Match Gun

An improvised firearm can be built using safety match heads as the propellant and a metal object as the projectile. Lethal range is about 40 yards (36 meters). This weapon is very simple to construct and is well suited for use as a booby trap.

Materials Required

  • Metal pipe 24″ (61 cm) long and 3/8″ (1 cm) in diameter (nominal size) or its equivalent, threaded on one end.
  • End cap to fit pipe
  • Safety matches – 3 books of 20 matches each.
  • Wood – 28″ x 4″ x 1″ (70 cm x 10 cm x 2.5 cm)
  • Safety fuse OR “Strike-anywhere matches” (2)
  • Electrical tape or string
  • Metal strap, about 4″ x 12″ and 1″ x 3/16″ (10 cm x 6 mm x 4.5 cm)
  • 2 rags, about 1″ x 12″ and 1″ x 3″ (2-1/2 cm x 30 cm and 2-1/2 cm x 8 cm)
  • Wood screws
  • Metal object (steel rod, bolt with head cut off, etc.), approximately 7/16″(11 mm) in diameter, and 7/16″ (11 mm) long if iron or steel, 1-1/4″ (31 mm) long if aluminum, 5/16″ (8 mm) long if lead. A large ball bearing, of the appropriate size, will fly straighter than a cylindrical object.
  • Metal disk 1″ (2-1/2 cm) in diameter and 1/16″ (1-1/2 mm) thick
  • Bolt, 3/32″ (2-1/2 mm) or smaller in diameter and nut to fit
  • Saw or knife


  1. Carefully inspect pipe and fittings. Be sure that there are NO cracks or other flaws.
  2. Drill small hole in center of end cap. If safety fuse is used, be sure it will pass through this hole.
  3. Cut stock from wood using saw or knife.
  4. Cut 3/8″ (9-1/2 mm) deep “V” groove in top of stock.
  5. Screw end cap onto pipe until finger tight.
  6. Attach pipe to stock with string or tape.
  7. Bend metal strap into “L” shape and drill holes for wood screw. Notch metal on long side 1/2″ (1 cm) from bend.
  8. Position metal strap on stock so that the top will hit the center of hole drilled in end cap.
  9. Attach metal disk to strap with nut and bolt. This will deflect blast from hole in end cap when gun is fired. Be sure that head of bolt is centered on hole in end cap.
  10. Attach strap to stock with wood screws.
  11. Place screw on each side of stock about 4″ (10 cm) in front of metal strap. Pass elastic bands through notch in metal strap and attach to screw on each side of stock.


  1. Cut off match heads from 3 books of matches with knife. Pour match heads into pipe.
  2. Fold one end of 1″ x 12″ rag 3 times so that it becomes a 1″ square of 3 thicknesses. Place rag into pipe to cover match heads, folded end first. Tamp firmly WITH CAUTION.
  3. Place metal object into pipe. Place 1″ x 3″ rag into pipe to cover projectile. Tamp firmly WITH CAUTION.
  4. Carefully cut off tips of heads of 2 “strike-anywhere” matches with knife.
  5. Place one tip in hole in end cap. Push in with wooden match stick.
  6. Place second match tip on a piece of tape. Place tape so match tip is directly over hole in end cap.
  7. When ready to fire, pull metal strap back and release.

When safety fuse is available: (Recommended for Booby Traps)

  1. Remove end cap from pipe. Knot one end of safety fuse. Thread safety fuse through hole in end cap so that knot is on inside of end cap.
  2. Follow steps 1 through 3 above.
  3. Tie several matches to safety fuse near outside of end cap. NOTE: Bare end of safety fuse should be inside match head cluster.
  4. Wrap match covers around matches and tie. Striker should be in contact with match bands.
  5. Replace end cap on pipe.
  6. When ready to fire, pull match cover off with strong, firm, quick motion.

Test fire as with other Improvised Firearms


Simple Improvised 12ga

A 12-gauge shotgun can be made with the above plans from 3/4″ water or gas pipe and fittings. It will not be necessary to bore a chamber in this weapon because the 12 gauge shell is a rimmed cartridge and the rim will shoulder up against the end of the pipe. The firing pin hole should be drilled dead center in the plug and the firing pin should be made from a larger nail, up to about 1/8″. This weapon can be built as a pistol with a short barrel or with a long barrel (around 20″ or so) and a full length stock. In the latter case the weapon can be fastened to the stock with metal strapping and screws or even with duct tape. Don’t be tempted to experiment with any magnum loads in this weapon, just stick with standard 2 ¾” shells. You will need some sort of stick or dowel to force spent shells out of this weapon as they tend to become quite jammed in the chamber after firing.

