The Sleeve Gun

You’ve seen it in movies such as:

Taxi Driver:


Alien Resurrection:

And many more…

I should have known that people would build their own!

There is a tutorial on youtube.  It definitely could have been more helpful with the plans, but if you are good with you are mechanically inclined I’m sure you would be able to figure it out.

[youtube width=”560″ height=”340″][/youtube]

There Doesn’t seem to be very many people on YouTube that built one, besides one Asian guy.  His works and looks awesome though (see video below).  Very Taxi-Driver-esque!  He ever has the De Niro style jacket from Taxi Driver on.


I wouldn’t recommend trying to build one for anything other than pure entertainment and proof of concept. The fact that the gun is flying out of your sleeve means that if the trigger catches on something on the way out, the gun is going to fire.  Use a toy gun.  If you happen to not heed my warning and build one for a real gun, pleese do not conceal carry this way, because it is not safe for so many reasons.

I can see it now, you’re at a Starbucks about to hand the barista your Rewards Card and all of the sudden your Ruger LCP flys at light speed of of your sleeve.  A dozens Starbucks patrons crap their pants, you make it on to National news, the Brady campaign uses you as an example, and you go to jail and pay a huge fine.  It’s not worth it.  Your Friends will be just as impressed if you use a toy gun, and don’t take it off your property.


42 responses to “The Sleeve Gun”

  1. That’s pretty cool! I’ve thought those were neat ever since I first saw Jim West use one for his derringer in Wild Wild West when I was a kid :)

    I agree completely, though – Extremely bad idea as an actual carry method in real life.

    1. Hero-For-Hire Avatar

      Re; “Extremely bad idea as an actual carry method in real life”

      —Actually, it depends upon where and when you pack it.

      I spent 12 years as a P.I./Freelance Security …In the course of things, I contacted Tim Smyth, builder of the original WWW sleeve gun rig and got him to make one for me.

      On three occasions the gadget saved my life and the life of another by giving me a gun, pointed and ready before someone else could commit to violence.

      I kept one of two derringers on the rig; either an Alerican Derringers Model One, chambering .410 shotgun shell (triple-ought buck) and .45 Long Colt…OR a North American Arms .22 5 shot in hollow point (basically carried during summer, when it was too warm for a concealing coat)

      Of course, I have a concealwed carry permit–something I would advise if you consider packing a sleeve gun rig.

      Great widget for back-up to have if you are going in harm`s way–makes you the fastest draw, North South, East ..or WEST.

    2. Jessie Mitchell Avatar
      Jessie Mitchell

      I was wondering if you could build me 2? Well I better ask how much would it be for that

  2. Priest Avatar

    yeah, agreed. besides, if I was going to make a prop for a carry gun, it would be one of those shoulder mounts from “Predator” or the Starship Troopers book.

    Note to self…..wear ear pro.

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      hahah a real shoulder thing that goes up! Now there is a project someone needs to do! Hows your weekend looking Priest? Make a “how to” :P

  3. Meh. What does it matter if it’s ‘one Asian guy’. If he were black or white would you say ‘one Black guy’ or ‘one White buy’. Seriously.

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      LOL thanks for giving me one last laugh before I go to bed.

    2. Maybe one Redneck….

  4. Bryan S Avatar

    Not to mention the feds will send you to the pokey for 10 years because you didnt register the assembly as an SBR.

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      Good point! I never thought of that, but that definitely would be considered a stock since it adds stability.

      1. I don’t see how it could be an SBR, since to be a short-barrelled rifle it would have to be a rifle, and part of the definition of a rifle under the NFA is that the weapon be “designed to be fired from the shoulder.” For the same reason, it couldn’t be a “weapon made from a rifle.” However, it could be an AOW. You’d have to call the ATF and find out.

        1. magnumstarr Avatar

          To Keith , Need your E- mail address and I will get back to you .Thanks for the interest. masnum starr .

  5. I have actually built a few models, I am working on a concept for larger guns 9mm to .45, the design is more like Indy Moguls, (very similiar)

    it’s hard to find drawer slides similar to the one used in the asian video. If I could find a supply of those kinds of drawer slides I would do it.

