extremely difficult to take apart, even more difficult to put back together and remarkably easy to break. For instance, when the rifle was fired, the bayonet on the end would often go with the bullet, falling right the fuck off.

If that soldier had been using a Ross, the bayonet would have ended up in his foot.

And that's not even the most dangerous thing about the Ross Rifle: it could also end up shooting the soldier in the face (the wrong one, that is). You see, when the gun was dissembled for routine cleaning, it could be put back together so that the bolt would fail to lock, but a round could still be fired from it. This horrifying design flaw could result in the bolt flying out the back of the barrel at about the same speed as the bullet.

Via Service Publications
And you can see how this could be a problem.

In the end, most of the Canadian troops ended up dumping their useless rifles in the battlefield and scavenging the weapons of dead British soldiers. The Ross was still favored by snipers, though, since under good conditions they were very accurate -- and also because snipers have a death wish, anyway.

The only job sexier than "sniper" is "astronaut sniper."

#1. The Gun Shield

The Walters Museum

In the mid 1500s, Italian gunsmith Giovanni Battista believed he finally answered the question men had been asking themselves since the invention of guns: "How can I shoot the bastard in front of me without giving him a chance to shoot me back?" In 1544, Battista displayed his fantastic invention to King Henry VIII, who was so impressed that he immediately ordered 100 of them for use by his personal bodyguards.

The fantastic invention? A shield with a pistol sticking out of it

Via Royal Armouries, The Independent
Needs more barrels.

On one hand, the obvious advantage of shaping your gun like a shield is that it offers you the same protection as one. On the other hand, shields are also heavy as fuck. They have to be in order to accommodate all that armor that's keeping you from being dismembered. That's one thing they never tell you in the movies, probably because they can't risk giving Brad Pitt a hernia with a realistic prop.

Most of the weight in that fake shield comes from the little motor massaging Pitt's back.

So it's pretty hard to aim a pistol when you're holding up a 30-pound shield, especially when that pistol is the shield. The Gun Shield proved to be impossible to aim unless it was set down on a hard surface ... defeating its whole purpose. Also, all guns back in those days were muzzle-loaded. Once you blew your load, how are you even supposed reload the thing without exposing yourself? The logical solution was to carry an additional shield for those occasions -- and if it came equipped with some sort of gun, even better.

Via Higgins Armory
Behold the Gun Shield ... Shield.

Despite the King's enthusiasm, the Gun Shield was never a hit -- perhaps because it relied way too much on your opponent walking in a straight line as you shot him and agreeing to give you arbitrary time outs.

Read more from Ben at

For more insane weapons, check out 7 WTF Military Weapons You Won't Believe They Actually Built and 7 Hacks That Turn Everyday Objects into Deadly Weapons.

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