Materials Required:

  • Wood 2″ x 4″ x 32″
  • 3/4″ nominal size water or gas pipe 20″ to 30″ long threaded on one end.
  • 3/4″ steel coupling
  • Solid 3/4″ pipe plug
  • Metal strap (1/4″ x 1/16″ x 4″)
  • Duct tape or metal strapping and screws
  • 3 wood screws and screwdriver
  • Flat head nail 6D or 8D
  • Hand drill
  • Saw or knife
  • File
  • Elastic Bands

Note: Some of you will recognize these simple, improvised firearm, designs from the FM 31-210 Improvised Munitions Handbook. I have added some ideas to make the instructions easier to follow and the final product safer. I have also provided some drawings which detail the finished product. The simplicity of this design was likely the key factor in its being included in the FM 31-210, however it has some serious drawbacks. It is very dangerous in that it is prone to accidental discharge upon dropping or other impact. It has no safety and the firing pin is held in place with only the forward pressure of the elastic upon the hammer. If the pipe plug is not tightened down far enough the backward movement of the fired cartridge could push and eject the firing pin at high speed into the shooter’s eye. The potential for injury increases further with the possibility of a ruptured primer. This occurs when the firing pin pierces the primer allowing the propellant gasses the vent out of the back of the cartridge; in the case of this firearm design a ruptured primer would force the firing pin out at very high speed into the face of the shooter. With caution these risks can be reduced. Remember these precautions;

  • Always be sure the pipe plug is tightened until it contacts the back of the cartridge when loading, allowing no room for backward movement of the cartridge.
  • Be sure that the elastic tension upon the hammer is not too excessive, just enough to reliably fire the weapon.
  • Be sure that the firing pin is not sharpened or too long as this can cause rupture of the primer.
  • Don’t carry or store these weapons loaded unless absolutely necessary..

Improvised weapons IV

NATO Carbine 7.62mm

A rifle caliber weapon can be made from water or gas pipe and fittings. Standard NATO 7.62mm (.308) cartridges are used for ammunition. Great caution must be used with this weapon and I must be honest and admit that I have not even attempted to make a weapon which fires high-powered rifle ammunition out of water or gas pipes and fittings. I would recommend acquiring a 20″ length of seamless (DOM) steel tubing to fabricate the barrel for this weapon. A steel supplier will have this type of tubing but be sure to ask for DOM (drawn over mandrel) seamless tubing. Be sure it’s a good quality steel for this type of use. Ask for 4140 or 4130 steel. If you are questioned as to what the tubing is to be used for you should respond that you are replacing a part for a high-pressure boiler or hydraulic system. A standard pipe-die can be used to cut the threading on one end of the barrel. If you are unable to obtain seamless tubing then you should get a 20″ length of water pipe, the ¼” barrel pipe should fit inside this pipe and epoxy can be used to fasten it within the larger pipe. This will double the strength of the barrel. Make sure to leave enough of the threading on the ¼” pipe exposed to allow it to be mated securely with the coupler.

Materials Required:

  • Wood approximately 2″ x 4″ x 30″
  • 1/4″ nominal size iron water or gas pipe 20″ long threaded at one end.
  • 3/8″ to 1/4 reducer
  • 3/8″ x 1-1/2″ threaded pipe
  • 3/8″ pipe coupling
  • Metal strap approximately 1/2″ x 1/16″ x 4″.
  • Twine, heavy (100 yards approx.) and Shellac or duct tape or metal strapping and screws
  • 3 wood screws and screwdriver
  • Flat head nail about 1″ long
  • Hand drill
  • Saw or knife
  • File
  • Pipe wrench
  • Elastic bands
  • Solid 3/8″ pipe plug


