Manufacturer American Machine & Foundry Co.
Number built 1,000
Weight 12 oz (340 grams)
Length 5.0 inches (127 mm)
Barrel length 1.875 (48 mm)
Cartridge 9x19mm Parabellum
Muzzle velocity 1050 ft/s (320 m/s)
Sights plastic clip
The Deer gun or Dear gun, was a successor to the Liberator pistol developed by the CIA. The single-shot Deer gun was intended for distribution to South Vietnamese guerillas as a weapon against North Vietnamese soldiers invading the South.
The Deer gun was made of cast aluminum, with the receiver formed into a cylinder at the top of the weapon. The striker protruded from the rear of the receiver and was cocked in order to fire, and a plastic clip placed there to prevent an accidental discharge, as the Deer gun had no mechanical safety. The grip has raised checkering, was hollow and had space for three 9 mm rounds, as well as a rod for clearing the barrel of spent cases. The Deer gun lacked any marking identifying manufacturer or user, in order to prevent tracing of the weapons, and all were delivered in an unmarked polystyrene box with a series of pictures depicting the operation of the gun, as well as three 9 mm rounds. A groove runs down a ramp on top for sighting. The barrel unscrews for loading and removing the empty casing. A cocking knob was pulled until cocked. The aluminum trigger featured no trigger guard.
The Deer gun was loaded by removing the barrel and placing a 9 mm cartridge in the chamber. The striker was then cocked, and a small plastic clip placed around the striker to impede the forward motion of the striker to prevent accidental discharge. The barrel was then screwed back onto the receiver. The gun was fired by removing the plastic clip, placing it on the barrel where it would become the sight, and pulling the trigger. At this point the user would take the victim's equipment if opportunity presented itself, and then flee. Later, the user would reload the gun by unscrewing the barrel and ejecting the spent case with the provided barrel rod, and follow the outlined procedure.
One production run of 1,000 Deer guns was made in 1964 as an initial run, with the final cost projected as 3.95 USD per gun. Unfortunately for the Deer gun, the scenario predicted did not occur. Rather than the Vietnam war being a small clandestine war, it became a full scale war where the Deer gun would not be as useful as foreseen. Some Deer guns were evaluated in Vietnam, but the fate of the rest is unknown. Some sources have stated that all were destroyed, but some have been discovered on occasion.