21 Of The World’s Most Bizarre Weapons

Published April 3, 2017
Updated August 25, 2017

If you were trying to kill a lot of people (or maybe sneakily kill just one person), you could go with the predictable choices: guns, tanks, poison, and swords.

Or, you could get creative.

For as long as nations have existed, it seems that governments have been working to figure out the craziest ways to end people’s lives. From cat robots to poisonous umbrellas, here are 21 of history’s most out-there weapons:

Vespa 150 TAP

Vespa Gun
This Vespa scooter was modified for French paratroops in 1956. Though the rifle was meant to be removed from the scooter to aim and fire, it could also be fired while the scooter was moving.Wikimedia Commons

Bat Bomb

Bat Bomb
The United States developed the bat bomb as an experiment during World War II.

The giant case was filled with more than 1,000 compartments each containing a Mexican free-tailed bat attached to small bombs.

The idea was that the bomb would be dropped with a parachute, the bats would be deployed, they would roost in attics, their bombs would go off, and fires would be started in Japanese cities.
Wikimedia Commons

Operation Acoustic Kitty

Cat Weapon
During the Cold War, the CIA came up with a plan to stick microphones in cats' ears and radio transmitters' in their cat skulls in order to spy on the Russians.

Brilliant!

"For its first official test, CIA staffers drove Acoustic Kitty to the park and tasked it with capturing the conversation of two men sitting on a bench," a redacted government memo read. "Instead, the cat wandered into the street, where it was promptly squashed by a taxi."
Vyacheslav Oseledo/AFP/Getty Images

"Who Me" Stink Bomb

Stink Bomb
Who Me was a sulfur stink bomb that the US created during WWII. It smelled like poop and was meant to be used to humiliate and demoralize German troops.

The plan failed since the soldier who did the spraying often ended up smelling as badly as the sprayee.
Wikimedia Commons

Kiss of Death

Lipstick Gun
The Kiss of Death was a lipstick gun created by the Russians during the Cold War. It could shoot one bullet from a tube of lipstick. Wikimedia Commons

The Paris Gun

Paris Gun
The Paris Gun was used by Germans against the French during World War I. Though the giant gun's shells were the first human-made objects to reach the stratosphere, it had terrible aim and was mostly used as a "psychological weapon."Wikimedia Commons

The Krummlauf Curved Rifle

Curved Rifle
The Nazis invented the curved rifle to shoot around corners and over walls. It didn't work, for obvious reasons.Public Domain

Bouncing Bomb

Bouncing Bomb Man
The 9,000-pound motorized bomb was dropped from Nazi planes onto the water. It would then bounce along the surface until it was over a submarine, then sink and explode. Wikimedia Commons

Man Catcher

Man Catcher
This pole weapon was used in 18th-century Europe to pull people off of horses and drag them to the ground. The victim would typically be wearing armor, so the prongs wouldn't kill them. Wikimedia Commons

The Bulgarian Umbrella

Bulgarian Umbrella
This umbrella containing a chamber from which a poisonous pellet could be fired was reportedly used in the assassination of a Bulgarian dissident writer in 1978.

The writer thought he had been stung by a bee and died three days later.
Wikimedia Commons

The Wagh Nakha

Bagh Nakh
The ancient claw-like blades were used in India to slide over the knuckles and be used in a Werewolf-like way. Wikimedia Commons

The Laser Plane

Laser Plane Design
First tested in 2007, the Boeing YAL-1 was a prototype aircraft developed to house a laser system that could be used to destroy targets with concentrated bursts of energy. Wikimedia Commons

The Claw of Archimedes

Claw Of Archimedes
This naval weapon was built by the Ancient Greeks to defend against the Romans.

It's thought that it was a crane/grappling hook that could lift enemy ships out of the water and then tip or drop them.
Wikimedia Commons

The Habakkuk

Habbakuk Design
Developed during World War II, the Habakkuk would have been made of a material called Pykrete, which was a combination of wood pulp and water that, when frozen, could be molded and held up to melting temperatures far longer than ice. Public Domain

The Sun Gun

German Space Mirror
Invented by the Germans during World War II, the planned “sun gun” would have harnessed the power of sunbeams to boil water sources and burn cities. A satellite would have been positioned in orbit with a mirror attached to it that would allow the focused sunlight to be directed at a target.LIFE Magazine

Soviet Explosive Dogs

Soviet Dog Training
This 1931 photo shows a Soviet military dog training school where canines were trained to be strapped with explosives and run under enemy tanks,

Since the dogs had been trained with non-moving tanks, they were frightened during actual battle and, more often than not, ran back to the trenches where they exploded and killed Soviet troops.
Wikimedia Commons

Le Petit Protector Gun Ring

Le Petit Protector
The 19th century gun was marketed to women and had the ability to fire bullets with just enough force to penetrate the side of a tin can. YouTube

The Microwave Blaster

Active Denial System Maritime
The Active Denial System is a non-lethal weapon that would subdue enemy forces or rioting crowds by broadcasting microwaves at a particularly high frequency, causing intense pain and discomfort. Wikimedia Commons

The Harmonica Gun

Harmonica Gun
Though this weapon - invented in 1834 - does not actually make music, its sliding magazine chambers oddly resembled those of the harmonica. Wikimedia Commons

North Korean Flashlight Gun

Flashlight Gun
The flashlight gun was discovered in the toolkit of an undercover North Korean assassin in 2011.

There was also a poisonous ballpoint pen.
YouTube/CNN

The EXACTO Device

Exacto Design
The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or EXACTO for short, is a device that is being developed by DARPA to increase the accuracy of military snipers. An EXACTO round, once fired, would be able to combine sighting technologies with real time maneuverability in order to direct a bullet to a target after being fired.Wikimedia Commons


Next, check out the 23 craziest Nazi weapons ever invented. Then, learn what seven wartime inventions you probably use every day.

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