  1. Inspect pipe and fittings carefully.
    1. Be sure that there are NO cracks or flaws.
    2. Check inside diameter of pipe. A 7.62 mm projectile should fit into 3/8″ pipe.
  2. Cut stock from wood using saw or knife.
  3. Cut a 1/4″ deep “V” groove in top of the stock.
  4. Fabricate rifle barrel from pipe.
    1. File or drill inside diameter of threaded end of 20″ pipe for about 1/4″ so neck of cartridge case will fit in.
    2. Screw reducer onto threaded pipe using pipe wrench.
    3. Screw short threaded pipe into reducer.
    4. Turn 3/8 pipe coupling onto threaded pipe using pipe wrench. All fittings should be as tight as possible. Do not split fittings.
  5. Coat pipe and “V” groove of stock with shellac or lacquer. While still wet, place pipe in “V” groove and wrap pipe and stock together using two layers of twine. Coat twine with shellac or lacquer after each layer. Duct tape or metal strapping secured with wood screws can also be used to fasten the barrel to the stock.
  6. Drill a hole through center of pipe plug large enough for nail to pass through.
  7. File threaded end of plug flat.
  8. Push nail through plug and out of threaded end 1/32″ (2 mm) past the plug.
  9. Screw plug into coupling.
  10. Bend 4″ metal strap into “L” shape and drill hole for wood screw. Notch metal strap on the long side 1/2″ from bend.
  11. Position metal strap on stock so that top will hit the head of the nail. Attach to stock with wood screw.
  12. Place screw in each side of stock about 4″ in front of metal strap. Pass elastic bands through notch in metal strap and attach to screw on each side of the stock.

Pipe Rifle Design


Improvised weapons III

22 LR or .22 short Improvised Pipe Pistol

Using the above plans a .22 Caliber pistol can be made from 1/8″ nominal diameter extra heavy, steel gas or water pipe and fittings. Lethal range is approximately 33 yards (30 meters). This is also a rimmed cartridge so a chamber isn’t necessary but a tighter and more powerful weapon will be produced if a chamber is reamed. To produce a chamber, drill a 15/64″ (1/2 cm) diameter hole 9/16″ (1-1/2 cm) deep in pipe for a .22 LR. (If a .22 short cartridge is used, drill hole 3/8″ (1 cm) deep). When a cartridge is inserted into the pipe, the shoulder of the case should butt against the end of the pipe. The firing pin hole must be drilled off center because this is a rim-fire weapon. Also the firing pin should be filed like a slot or flat-head screwdriver with two flat surfaces opposite each other converging in a rounded point. This will provide more positive function. Spent cartridges will become jammed so a 1/8″ wooden dowel will be required to force them out before reloading.

Materials Required:

  • Steel pipe, extra heavy, 1/8″ (3 mm) nominal diameter and 6″ (15 cm) long with threaded ends (nipple)
  • Solid pipe plug, 1/8″ (3 mm) nominal diameter
  • 2 steel pipe couplings, 1/8″ (3 mm) nominal diameter
  • Metal strap, approximately 1/8″ x 1/4″ x 5″ (3 mm x 6 mm x 125 mm or 12-1/2 cm)
  • Elastic bands
  • Flat head nail – 6D or 8D (approximately 1/16″ (1-1/2 mm) diameter
  • 2 wood screws, #8
  • Hard wood, 8″ x 5″ x 1″ (20 cm x 12-1/2 cm x 2-1/2 cm)
  • Drill
  • Wood or metal rod, 1/8″ (3 mm) diameter and 8″ (20 cm) long
  • Saw or knife

Improvised weapons II

Improvised 9mm (or .38 caliber) Pipe Pistol

A very simple 9 mm pistol can be made from 1/4″ steel gas or water pipe and fittings. These plans can be modified to allow the use of just about any handgun or shotgun cartridge. I would discourage the use of very powerful loading such as the .44 magnum, .357 magnum or 12 gauge 3 1/2″ magnum shells in these weapons.

