10 Notorious Weapons Used In The World’s Most High-Profile Assassinations

Over the years, weapons used in assassinations and attempted assassinations have gained infamy enough to bring in dollars on the black market. They’ve also left their bloody mark on the history of the world, which, truth be told, is enough to pique our morbid curiosity.

How many of these did you know of?

1. The Carcano Rifle

The rifle that was used by Lee Harvey Oswald to brutally end President John F. Kennedy’s life was made in Italy in 1940. Oswald even paid extra to have it fitted with a Japanese scope. For an 1891 model, it was in fair condition and effective enough to fire the shots on target.

Despite a Denver oilman’s attempt to buy it, the gun is currently stashed in the National Archives.

2. Single-Shot .44 Caliber Philadelphia Derringer

The Derringer used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate Abraham Lincoln was known as a “pocket cannon.”

A powerful weapon despite its size, Booth was able to hide it in his pocket until he pulled it out and shot Lincoln in the head. At present, it’s on display at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC.

3. FN Model 1910

World War I was triggered (pun intended) by a chain of events that began when Serbian national Gavrilo Princip to murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand with a 9 millimetre FN Model 1910.

Designed by John Browning and made in Belgium, the pistol found its way to a Jesuit priest and is now in the Vienna Museum of Military History.

4. .38 Caliber Revolver

First designed in 1898, the .38 calibre revolver is one model that has been used in a number of high profile assassinations.

The most famous of its victims are John Lennon and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was hit in the abdomen by the three shots fired from the revolver by her bodyguard Beant Singh.

5. The STEN gun

Indira Gandhi’s death was also brought about with the help of a Sten automatic gun. As she fell to the ground, Satwant Singh fired the entire magazine of his Sten gun into her body.

6. Remington Gamemaster 760 .30-06 Rifle

On March 30, 1968, James Earl Ray fired a single bullet at Martin Luther King, Jr., killing him.
To carry out this act, he used was a Remington rifle he purchased five days earlier from the Aeromarine Supply Company in Birmingham, Alabama.

The weapon is now in the Civil Rights Museum on the grounds of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was shot.

7. Beretta 1934 .38 Caliber Pistol

A semi-automatic Beretta 1934 pistol was used by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse to shoot and kill Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. It was first carried by an Italian officer in 1938, but how it ended up in India and made its way into a killer’s hand is unknown.

“The pistol’s ownership was a secret and will remain a secret,” said Dr Jaiveer Bharadwaj, the national vice president of Hindu Mahasabha.

8. 9 Millimeter Browning Hi-Power

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot four times with a Browning Hi-Power by Mehmet Ali Agca. He then threw the pistol under a truck and made a run for it. 

When arrested, Agca claimed he was hired to kill the Pope by the Turkish criminal underground. His motive has never been clear.

9. Homemade Bomb

It was all over in 1.26 seconds – three gunshots, and a bombing outside Liaquat Bagh.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27th December 2007 by a 15-year-old suicide bomber called Bilal, under orders from the Pakistani Taliban.

She died from extensive head injuries she sustained from the impact of the blast, according to the official report.

10. The Belt-Bomb

On May 21, 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Dhanu, a suicide bomber allegedly belonging to the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

The one-kilo bomb consisted of six grenades fitted in a series on the belt fixed to the denim vest she was wearing. It was charged with a 9 mm battery.

Made up of C4 RDX enclosed within a casing of TNT, the grenades were connected with silver wires and the circuit was completed with two toggle switches, one for arming and the other for triggering the bomb. As she bent down to touch Rajiv’s feet, Dhanu activated the belt-bomb with her right finger.

After it exploded, it left behind blood and fire and flesh where the former Prime Minister of India had stood only seconds ago.

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Amanda Francesca Mendonça

After spending pretty much all of my teen years waiting for a Hogwarts letter that never came, I gave up and settled for being a wizard with words instead. A hopeless romantic, when I’m not penning down short stories, I’m busy imagining my own happily ever after.

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