Fighting gangs from New York City in the s used so many different weapons, and for the first part of this article I want to zero in on zip guns, a weapon that every gang owned at least one of, and sometimes more. This article will end with a short story of a Lower East Side youth who had an overpowering fascination with guns. Often times gang members were too poor to buy a hand gun so they used their ingenious know-how in constructing home-made guns out of rubber bands, a coat hanger and a car aerial.
Sometimes zip guns were constructed from toy pistols bought or stolen from department stores. One person explained that he made his from a toy derringer, a section of car antenna, a screw through a hole drilled in the hammer, and piano wire wrapped tightly around it all to keep it from exploding. Despite their inaccuracy, they were still dangerous and I was able to find a couple of times where a zip gun actually killed someone.
Zip guns were possibly more dangerous to the operator than the one being shot at. One person I spoke to personally bandaged four zip gun bullet wounds.
In another identical incident, the gun fired as. It lodged into the stomach of another gang member across from him. Alcohol was applied to the many wounds, and fortunately no serious damage was done. Even though they were notorious for being inaccurate and dangerous, gangs still packed zip guns in their fights and ambushes. Some boys were very adept at making zip guns, even making them under the very noses of their teachers in shop class at school.
The guns could shoot. At the moment of their arrest, the brothers admitted they were in the process of filling an order for twelve zip guns. Another boy they had sold a zip gun to — and who led the police to the gunsmith brothers — admitted to the police that he was intending to use the gun to kill a rival member of a gang.
Improvised Firearms (Zip Guns) – Like Grandpa Used to Make
Unfortunately the article did not report how much they were planning on selling each gun for. Obtaining ammunition for a zip gun was difficult but not impossible. One member from a Manhattan Upper East Side gang explained how he was able to get. You know them shooting galleries around Forty-second Street.
Okay, you hang around until the dive is really hopping. Then you step up and hand out the bread for a couple of clips. Sometimes, if you play it cool, you can get away with a whole clip. And now a brief profile on someone who was fixated with guns; this story paints an interesting picture on an individual basis….
Charles B. Both arms were heavily tattooed, the left having a large cupid double doll, and an eagle with a flag and the year inscribed under it. Allen Street and the streets around it was where a Puerto Rican gang called the Forsyth Boys hung out. Even though Charlie was white, this did not cause him any problems and he hung out a candy store on Forsyth between Stanton and Ludlow Streets.
Supposedly he was a member of the gang, although he denied it. At the minimum he would have known who the members of the Forsyth Boys were and would have most certainly been familiar with the gang lifestyle.
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He was also arrested for possession of not just a zip gun, but for stealing three rifles. He pilfered the rifles from a military cadet corps that he was a member of and where he practiced shooting at an armory in New Jersey. He had to be subdued by guards. In Charlie bought a. To make matters worse, his little brother found it on a couple of occasions and was caught playing with it, which infuriated his parents understandably so.Please use the member login link in the main navigation bar to access the members sections.
Found this little gem today, thanks to Say Uncle. Not even 2 minutes long, with a catchy tune playing in the background! I see a trip to Menards in my future! This entry was posted on January 27, at pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.
We are reduced to resorting to zip guns now? Those dangerous toys that our big brothers used to make and play with when we were little kids? I bet we could put together enough of these, assembly-line style, to bankrupt the organization next time around, and get a BUNCH of new rifles and ammo for Appleseed learners! Manufacturing is legal. Giving away a firearm that you have made or selling it is also legal. You cannot manufacture a firearm for the purpose of sale without a license, but you can decide at some later point to dispose of your property, and sell it or give it away legally.
Welcome to GSL. Member Login. Hello Guest! What you need? Want to know the best part? What a hoot! GSL Supporters. Gmail Link out to your GSL gmail account:. Who We Sponsor. All Rights Reserved. Magazine Premium created by Themes by bavotasan.A mechanically inclined youngster might upon obtaining ammunition, most often widely available.
From then on it is a simple matter of fabricating a means of striking the rear of the cartridge while ensuring the entire assembly is held firmly together.
Such weapons, while being extremely crude are just as capable as inflicting a lethal injury upon a close target as a conventional pistol. Due to bullets tumbling due to lack of rifling, injuries inflicted can potentially be worse.
Because of their ease of construction and requiring no tools or expenses, knowledge of how to make zip guns quickly spread from street gang to street gang culminating in fairly standardized designs being adopted. Zip guns would sometimes be produced as a group effort, often making use of a school workshop resulting in better precision and reliability through the use of superior materials and machine tools.
