We’ve encountered quite a few bizarre-looking firearms in our search for “Weird Gun Wednesday” fodder, but even the most abstract designs can usually be justified by the time in which they were conceived and the natural progression of technology. But this one just seems to be an attempt to turn the notion of firearms entirely on its head using a design that wouldn’t have made much sense even by standards set decades prior. Folks, I bring you the magazine-fed revolver, the Dardick 1500.
Where you’ve seen it:
Though it definitely looks like it belongs in a 1950’s sci-fi flick, the Dardick never made it into Hollywood.
Released to the public in 1958, David Dardick’s design was hailed by gun writers as “versatile as a six-armed monkey.” Though this simile may be a bit inflated (and oddly specific), the Dardick did come with interchangeable barrels and a carbine conversion, as well as being made available in three calibers: The .38 Dardick, .30 Dardick, and .22 Dardick. The intention was to market the Dardick to law enforcement, which, at the time, still embraced .38 revolvers. Conceptually, it fit the bill: The Dardick had similar features to a double-action revolver with a considerably higher capacity, in the same (approximate) caliber as existing service sidearms. But the design included some eccentricities that weren’t well received, the primary one being the Dardick’s cartridge.
Instead of using ordinary cylindrical brass cartridges, the Dardick worked with a proprietary round called the ‘tround’ (Get it? A triangular round), where the internal components—bullet, primer, and powder—were loaded into a triangular plastic cartridge (necessary for a proper fit inside the Dardick’s open cylinder walls). Chamber adapters were made to accommodate normal ammunition, too.
Similar in function to a double-action revolver, the Dardick’s cylinder chamber walls opened up (right). The trounds could be loaded individually or by stripper-clips into the fixed, 11- or 15-round magazine in the grip, which fed into the cylinder. The open cylinder chambers served as their own ejection ports, a design feature said to make the gun lighter and the cycling of the action faster while cutting down on manufacturing costs.
Surviving Dardicks are estimated to number between 50 and 100. In other words, it was a commercial flop. Frankly, it was just too outlandish a concept, too ugly a design (this revolver is homely), and too poor an execution (manufacturing quality was reportedly mediocre) to succeed. But you tell me: If a manufacturer released a second coming of the Dardick, would you take one?
Opening photo courtesy of Guns.com