…Smith & Wesson’s Safety Hammerless revolvers were introduced in 1887. They were an instant hit with consumers looking for a quality, concealable handgun that could be carried with ease. Looking to the success of the velo-dog in Europe, Smith & Wesson decided to offer something similar in the States. While “velocipede” was a common term in Europe, “bicycle” was much more prevalent in the United States. As such, Smith & Wesson chose “Bicycle Gun” as the name for these new Safety Hammerless revolvers with short barrels.
With barrels ranging anywhere from 1 ⅜-inch to 2.5-inches, bicycle guns were most often produced as small-batch, special order guns. Because of this they number far fewer than their longer-barreled counterparts and are much rarer and highly prized by collectors.
When new, a “bicycle gun” cost of $26.50, but they’ll set you back considerably more today. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples that sold at Rock Island Auction Company in 2019…
(My own experience is that many dogs are attracted to legs pumping bicycle pedals. I learned early on, when passing a dog on a bicycle, simply to stop pedaling. Only once do I recall being chased by a dog while bicycling. I stopped , got off the bike, squatted to assume a less threatening profile and called to the dog to come to me. A relatively large Rottweiler, it would not come. It finally got bored and returned to the unfenced yard from which it had come.)