    As far as I can tell there is nothing illegal about this, however it could be argued that any mount which causes you to alter the handle of the pistol in any way could be seen as a handle modification which is illegal under the assault weapons ban. The way around this is to work with guns with customizable grips (or have handles considered by the manufacture to be “grips” like the Ruger LCP or the Kel Tec PF9), and do just what the guy in the asian video did, install the pistol mount to the pistol grip’s screw.

    Another interesting thing about the Asian guy’s design is that he uses latex tubing as the spring – , this was a terrific idea, because there is nothing else I have found yet that was really suitable for this application, most springs are too powerful and when compressed makes up about 2 inches (which takes away from the travel along the rail). (You don’t have to worry about that with the latex, as it will collapse as the pistol is drawn forward) Also the coefficient of extension is very good (meaning that from compression to full extension – with acceptable draw force – the length of the tube can expand 3-4 times in length.

    The difficulty with this design is that it limits the kinds of guns you can use, If you see the asian guy’s video the gun he uses is no bigger than 5 inches, putting it in the very small range .22 to .25 acp – guns with pretty dismal stopping power. If you want a gun with real stopping power, 9mm is preferable, his design probably cannot accommodate for that, as the travel of his rail is insufficient. Typically even sub-compact 9mm are at least 6 1/2″ of length from the thumb pit to the nozzle. An additional distance of travel is required to take the nozzle from the wrist to the pit of the thumb (for me this measurement is about 3 inches, so the minimum travel of rail (or rail length has to be about 10 inches – longer than most people’s forearms to wrists)

    Another problem with his design is that it prevents the user from being able to bend his arms comfortably

    There are a couple of safety mechanisms I have put on mine, which allows you to lock the slider in place by a wingnut tightener you can grip through the fabric of your sleeve. you don’t have to worry about accidentally holding up a starbucks, and in the case you are in trouble, you can simply twist the wingnut through the fabric of your sleeve, which, in a self defense situation would not look overtly suspicious.

    The second issue you brought up was a good one, about accidental firing. The simple solution is to have a single action pistol, like Jim West’s derringer or to have a long pull trigger like the Kel Tec PF9, and if that doesn’t suffice, install some kind of trigger shield on the far side of the pistol.

    As far as a business model, it’s not something that is very easy to do, each rail has to be tailored to the person using it. The dimensions of the persons arm for instance will determine the compatibility of certain guns, also, the kind of clothing the person would have to wear would make them stand out, the sleeves would have to be fairly wide, not quite the size of a wizards robe but definitely a sleeve size larger than most. (if the sleeve is too large, then of course people can see up your arm.)

    There is another risk too. Police officers won’t like it, because they are not typically trained to deal with someone who can draw their pistol in the blink of an eye. I’d expect they would try to shut your business down the first chance they got.

    1. Hero-For-Hire Avatar

      RE; “The difficulty with this design is that it limits the kinds of guns you can use, If you see the asian guy’s video the gun he uses is no bigger than 5 inches, putting it in the very small range .22 to .25 acp – guns with pretty dismal stopping power”

      I`ld have to argue that the optimum useage for this is at decidely close range–less than 10 feet, and the surprise factor of having a gun suddenly in hand works well to back off an altercation….

      Further, even a .22 at close range (albiet, preferrably a .22 mag hollow point) is worth having . Getting shot is not something that anyone aspires to.

      Incidentally, I have an American Derringers Model One that chambers either .410 shotgun load or .45 Long Colt–pretty good stopping power there.
      Downside; you`ve only got two shots.

      1. Bond Arms out of Granbury, TX. Same frame barrels from .22 to .45/410 ga. My wife bought me one for my birthday. I have several different barrels for it but my main use is the .45 (LC), I will use .45 ACP when I get that barrel. The main use I find for the derringer is the “get off of me’ point blank reaction. Stops the thought of any action when they feel it or see it ‘appear’. Just like the side arm was mainly used to give you a chance to get your rifle or shotgun into play, the derringer gives you the chance to get your main side arm into play, if it doesn’t stop the threat entirely.

