Mini Key Guns for Jailers

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Most guards today don’t actually carry firearms, unless they’re isolated away from the prison population. In the old days however, prison guards needed a little backup power while using both hands to open cell doors. Hence the creation of jailer key guns, a cell door key that doubled as a primitive one-shooter. These “turnkeys” were filled with gunpowder that would fire the miniature key-pistol in case there was any trouble from the prisoner when the cell door was opened. They may not have been too effective, having only one shot, but it was enough to discourage the plans of potentially dangerous prisoners.key-guns-jailers-used-keep-prisoners-check_w654
Since most of the key guns were thrown in rivers and swamps after prisoners took them during escapes, they are now very rare and only line the pockets of antique collectors.keyj
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2 thoughts on “Mini Key Guns for Jailers

  1. dborys says:

    Is that a .22 bullet, I wonder? You’d have to shoot that in just the right place to stop a determined prisoner. 🙂

  2. Francina says:

    interesting article, thank you for sharing.

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