A cool gun can make a movie, or a specific scene, extremely memorable, as was the case when Quentin Tarantino elected to feature two Sedgley Mark II Glove Guns in his alternate WWII history epic Inglorious Basterds.
The single-shot guns, mounted on the back of leather gloves with a plunger for a trigger, were used in the film by two of the Basterds to take out the guards at the door of Hitler’s theater box. What many may not have realized was that the little guns were real.
Not only that, but you can own one—if you have the cash to bid on it at auction that is.
The video above from Rock Island Auction expert Joel Kolander says that the use of the pistol in the film was depicted correctly, but that the circumstances it was intended for were vastly different. The Sedgley was built as a last ditch self-defense weapon for soldiers.
The video also feature the clip from Basterds. Notice the actor “cocks” the glove gun after loading it. The gun didn’t work this way, as the firing pin was reset every time the plunger was released.
“Because of their unusual nature, these guns are thought to have a place in the world of espionage and subterfuge, when in reality, the patent holder, a Mr. Haight…had the common soldier in mind,” Kolander says.
This post from guns.com says U.S. Navy Capt. Stanley M. Haight developed the glove gun as a response to Japanese ambushes against U.S. Naval Construction Battalions during World War II. Haight filed a patent application for the design in 1944 and the Sedgley Company produced it, the story says.
“Haight designed a weapon that could be ready and at hand at all waking hours, so even if a soldier was caught unaware or while separated from his regular service weapon, he could simply ball up his fist and make a good, loud response,” says the glove gun’s description on the Rock Island Auction page. “Additionally, the original patent points out that any concealability was secondary to speed of deployment and actively sought to distinguish the pistol from sneak guns like the Juhasz sleeve pistol or the Woods watch gun.”
A spring loaded plunger runs parallel to, and is slightly longer than, the single shot 2-7/8” smoothbore barrel. Both are affixed to the back of a white leather work glove. To fire the weapon, the wearer makes a fist and punches a would-be attacker, depressing the plunger, and firing a single .38-caliber round at point-blank range.
The post says there isn’t a lot of information about how the glove gun was ultimately used by the U.S. Military but it certainly wasn’t issued. Only 52 were ever made, including prototypes.
This glove gun is expected to be auctioned this month and will likely fetch somewhere between $5,000 and $7,500.