This "who cares if it works, it'll be cool as hell!" approach to gunsmithing has given us such delights as ...
6Lord Horatio Nelson's Gunblade
What, you thought a "gunsword" was just a particularly ridiculous weapon sketched out by the Final Fantasy design team under the pressure of a looming deadline? That up there belonged to British admiral and all-around badass Lord Horatio Nelson, who was responsible for leading his nation to some of the most decisive naval victories in British history. In 2012, bidders lined up to purchase the very weapon used by Nelson to shoot-stab enemy combatants during the Battle of Trafalgar -- his last-ever engagement.
Lemuel Francis Abbott
Spoiler: The French lost. Nelson kicked butt.
Developed by weaponsmith H.W. Mortimer, the sword-pistol features a 25-inch blade with an attached tap action flintlock mechanism. Imagine Lord Nelson squaring off in a duel with a Spanish marauder, each man posing with his blade, before Nelson just pulls an Indiana Jones and shoots his ass.
Caters via lebanontimes.com
We have no evidence that actually happened, but how could it not?
In 1805 -- and despite his ridiculous weapon -- Nelson was incapacitated by a bullet that entered through his shoulder and passed through his spine. He died several hours later, and his fancy gun-sword was relinquished to Sir Thomas Hardy, the captain of Nelson's flagship, the HMS Victory. History does not record whether or not he was ever able to behead someone and then shoot the severed head between the eyes as it flew through the air, but let's assume he was.
Caters via lebanontimes.com
And that person left the mortal realm knowing they had died the most awesome death possible.
The gunblade was displayed it at the National Maritime Museum in London before it was sold at auction for a cool 11,000 pounds. And yes, before some smartass points it out, the sword-pistols weren't very effective in battle. They ended up as a novelty brandished by officers of high rank, useful only when Nelson couldn't be bothered to manually remove the fools who had so peskily found themselves lodged to his blade. But who cares? It's a SWORD that is also a GUN. The moment you tell somebody you own it, you've won the only battle that matters.
5The Mace Gun Used by Henry VIII
via The Independent
This little treasure is from the arsenal of Henry VIII, who will be making multiple appearances on this list.
Hans Holbein the Younger
As well as the upcoming "badass pieces of cutlery" list.
You might be surprised to learn this, but Henry VIII was sort of a dick. After all, there's his axe-shaped distrust of divorce proceedings, penchant for gluttony whilst his kingdom starved, and his bizarre bespectacled-demon mask. Oh, and the fact that, in a move that surely put everyone within a 100-foot radius on edge, he substituted his walking cane with a freaking mace/gun combo weapon.
That's right -- alongside the ferocious spikes, the mace played host to several cleverly concealed gun barrels. In the event that the king was besieged by enemies, removing them would have been a matter of simply aiming the mace and lighting a fuse at the end of the handle.
"Hang on, gents -- just give me a sec to find a way to quickly make a fire here in the 16th century."
Sadly, there's no record of him using this weapon, which makes sense given that the concept is, well, not the most practical in the world. But once again, this requires the narrowest possible definition of "using" a weapon -- impressing other dudes at parties is also a "use."