    2. Tony Bologna Avatar
      Tony Bologna

      I don’t know if you have ever been shot, but I have…at close range by a small Browning .25 and while I was probably lucky that it didn’t go between my rib cage and Peirce my Heart and instead it ricocheted off one of my ribs while cracking 2 of them and then exiting from my lower back. I’ll tell you right now, it felt like someone hit me with a Sledgehammer and it put me down on the ground!! So yes maybe if the person you shoot with a small caliber gun is High on Powerful drugs it might not help but it will put most people down with one shot. I saw a video of a Huge Black guy get shot 2 or 3 times in his upper body by a cop who I’m sure had a 9mm and it didn’t even phase the guy, so like I said, the caliber doesn’t matter depending on who you are shooting. ;)

    3. I have two points that I would like to make in reply to what you stated. First, I own a Davis .38 which is now Cobra and it is 4.75 inches long. The major advantage to this Derringer is for about $250 I can get barrels for .22, .25, .32, .38, 380 plus the conversion kits from center fire to rim fire The other point I would like to make is that while the 9mm is popular it is not a caliber that could even be considered a stopping round at the distance you would be firing with an arm slide due to the fact that far to many 9mm at a distance of 30 feet or less, which is a fair distance to consider using an arm slide simply go right through the target and it takes precious wasted time for the shootee to slow down as opposed to a tumbling round from a .38,.45. and others. What I mean is that if a person is running at you and you fire a .38 or .45 the person will be stopped pretty much dead in their tracks. If you do the same with a 9mm in the same situation it is entirely conceivable that the person you shot is in your face.If you are planning to shoot at a target/person at about 100 yards the 9mm is ideal.

    4. Jim Rothman Avatar
      Jim Rothman

      Hi there. I came across your post and wondered if you can help me:

      I need a props guy, worker guy, handyman, or anyone capable of doing it, to build me a sleeve gun style prop for a scene for a film. Think either Taxi Driver or Desperado, where the character would flick his wrist and out pops a gun.

      HOWEVER, this is the caveat. You are not building the device for a gun. You would be building it for a mini-scythe. The Grim Reaper’s weapon that he’s known for is a scythe. That tool. But there are also smaller hand held version of this device. You would be building it to fit that instead. The action for the character in this scene/film is the same. Flicks his wrist, out pops the mini-scythe.

      I will compensate you for whatever materials you need in order to build the device but please limit yourself to nothing terribly expensive. Obviously we will discuss what it is you think you’ll need.

      This is a prop for scene from a feature film I am trying to raise money for. Can you help?

      Email me. [email protected]

  6. I have switched to making a new model, this one using a typical wheel and rail. This required a bit of ingenuity as these types of rails can’t be purchased at a hardware store. There are only three types of drawer rails available at any hardware store, the bearing rail, which restricts travel length – and is difficult to attach rivets, the second is the interlocking drawer rail, which will come apart on your arm, and then there is the bottom wheel and rail, which would be ideal, if you can find one where quality of the parts are better (the ones I have come across are extremely difficult to work with and are very rickety).

    I had to make the rail myself using steel square pipe and a table saw. The result is a much better, smaller, lighter and cheaper rail (material costs per unit have gone from about $34 to about $9 a unit, not including savings from bulk purchases, in addition, the travel length has gone from being sub 5″ to being more than 12″! Meaning you could theoretically house a gun as long as 9 inches in length!.

    Height and thickness are also restrict the guns you can use and the comfort to which you can wield them. one way to maximize the gun size is to attach the rail below the arm, using a kind of padding that lowers the rail, and is more flush with the surface of your arm, – the idea is the sleeve hangs below the arm, so if you take up that space, no one will see it and it won’t be as likely to catch on your sleeve. as it pulls forward or if you cock it back.

    in the Asian guy’s video, you’ll notice that there is a bent metal arm or pole, I could not find anything as ideal as his – the best I could do was a large door latch you can buy at Lowes – it’s by far the most expensive part at ~ $6 and it is far from ideal.

    I also realized that the latex tubing used in the Asian guys video is a smaller diameter than the kind you can get a any hardware store – so you have to buy bulk from an online retailer in order to get it – I would guess that 1/8 inner diameter is ideal. The problem is that in order to make a rail like the Asian guys you have to wrap the tubing around the front of the rail, and in order to get a smooth draw, you need a wheel on the front – if you don’t use a wheel and just bend the tube around a smooth surface, the tube will not contract all the way as the tube binds to the smooth bent surface. and the gun will not pull all the way up the rail.

