Skip to main content

Tiny Pinfire Pistols - Old School

While very anemic, tiny pinfire pistols could injure someone if shot in the eye, so respect is needed.

Tiny Pinfire Pistols - Old School
A 2mm pinfire with a working flare cartridge and a key chain.

Pinfires and some other handguns come in small sizes, typically measuring about an inch in length and weighing less than an ounce. One that is hard to beat is the 2mm pinfire. Some fire a projectile at a listed 1,000 fps, producing a single foot-pound of energy.

The projectile size is about the same as a small shotgun pellet. While very anemic, it could injure someone if shot in the eye, so respect is needed. I saw a 2mm being fired at a soda can at one foot, and it dented it deeply but did not fully penetrate. Still, I for one would not want to get shot in the eye with it.

A keychain was a common way of carrying them. That way they were inconspicuous and handy to get ahold of in an emergency.

By federal law, it doesn’t seem to be a problem obtaining a pinfire, as they are considered antiques or signaling devices and not firearms. However, in states like New Jersey, for instance, you need a permit to carry or own such a gun. There may be other states that have similar restrictions, so if in doubt, consult with a lawyer who is familiar with pin guns and the laws regarding them.


There are sites that sell the 2mm pinfires, some resembling well-known guns such as the 1911 and the Broomhandle Mauser. Some are quite expensive because a lot of work is required to make a working model, and some are quite novel as well. I saw a 2mm pinfire that has a pocket watch with a Studebaker on the watch. They seem to be popular in Japan and Austria, and a lot of them are made there.


A couple of websites offer pinfire ammo. In addition, kits are available to those who roll their own. From experience, it is a time-consuming project, especially with the smaller calibers.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Handguns editor Scott Rupp fires some Federal Punch .380 defensive handgun ammo into ballistics gel the range for a performance test run.

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

The Kodiak is a long slide 1911-style semi-auto complete with 6-inch bull barrels and chambered in 10mm.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a terrific balance of weight, power and shootability.Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review 1911

Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a...

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice Training

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these...

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades Accessories

SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades

James Tarr - December 14, 2017

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense.Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

See More Trending Articles

More Compact

Walther's new PPQ Sub Compact packs a lot into a small package. Review: Walther PPQ SC Compact

Review: Walther PPQ SC

Patrick Sweeney - June 25, 2018

Walther's new PPQ Sub Compact packs a lot into a small package.

HK shrinks its excellent VP9 pistol to subcompact size. Meet the VP9SK.Review: Heckler & Koch VP9SK Compact

Review: Heckler & Koch VP9SK

Patrick Sweeney - August 06, 2018

HK shrinks its excellent VP9 pistol to subcompact size. Meet the VP9SK.

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low price tag.Ruger Security 9 Compact Review Compact

Ruger Security 9 Compact Review

J. Scott Rupp

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low...

The M&P45 Shield M2.0 pistol with integrated Crimson Trace red and green laser delivers all of the familiar M&P Shield pistol operating features.Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 with Laser Available in .45 Auto Industry

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 with Laser Available in .45 Auto

Handguns Staff - July 31, 2018

The M&P45 Shield M2.0 pistol with integrated Crimson Trace red and green laser delivers all of...

See More Compact

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now