Materials Required:

  • 1/4″ nominal size steel pipe 4 to 6 inches long with threaded ends.
  • 1/4″ Solid pipe plug
  • Two (2) steel pipe couplings
  • Metal strap – roughly 1/8″ x 1/4″ x 5″
  • Two (2) elastic bands
  • Flat head nail – 6D or 8D (approx. 1/16″ diameter)
  • Two (2) wood screws #8
  • Wood 8″ x 5″ x 1″
  • Drill
  • 1/4″ wood or metal rod, (approx. 8″ long)


  1. Carefully inspect pipe and fittings.
    1. Make sure that there are NO cracks or other flaws in the pipe or fittings.
    2. Check inside diameter of pipe using a 9 mm cartridge as a gauge. The bullet should closely fit into the pipe without forcing but the cartridge case SHOULD NOT fit into pipe.
    3. Outside diameter of pipe MUST NOT BE less than 1 1/2 times bullet diameter (.536 inches; 1.37 cm)
  2. Drill a 9/16″ (1.43 cm) diameter hole 3/8″ (approx. 1 cm) into one coupling to remove the thread. Drilled section should fit tightly over smooth section of pipe.
  3. For a 9mm weapon, drill a 25/64″ (1 cm) diameter hole 3/4″ (1.9 cm) into pipe. Use cartridge as a gauge; when a cartridge is inserted into the pipe, the base of the case should be even with the end of the pipe. The barrel is now chambered for 9mmThread coupling tightly onto pipe, drilled end first.
  4. For a .38 caliber weapon, drill a 25/64″ (1 cm) diameter hole 1-1/8″ (2.86 cm) into pipe. Use cartridge as a gauge; when a cartridge is inserted into the pipe, the shoulder of the case should butt against the end of the pipe. The barrel is now chambered for .38. Thread coupling tightly onto pipe, drilled end first.
  5. Drill a hole in the center of the pipe plug just large enough for the nail to fit through. Hole MUST be centered in plug.
  6. Push nail through plug until head of nail is flush with square end. Cut nail off at other end 1/16″ (.158 cm) away from plug. Round off end of nail with file.
  7. Bend metal strap to “U” shape and drill holes for wood screws. File two small notches at top.
  8. Saw or otherwise shape 1″ (2.54 cm) thick hard wood into stock.
  9. Drill a 9/16″ diameter (1.43 cm) hole through the stock. The center of the hole should be approximately 1/2″ (1.27 cm) from the top.
  10. Slide the pipe through this hole and attach front coupling. Screw drilled plug into rear coupling. NOTE: If 9/16″ drill is not available cut a “V” groove in the top of the stock and tape pipe securely in place.
  11. Position metal strap on stock so that top will hit the head of the nail. Attach to stock with wood screw on each side.
  12. String elastic bands from front coupling to notch on each side of the strap.

Simple Improvised Pipe Pistol Design

Test Fire This Weapon Before Hand Firing;

  1. Locate a barrier such as a stone wall or large tree which you can stand behind in case the pistol ruptures when fired.
  2. Mount pistol solidly to a table or other rigid support at least ten feet in front of the barrier.
  3. Attach a cord to the firing strap on the pistol.
  4. Holding the other end of the cord, go behind the barrier.
  5. Pull the cord so that the firing strap is held back.
  6. Release the cord to fire the pistol. (If pistol does not fire, shorten the elastic bands or increase their number.) Important: Fire at least five rounds from behind the barrier and then re-inspect the pistol before you attempt to hand fire it.

Pistol Operation:

  1. To Load:
    1. Remove plug from rear coupling.
    2. Place cartridge into pipe.
    3. Replace plug making sure it is seated against rear of cartridge case.
  2. To Fire:
    1. Pull strap back and hold with thumb until ready.
    2. Release strap to fire.
  3. To Remove Shell Case:
    1. Remove plug from rear coupling.
    2. Insert 1/4″ diameter steel or wooden rod into front of pistol and push shell case out.

Improvised weapons

slap-gun-appendixSlap 12 Gauge Zip Gun

This is the simplest zipgun design, the are parts cheap, readily available and can be assembled in less than an hour. It can be fired and reloaded several times a minute and has a moderate kick. Loaded, it weighs about 2-1/4 pounds. Basic cost, under $5.00. It is made of common, galvanized plumbing pipe, obtained from a hardware store, plumbing supply store or even junkyard.

Materials Required:
•1″ Pipe 6″ in length, threaded on one end.
•1″ Pipe-cap
•3/4″ Pipe 10″ in length.
•1″ Dowel
•No. 16 nail
•1-1/8″ Circle of thin cardboard

First try to insert the 3/4″ pipe into the 1″ pipe. It must slide through every time with no sticking or slowing. Make a reamer from 7″ or 8″ of your 1″ dowel. Cut a piece 5 x 3-1/16″ from a sheet of emery cloth, wrap it around the dowel and glue it in place.

