What is a Stinger Pen Gun and Is it a Legal Firearm?

When it comes to unique and ornate firearms, the pen gun is high on the list. A pen gun is not actually a pen, but a pen-sized pistol designed for extreme stealth. In the mid-1990s, R.J. Braverman produced the Braverman Stinger pen gun, and collectors can find one for sale at a gun auction near you.

Learn everything you need to know about the Braverman Stinger pen gun. Find out how it works, how valuable it is at auction and the legal categorization of this firearm. And, discover what the benefits and drawbacks are to using a pen gun as a personal protection weapon.

Stinger Pen Gun Guide in 2024:

The Braverman Stinger pen gun is not a widely used firearm, nor is it overly practical – but it is, undoubtedly, one of the most unique guns you can add to your firearm collection. Disguised as a common fountain pen, this tiny firearm folds into an “L” shape to engage the action, popping out a little trigger. And, it is this folding action that, under the National Firearms Act (NFA), allows the pen gun to avoid classification as an Any Other Weapon (AOW).

How the Pen Gun Works

The Braverman Stinger is unique amongst other pen guns, in featuring a folding pistol design. Since, when the gun was in its firing configuration, it resembled a standard pistol, the ATF classified it as a standard pistol. Therefore, unlike obscure weapons like a cane gun, you can buy a Braverman Stinger legally at auction or through your local FFL dealer.

What Are Pen Guns?

Since the inception of single cartridge ammunition, gunsmiths have endeavored to create stealth weapons for mostly military purposes. Since the early 19th-century, firearms have been disguised as canes, lighters, belt buckles, watches, and fountain pens. The first pen guns came about in the 1920s, designed for state-actors and spies to use while carrying-out missions of geopolitical and military espionage.

The pen gun was rifled for small rounds, such as a .22 caliber, and only holds a single round. After firing the round, the shooter has to reload the weapon, which usually involves removing the barrel. All in all, the pen gun’s advantage is stealth, while its drawbacks are its low capacity, power, and accuracy. Classified as a legal handgun by the ATF and readily transferable like most guns.

pen gun

The Braverman Stinger Pen Gun: Function, Legality, and Collectability

The Stinger is an NFA-friendly pen gun because the firing operation functions in the same way as a normal handgun. Unlike a WWII or Cold War spy, the Stinger looks like an ordinary pen, until the shooter puts it into its firing configuration. When the gun is in its “Pen” configuration, it is impossible to use as a firearm. Therefore, since the gun holds no firing functionality outside of its firing configuration, it is – for all intents and purposes – a standard firearm.

To fire the gun, turn the safety off, located on the barrel, by rotating it counterclockwise. At this point, the gun is ready to fire. After expending the single piece of ammunition in the barrel, you unscrew the barrel from the chamber, eject the spent cartridge, and reload another round into the barrel chamber.

At just over 6 inches long, the Braverman Stinger presents some serious drawbacks for use as a practical weapon. The gun is just about the same size as a real fountain pen, leaving it an extraordinarily short barrel from which to fire. And, the shorter the barrel, the less accurate the firearm.

Model 2 vs Stinger Pen Pistol

The Model 2 and Stinger Pen Pistol are both unique devices that resemble a pen but are capable of firing a single shot. The Model 2 comes in several calibers including .22lr and .25 acp, while the Stinger Pen Pistol is designed for .22 caliber. American Derringer Corp, the mfg of the Stinger Pen Pistol, has a long history of producing clandestine firearms, dating back to the 20th century. The difference between the Model 2 and Stinger Pen Pistol lies in the mechanism and style. The Stinger Pen Pistol features a steel striker mechanism, a secure pressure forward grip, and a pocket clip for easy carry. It is a non-NFA pen that is fully digital and safe to use. On the other hand, the Model 2 is a more traditional single-shot pen device with a co-toy ink tube sight and a locked in place pocket clip.

American Derringer
The Stinger Pen Pistol is often compared to the American Derringer Copy, as both are compact firearms designed to fit in a pocket or purse. The Stinger Pen Pistol, however, has a sleeker design and a more modern look, making it a popular choice for gun enthusiasts. The American Derringer Copy, on the other hand, is a more traditional pen pistol that closely resembles a pen in appearance. Despite the differences, both devices are reliable and secure, making them a popular choice for those looking for a discreet and dangerous self-defense option. Whether you prefer the Model 2 or the Stinger Pen Pistol, both are excellent choices for concealed carry and personal protection.

Braverman Stinger: Practicality vs Collectability

In real-world firing tests, it is almost impossible to hit a target at a distance of 20-feet. Like any pen gun, the Stinger’s only practical use is at an extremely close distance, which is suitable for personal defense. With a single-round capacity, however, it is not a practical conceal-and-carry weapon.

Nonetheless, the Braverman Stinger is fun to shoot and makes a valuable addition to any collection. These little guns saw a limited production period, with the Stinger Manufacturing Company finally going out of business in 2004. Since the period of production for the Stinger was less than a decade, these little guns command a pretty penny at auction.

During active production, between 1993 and 2004, you could buy a Stinger for as little as $100. Near the end of their production, in the early-2000’s, a Stinger sold for closer to $500. At a recent auction in October 2020, a Braverman Stinger sold for nearly $1,600 – well over the estimated high of $1,000.

So, whether or not you ever use a Stinger to commit international espionage, it is a fun and collectible piece that always draws a good conversation. Want to find out more about guns in an upcoming auction or adding your firearms to the auction list? Talk to a firearms auction expert today to bid on a pen gun for your collection and many other rare and collectible firearms. 

Q: What is a Pen Gun?

A: A Pen Gun is a unique firearm that is designed to look like a pen in its closed position but can be transformed into a pistol. 

Q: How does a Pen Gun work?

A: A Pen Gun typically functions as a single-shot firearm, meaning it can only fire one round before it needs to be reloaded. To operate a Pen Gun, the user usually needs to manually load a single round into the chamber, aim, and fire using the trigger mechanism.

Q: Are there different models of Pen Guns available?

A: Yes, there are various models of Pen Guns available on the market, each with its own design features and specifications. Some models may be designed to fire specific calibers such as .22 or .25 ACP, while others may have a different operating mechanism or construction material.

Q: Is there a historical background to Pen Guns?

A: Pen Guns have a fascinating history dating back to the 20th century when clandestine and covert operatives used these devices for concealed carry and self-defense purposes. Over the years, Pen Guns have evolved in design and function, becoming collector’s items in some cases.

Q: Are Pen Guns safe to use?

A: Like any firearm, Pen Guns must be handled with utmost care and responsibility. It is crucial to follow proper safety protocols, keep the device secure when not in use, and store it in a safe manner to prevent accidents or misuse. Users should be well-trained in firearm safety before operating a Pen Gun.