How to Make a Gun from a Clothespin

We have all seen the shows with the hero of the day manufacturing some crazy contraption that saves the world. It is complete ingenuity and a whole lot of creativity that is used to think of ways to use the materials at hand to create the one tool that saves the world.

In real life, you may not have to worry about being anybody’s hero, but you certainly want to save your own life and the lives of the people you love. You may very well need to have that creative genius working for you.

What if you need a weapon and you are trapped in the laundry room of the house? Or, what if you need a weapon that isn’t really a weapon so you can disable a captor? You may be thinking along the lines of a pipe, frying pan or even a bottle of bleach. All will definitely work, but what about using a clothespin?

Oh yeah, you can make a gun out of clothespin that can be used to stun an attacker so you can get away. All you really need is something that inflicts some level of pain to make an attacker stop for a second. In many cases, a split second is the difference between escaping and surviving or being captured and seriously injured or killed.

Really, a clothespin gun is just one of the many variations you can come up with. Learning how to make this handy tool will give you the basic knowledge needed to create similar weapons from other things you can find at the ready. This gun isn’t a “gun” per se, but it has some range.

This allows you to hit a target without being within reaching distance. The goal in any self-defense situation is to keep yourself out of the reach of an attacker. If you can’t get away, you need to disable the attacker long enough to make a run for it.

Making the Gun


The materials list for this gun is incredibly short. All you need is a clothespin, two rubber bands and your ammunition. Ammunition can be sewing needles, toothpicks, darts or even a lit wooden match if you want to start a fire.

You will need an xacto knife to carve your gun. You could also use a razor blade or knife. You will need to be careful as the wood is extremely soft and can be easily carved through with the slightest pressure.

  1. Carefully take the clothespin apart, making sure you don’t break the soft wood or stretch out the spring. Open the clothespin so the small indentations in the wood are facing up.
  2. Use the xacto knife to notch the square part of the clothespin out about two centimeters. Basically, you are just making the small groove in the wood a bit bigger, while keeping it a square. It needs to be as close to a square as possible.
  3. Next you want to create a chamber of sorts. Use the knife to draw a line directly down the center towards the slimmer end of the clothespin. Notch the line until it forms a groove that is deep enough to cradle your ammunition of choice. The chamber should stretch between the thin end of the clothespin
    back to the squared out area.
  4. Repeat steps two and three on the other half of the wooden clothespin.
  5. Put the clothespin together by putting it back the way it originally was. The two thick pieces will be pressed together and the two thin pieces with the barrel carving inside will be pressed together. Use a rubber band to hold the thick end together. You will need to wrap the rubber band around the clothespin several times depending on the size of the rubber band.
  6. Now it is time to attach the spring. You will want to have one of the metal hooks hooked into the inside front slots and the other hook on the underside of the clothespin slightly in front of the first hook. When you are holding the gun, the spring should be under the pin and at a slight angle backwards towards the thick end. It will resemble a trigger.
  7. It is time to load the gun with your ammunition of choice. Slide the toothpick or whatever your ammo is into the front end, down the barrel of the gun. Push it until you reach the spring and the ammunition cannot go back any further. Don’t force it. Ammunition with a flat back will load better. You can snap the end off of the toothpick to make it less pointy.
  8. Fire your clothespin gun by using your finger to pull back on the spring. This will launch your ammunition. Depending on what you used for ammunition, you can expect your bullet to launch about 20 feet. The closer the target, the harder the impact will be. If you are trying to stop an attacker, aim for the eyes or face. Your bullet may not be strong enough to penetrate clothing. Using a lit match as your ammunition will absolutely be effective. Starting a fire as a distraction will give you the time you need to escape.

If you are in a setting with several people, making enough clothespin guns and firing simultaneously at a target will be much more effective. The guns can be reloaded over and over, but the spring may eventually weaken with repeated use.

Because clothespins, rubber bands and toothpicks or straight pins are so inexpensive, it makes sense to buy a box or bag of each and prep a slew of guns to have at the ready. This is an option for office workers who find themselves in an active shooter situation or are being held hostage. The basic supplies are easy to find in any desk drawer.

Dave Steen

About The Author: Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family. Click Here To Read More About Dave

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