When you buy your dowel take the 1″ pipe and make sure the dowel goes in with some space to spare. If the dowel fits exactly, it’s too big and you’ll have to choose the next size down.

Use the reamer to enlarge the inside of the 1″ pipe. Move it in and out of the 1″ pipe along the sides a few times to get rid of any burrs or uneven areas. Try the 3/4″ pipe again and if it won’t fall through without slowing, do it again until it will. Go over the outside of the 3/4″ pipe, a few times with the emery cloth.

Next make the hammer. First cut a 1/2″ piece of the dowel. Choose a drill the same width as the No. 16 nail and drill a hole through the exact center of the dowel piece. With a hacksaw, cut the nail 5/8 of an inch past the head. Then cut a 1-1/8″ wide circle of thin cardboard and with the nail point, punch a hole in its middle. Push the nail section through the dowel hole and push the cardboard over its end with the rough side on top. Next push the hammer unit into the cap, cardboard side up. The cardboard is to keep the dowel and hammer in the cap. In order to disassemble, just pick the hammer unit out by the nail.

Screw the cap on, put a 12 gauge shell in the 3/4″ pipe, put the 3/4″ pipe in the 1″ pipe and it’s ready to fire. Hold the 1″ end-cap in the right hand and with the left hand slam the 3/4″ pipe backwards to fire. Pull the 3/4″ pipe out to reload.

This weapon can be improved by using a machine screw, nut and washer as the hammer assembly. Sharpen the machine screw to a shallow point and push it through the end cap then fasten it on the inside of the cap with the nut and washer. Cut a thumb groove it the rim of the 3/4″ pipe to allow spent shells to be pulled out with the thumbnail.

Don’t be tempted to fire 3″ or 3-1/2″ magnum loads in this weapon. For safety’s sake stick with the 2-3/4″ shells, the extra power of the magnums is just wasted in a weapon with a short barrel and no chamber anyway. This weapon is reliable only at very close range


How to quiet that 22lr

How to make a silencer and the knowledge to manufacture them from unconventional materials could be a critical component to your survival repertoire when the need to eliminate a target in silence is required. The following directions are simple, and in states like Nevada silencers are legal but check your state’s laws before attempting to make a silencer. For this example we are using a .22 caliber pistol, but these instructions can be applied to other calibers.

How to make a silencer from a MagliteMaterialsMaglite 2D CellScrewdriverHammerPVCFabric/Steel WoolMPH Tape (Duct Tape)First you must completely disassemble your Maglite flash light, removing all of the guts and leaving on the cylinder housing. You can use the hammer and screwdriver to eject internal components.You can use tape and/or PVC around the inner housing of your Maglite to form a snug fit around the barrel, if using PVC ensure it slides tights into the housing tightly to prevent a breakdown in materials after use.Use tape to line the outside of your PVC to secure the Suppressor to the Barrel.Read the following article to under the dynamics of a suppressor.Test fire with proper precaution.Intermediate SilencerMaterialsFiberglass MatFiberglass Resin and HardenerDrill Rod 7/32″ (.22 Caliber Specific)12″ of 1/4″ brake line12″ 1 1/2″ PVC tubing + 2 end capsOne Roll Masking Tape1/8″ and 3/16″ drill bitsRubber BandsRazor BladesEye DropperWhite Lithium Grease6 Wood Screws80X Sand PaperSteel WoolHow to make a Silencer Construction Part ICut a 10″ piece from the brake line and drill a series of evenly distributed 1/8″ ventilation holes across it’s length starting 1 1/2″ from the end of the brake line.Now enlarge those holes with a 3/16″ drill bit.Use your masking tape to mask off the end of the gun barrel and do no allow the tape to wrinkle while keeping tight.Place the drill rod down the barrel to keep the brake line aligned. Perfect alignment is extremely important. Sometimes the drill rod will be a little too large to fit into the barrel. In this case, chuck the drill rod into a drill and turn it down with a file or sandpaper, a little at a time, until it fits perfectly.


