As promised, today I have a post about a weapon other than a blade. In fact it is a post about a funny little crossbow pistol I ran into earlier this week:
Now I found this to be an interesting design, though the design is not without a purpose. Crossbow pistols designed to fire heavy metal bolts would often be made such that there would be as little contact between the bolt, the string and any part of the crossbow as possible, presumably to reduce frictional losses that would otherwise be incurred by trying to make it run on a rail, like other crossbows.
Because the draw length is so short, power has to come from a very strong bow prod, in this case a short, springy steel bow. A steel crossbow prod can generate a lot of power over a short distance, however at those speeds, if the bolt/string had to run across a rail every time it was launched, both the rail and the string would wear out very quickly.
For these reasons, short, powerful crossbows like these were sometimes built with no rail, and a large gap to ensure that the vibration of the spring didn’t cause it to hit any part of the crossbow. But while this little crossbow is probably fairly lethal, I have to admit that I still think that deep belly between the string latch/catch and the bow prod is a little excessive.
Perhaps I’m just being nit picky, but If I were designing such a weapon, it would have just enough gap to clear the bow string, but nothing more than that. This design, as it stands, just reminds me of a little, hand held, potbellied pig that fires lethal steel bolts…
Belgian Crossbow Pistol – [Medieval Weapon Art]