Mars pistol

The Mars automatic pistol was developed in 1900 and the .45 calibre version was, at the time, the most powerful handgun in the world. But it didn’t hang around for long because, well, as the captain in charge of tests of the gun at the Naval Gunnery School in 1902 put it, “No one who fired once with the pistol wished to shoot it again”. It had an enormously powerful recoil, so much so, that shooting the Mars pistol was described as “singularly unpleasant and alarming”.

Somehow Anna got her hands on two of these monsters and if the kick-back from firing them upset her, she showed no sign of it. You can imagine how deafening they were and perhaps, therefore, will forgive my language when she set off not one, but both of them, barely three feet from my head.

You’ll note too the twisting blue dragons on the muzzle and the handle. Whether Anna had these painted on herself or whether the guns belonged to someone else at some point, she never said.


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