Deer gun

The Deer gun was a successor to the Liberator pistol developed by the CIA. The single-shot Deer gun was intended for distribution to South Vietnamese guerrillas as a weapon against North Vietnamese soldiers.

Deer gun
Class Manportable
Type Handguns
Manufacturer American Machine and Foundry
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1964
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1964 View
Vietnam View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
American Machine and Foundry 1964 1000 View

The Deer gun was made of cast aluminium, with the receiver formed into a cylinder at the top of the weapon. The striker protruded from the rear of the receiver and was cocked in order to fire, and a plastic clip was placed there to prevent an accidental discharge, as the Deer gun had no mechanical safety. The grip had raised checkering, was hollow, and had space for three 9 mm rounds and a rod for clearing the barrel of spent cases. The Deer gun lacked any marking identifying manufacturer or user, in order to prevent tracing of the weapons, and all were delivered in unmarked polystyrene boxes with three 9 mm rounds and a series of pictures depicting the operation of the gun. A groove ran down a ramp on top for sighting. The barrel unscrewed for loading and removing the empty casing. A cocking knob was pulled until cocked. The aluminium trigger had no trigger guard.

The Deer gun was loaded by removing the barrel and placing a 9 mm cartridge in the chamber. The striker was then cocked, and a small plastic clip placed around the striker to impede the forward motion of the striker to prevent accidental discharge. The barrel was then screwed back onto the receiver. The gun was fired by removing the plastic clip, placing it on the barrel where it would become the sight, and pulling the trigger. At this point the user would take the victim's equipment if opportunity presented itself, and then flee. Later, the user would reload the gun by unscrewing the barrel and ejecting the spent case with the provided barrel rod, and follow the outlined procedure.

One production run of 1,000 Deer guns was made in 1964 as an initial run, with the final cost projected as US$3.95 per gun. Rather than the Vietnam war being a small clandestine war, it became a full-scale war where the Deer gun would not be as useful as foreseen. Some Deer guns were evaluated in Vietnam, but the fate of the rest is unknown. Most sources state that all were destroyed.

Type Single-shot pistol
Place of origin  United States
Service history
In service 1964
Used by  South Vietnam
 United States
Wars Vietnam War
Production history
Designer CIA
Designed 1964
Manufacturer American Machine & Foundry Co.
Produced 1964
Number built 1000
Weight 12 oz (340 grams)
Length 5.0 inches (127 mm)
Barrel length 1.875 (48 mm)
Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
Action single-shot
Muzzle velocity 1050 ft/s (320 m/s)
Sights plastic clip

End notes