How to make a Silencer Construction Part II Wrap glass mat around the end of the gun barrel and brake line three times. Secure it in place with rubber bands every half inch. The glass mat should be wrapped about two

inches behind the sight and up to the first holes on the brake line.Now mix the resin. A few spoonfuls will do. Mix it two or three times hotter than the package directions.Brace the weapon in an upright position and dab the resin onto the glass mat with a brush. Keep applying resin until the mat is no longer white but becomes transparent from absorption of the resin.As soon as the resin starts to harden and becomes tacky, detach the brake line and fiberglass from the barrel. Do this quickly before the resin hardens completely.

First use a razor blade to cut a notch behind the front sight so that the whole piece can be removed. Then push on the fiberglass to slide it off. Do not pull it off from the other end as the alignment will be thrown off.


How to make a Silencer Construction Part III  After removal from the gun barrel, peel out the tape and allow it to finish hardening.

Use a sander, grinder or 80x sandpaper to smooth out the hardened rough surface.

Next, grind the sides down about halfway, but do not grind past the point where the front sight makes contact. Cut it down until the barrel fits snugly and easily.Stand the glassed brake line upright in a vise.Mix a small amount of resin and use an eyedropper to fill in any interior holes or air bubbles until the solid fiberglass is level with the steel tube end. This will give the junction between the brake line and fiberglass coupling added strength. Acetone can be used to clean the eyedropper.Cut the PVC tubing to the desired length. A longer silencer will be necessary for more powerful cartridges.Drill a large hole in the center of one end cap, making it large enough to fit on the fiberglass end to the point where the front sight makes contact.Drill a series of 3/16″ holes in the bottom of the end cap.Wrap masking tape around the end cap to cover the holes.Stand the cap with the inside tube inserted into a vise. Get the cap level and straight with the brake line.Cut two dozen or so 1/2″ squares of fiberglass mat and fill the end cap with it up past the level of the row of holes.Mix resin and pour it over the cut matting to a point about 1/4″ above the holes and allow it to dry before removing the cap from the vise. Don’t worry about any resin that leaks out around the base hole. Resin fills the small holes, making the tube strong enough to withstand the muzzle blast.When the inside is hardened, turn the assembly over and fiberglass around the backside of the end cap for added strength. Avoid getting resin in the opening where the barrel fits.

Place the finished cap and inner tube on one end of the PVC tubing that has already been cut to size. Center the brake line as you look in the open end of the PVC.Now drill a 1/8″ hole in three places around the tube about 1/4″ from the lip of the cap. Take the brake line out and enlarge the holes in the cap to 3/16″ Replace the brake line and tighten it down with three small wood screws. Trim the brake line down until it extends about 1/2″ beyond the PVC tube.Sharpen one end of the drill rod to a point and use it as a center-punch. Stand the assembly up with the solid end cap down. Drop the drill rod down the brake line to get a true center mark.Using a drill bit slightly larger than the outside diameter of the brake line, remove the end cap and drill the hole.Cut a circle of 1/4″ thick rubber which fits snug into the end cap. This rubber swipe will help prevent any hot gasses from escaping even after many shot have been fired through it because rubber tends to stretch and rip rather that have material blasted out of it by a gunshot. The hole will reseal itself after firing keeping the system nice and tight. Replace this swipe whenever the bullet hole becomes too large to contain gasses. This step will make a big difference, particularly in small silencers.Replace the cap on the open end of the PVC tube and drill three 1/8″ holes around the cap as before for wood screws.The brake line should push into and slightly stretch the rubber swipe. The swipe should not stick out past the face of the cap. Grind off the end of the brake line to get a perfect fit.

Unfold sections of steel wool and roll into long strands.Apply white lithium grease to each strand before feeding them into the silencer tube in a circular motion. The white grease helps to cool the hot gasses of the muzzle blast, thereby reducing the loudness of the gunshot. Pack the steel wool tight with a stick, continue this until the silencer tube is completely full.



How to make a Silencer Construction Part IVReplace the end cap with the three screws.Paint the finished silencer flat black and attach it to your weapon. Proper alignment can be ensured by using a hose clamp around the barrel extension behind the front sight. Test as described in the Silenced .22 LR Weapons.This silencer can be counted on to function for over 300 rounds before it will be necessary to open it up and repack it with new steel wool and lithium grease.

Also look into