Although most of these may be extremely crude, such zero-cost disposable pistols became a serious concern for authorities at the time, often being used to seriously injure and sometimes kill. One of the most common and reliable methods of constructing a zip gun is to attach a door bolt to a wooden handle having a barrel made from a section of steel tube securely taped to it. Elastic bands are tied around the handle of the door bolt to act as a striker. Where commercial ammunition was difficult to obtain, a common method was to obtain.
A zip gun made using a section of car aerial antenna and a door bolt seized by Hartford police. Courtesy of Springfield Armory Museum. Another simple model which according to police reports at the time began turning up in large numbers in New York City used nothing more than a length of car radio antenna, a nail, a rubber band and two pieces of tape.
The large nail slides into the back portion of the antenna tube and the tip is filed to the correct shape to successfully set off a round of. Alternatively, the metal shaft of a screwdriver may also be used, the chisel edge already being well suited. A slot the length of a. A heavy rubber band is cut and both ends are taped at the front of the tube, the middle looped around and tapped to the back of the nail head in order to provide enough force to strike the cartridge.
When fired the cartridge often jams in the rear of the slot and will take impressions matching the nail and the tubing. Another trend often employed was the use of a house key to serve as a hammer. The use of one is out of convenience as it requires little to no modification, already having a pivot hole in place and a suitable striking surface.
A zip gun constructed using a length of car antenna and a house key seized in New York City, Perhaps the most common type of zip gun is a modified toy cap gun. Usually, the barrel obstruction is removed and a section of car aerial tubing glued or taped in place as a replacement barrel liner. The hammer would be sharpened to a point and elastic bands wrapped around the front of the frame and hammer to provide enough power to fire off a cartridge.
Above: 07 OctChicago, Illinois: A homemade zip gun under a parked car where it was found after the fatal shooting of James Butler, 15 during a fight between teenage gangs. An adapted toy pistol seized by Connecticut State Police, Springfield Armory Museum. A zip gun photographed in December The description notes that the barrel is a section of car radio antenna with a bore diameter of.
The hammer is formed from steel strip stock.Improvised firearms sometimes called zip guns or pipe guns are firearms manufactured other than by a firearms manufacturer or a gunsmithand are typically constructed by adapting existing materials to the purpose.
They range in quality from crude weapons that are as much a danger to the user as the target to high-quality arms produced by cottage industries using salvaged and repurposed materials.
Improvised firearms are commonly used as tools by criminals and insurgents and are often associated with such groups;   other uses include self-defense in lawless areas and hunting game in poor rural areas.
Zip guns are generally crude homemade firearms consisting of a barrelbreechblock and a firing mechanism. For small, low-pressure cartridgeslike the common. A rubber band powers the firing pinwhich the shooter pulls back and releases to fire. Such weak tubing results in a firearm that can be as dangerous to the shooter as the target; the poorly fitting smoothbore barrel provides little accuracy and is liable to burst upon firing.
Larger zip guns, such as homemade shotguns called tumbera Argentinabakakuk  Malaysiaor sumpak  Philippines are also made of improvised materials like nailssteel pipes, wooden pieces, bits of string, etc. A very crude yet functional homemade gun made by a man in India.
It is constructed mostly out of plumbing material. A crude, but effective improvised gauge shotgun used during the Bosnian War. Pen guns are zip gun-like firearms that resemble ink pens. In the United States, pen guns that can fire bullet or shot cartridges and do not require a reconfiguration to fire e. Made of two pieces of pipe that fit snugly together, the "paliuntod" were simple, single shot guns. These pipe guns are still in use by both criminals and rebels in the Philippines.
Inpipe guns were patented in United States by Iliff D. Dollars at the time. Improvised versions are easily made by using two pipes and an end-cap, these guns usually fire shotgun shells. To use, one simply inserts a shotgun shell into the smaller diameter pipe. Place the smaller pipe into the larger diameter pipe and forcefully slide it back until the shells primer makes contact with a fixed firing pin located inside the end-cap, firing the gun.THE BIGGEST GUN FAIL OF ALL TIME - THE 22LR ZIP GUN
Turn the pipe around and repeat the process. When the pipe gun fires, it will blow the expended shell out of the muzzle along with the shot. Pipe guns are easy to make, easy to use and can easily fire 12 to 15 shots per minute.There was little to sing about, as Paul Kendall reports.
Just before midnight on a stifling hot August evening infive Puerto Rican boys, including a mysterious caped figure, marched defiantly into a playground in the New York neighbourhood known as Hell's Kitchen. A handful of white teenagers were there already, chatting on a park bench, and they immediately sensed trouble.
The playground - basically a concrete slab between 45th and 46th Streets - was near to the White House, a bar used by the area's Irish gangs, and 'Spanish' boys knew it was off-limits. After scouting the playground carefully, the Puerto Ricans approached the youngsters on the bench and asked if anyone had seen their friend Frenchy.
