India to Produce 'World's Lightest Gun'

The Indian-made .22 caliber Nidar.

India’s state-run arms factory has introduced a new handgun, with women shooters in mind, that is being billed as the lightest gun in the world.

According to this story from bbc.com, the .22-caliber Nidar weighs a mere 250 grams (8.8 ounces) with a pricetag of 35,000 rupees, or $513.

For comparison to other lightweight guns, the Beretta Model 21 Bobcat weighs 11.5 ounces, the S&W Model 317 AirLite revolver is 9.9 ounces, and the Ruger LCP .380 is 9.4 ounces.

Here are the specs on the Nadir. Get from them what you can:

Calibre: .22

Range: 7 meters (approx. 23 feet)

Capacity: 8 rounds

Barrel length: 40.3mm (approx. 1.6 in.)

overall length: 140mm (approx. 5.5 in.)

Action: SA/DA

The manufacturer says in the story that the Nidar is made with an aluminum alloy with "strength similar to steel."

Why is the government producing these guns? Well, the idea is that “carrying them will make people more confident and ‘fearless.’” An official at the state-run Rifle Factory Ishapore, near the eastern city of Calcutta, said Nidar was aimed at “professional Indian men and women.”

"I believe our customers would be people who travel a lot, who have security risks. They will buy a gun for their personal safety," factory in-charge PK Agarwal told the BBC. He added that he expects it to be popular with women.

However, most places in India don’t allow people to carry guns, even licensed firearms, with metal detectors in many locations to enforce the rule.

Even so, the manufacturer expects to sell 10,000 units this year alone.

In 2012 India launched the Nirbheek, a 500 gram, (1.1 lb.), .32 caliber revolver specifically designed for women and named for a student who was gang-raped in December 2012 and later died of her injuries. Officials intended it to help women defend themselves.