He had been beaten up by members of a rival gang and they wanted to talk to those responsible. The white boys said they knew nothing about it.
This seemed to satisfy the Spanish group, and they retreated into the shadows. But a few minutes later they were back, having met up with the rest of their party, a coalition of boys from three gangs: the Vampires; the Young Lords; and the Heart Kings. This time they blocked the playground's exits. When the white youths got up to leave, a Spanish boy stood in their way and declared: 'No gringos leave the park.
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Another gang member threw a punch and, with that, the rest of the Puerto Ricans attacked, piling in with broom handles, leather belts and bottles. He then turned to Young's friend, Anthony Krzesinski, and stabbed him in the chest, piercing his heart. Within minutes, both boys were dead; the ninth and tenth victims of gang-related violence in New York that summer and the third and fourth in a week.
It was such grim, senseless, and all too familiar warfare that inspired West Side Story. Conceived, inas a musical about the conflicts between Jewish and Irish-Catholic communities in lower Manhattan, the tale was adapted by the writer Arthur Laurents following the escalation of gang violence in New York during the early s.
Dr Lewis Yablonsky, a criminologist and sociologist who worked with gang members in the s, says West Side Story was an accurate reflection of gang conflict.
I remember one dance where there were people in the ballroom of Columbia University. There was no fighting, but you could sense the tension. Gangs had existed before the Fifties, of course, but teenage gangsters were a new and frightening phenomenon.Has any police officers here ever witnessed someone use a zip gun with a barrel made from a car antenna? If so, what kind of ammo did they use? How many fires do you estimate it could go through before the "barrel" explodes?
How thin was the "barrel" anyway? Do you know where in the internet I could find a picture of a zip gun made with a car antenna? I've tried looking for some pics over the internet, but all I've found was the one that used plumbing pipes. Oh yea, and out of all the zip gun cases you have experienced, how much of a percentage in estimate did those who shooted one end up dead?
BTW- I have absolutly no intention of building such a crude, dangerous, improvised weapon. I'm just writing an article about the history of guerrilla warfare and it's improvised weapons. Years ago, back when I was a young man. There were radio antennas manufactured for cars that were A Durable enough to withstand the explosions of several. Mostly used by bored, stupid teens and gang bangers some of whom acquired the nicknames "Scarface" and "lefty" these weapons are best left to history.
No sane person would even think of making or firing one! Duct tape or electrician was often used to reenforce the "barrel. I wouldnt think someone in a gurella type war would use one unless it was use to get another gun. Zipp guns are more afeliate with prison violence.
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Update: Nope, I tried google, all I found was the flashlight zip gun. Answer Save. Favorite Answer. The base of these monstrous antennas were almost the exact size of a. Source s : This was back when cars made in the 50's and 60's were abundant! Back in the days when we walked to school, 5 miles In ten feet of snow, in JUNE!
Frank R 5 years ago Report. Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.On February 23,my book on the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels, who were two Brooklyn youth gangs from the s, has been completed. If you want to buy a copy, click here and this link will take you to an online ordering page. Over time, Queens succumbed to the gang problem as well. The gangs from that time period were different from the gangs we see today in some unique ways. Drive by shootings were rare, and the gangs were mostly comprised of teenagers aged In the end, drugs helped contribute towards the demise of the fighting gang.
Gangs were more or less divided into ethnic groups, although many had a mixture of ethnic backgrounds. Blacks, Italians, Irish and Puerto Ricans all contributed to the estimated 6, gang members and hundreds of gangs throughout the city. As a rule, a typical gang would only stay on their turf unless they were out fighting their rivals in their turfs. Often this would be a park or schoolground. Sometimes a rumble would be a spur of the moment thing, and other times a rumble would be planned weeks in advance by the two war counsellors and Presidents of each gang.
A big rumble between the Hawks and Rebels against the powerful Ditmas Dukes is averted in Often these juvenile gangs were setup in a structured way that would make sense to any military man. The President was usually the most intelligent of the group, usually a natural-born leader, but also tough enough to withstand any power struggles within the gang.
The Vice President was similar in that he had to support the President or take over should something happen to him. The War Counsellor was responsible for setting up rumbles, scouting enemy territory and keeping an inventory of the weapons.
They would attack and beat him and then return back to their home turf. The weapons used in those days were different from the weapons gangs use now. Gangs today mainly use hand guns. However, the gangs back then lived in the projects and run-down tenements so they could not afford hand guns.
However, these guns were notoriously finicky, sometimes exploding in the face of the operator. Instead the gangs would rely heavily on fists broom sticks, rocks, bicycle chains, garrison belts, switchblades, baseball bats, car aerials and belt buckles.
Some gang members would wear pointed shoes that could kick a boy to death in a matter of minutes.