    The wheels for the latex tubing can be purchased a a local hardware store will cost you around $5 for two wheels – they are for sliding doors, buy the fattest, smallest diameter wheels you can find, and are the second most expensive part in making the sleeve gun.

    The rail wheels are the cheapest part, the wheels don’t have to spin, they can just glide down the rail, I’ve made them by JB welding a washer nut washer “sandwich” – using a lock washer and nut to bind it to the rail slider. It works well, but it can be a bit annoying if you get the epoxy on the upper area of the bolt. you have throw them away.

    If you study the Asian guy’s video, it’s just like Travis’s, the way it works, is there is a locking mechanism that works because the moment of the gun and arm (which attaches to the slide, creates a counter clockwise moment [for a right hand sleeve gun]), forcing the back wheel upwards and front wheel downward, if you make a hole on the top part of the rail, the wheel will get stuck in the hole, keeping it in place. When you move your arm down, you accelerate your arm down faster than the gun can fall in free fall, the counter clockwise moment goes in the opposite direction for that short acceleration, and the wheel is forced out of the hole.

    As someone already mentioned, you don’t actually need any kind of spring (although it’s preferable), gravity, or the centripetal force of moving your arm should be sufficient to move the gun down the rail and into your hand.

    If you are going to try and make this, be careful, especially when making the rail out of square tubing using a table saw, the safest way to make this is lower the saw as much as possible, guide the rail down the tables saw by applying a steady force on the square pipe, you have to force it diagonally downward and away from you, against the rip fence. The best way I have found, is to cut a section of square pipe, and cut a right angle on one end, the pipe’s end should fit on the corner of the pipe and will allow you to push the rail against the rip fence and down onto the saw without having to have your hand right next to the saw. Even so, it’s very dangerous so be very careful. – it’s best to cut with very long sections as opposed to short sections of pipe. So cut them into sections after making the pipe into a rail.

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      Cool! Keep me posted Andrew.

  7. I have made a number of changes to the rail since last time;

    In the last post I mentioned a washer-nut-washer sandwich, I said that it worked “pretty well”. But I said that before really testing it out. As soon as I attached the extension arm with fake gun, binding on the rail became a real problem. So I eventually replaced the washer-nut-washer sandwich with a very well suited nylon washer 3/8″ outer diameter. It’s also very inexpensive – at just $.15 a piece – and I didn’t even bother to shop around. But the Ace Hardware attendant said that I could probably talk to their supplier and negotiate a lower price.

    After sanding down the rail, and applying WD 40, the rail moves up and down with an acceptable level of vibration with much less wobble than before.

    The bigger nylon wheel also allowed me to revert back to my previous rail design (which has a much bigger opening – the bigger opening allows me to sand and polish the rail much more easily, without breaking cutting wheels, or creating divots on the inside of the rail – of all the improvements, this is probably the most significant. (the smaller suface area with the nylon washer means there is probably a whole lot less resistance.)

    The second change I made is the orientation of the rubber tube pulley wheel (or U groove sliding door wheel) – I switched from vertical with the rail, to placing the wheel onto the front of the rail (just like the asian guys). I’ve removed unnecessarly heavy and obstructive rail plates, and changed the extension arm from the door latch I got at Lowes, to a KSMETAL 3/16″ OD aluminum tube which I bent by hand (with help from the rubber tube pulley wheel) . The tube is not strong enough so I am going to switch to a 3/8″ brass tube as soon as they get in stock.

    I’ve purchased a Tekton by MIT tube bender from Amazon for like $20 (incl. shipping) that should work well for bending the 3/8″ brass tube. I’ll then crimp both ends with a bench vise. the crimped ends of the bent tube will be pop riveted onto the rail plate and bolted onto the gun grip plate (which will be specific to the gun).

    The Sig Sauer P238 is the gun of choice because of cool looks, small size, and most importantly the distinctive removable grips – it looks like it will be easy to work with, and I will probably just fit the gun grip plate underneath the grips. I’m betting it will be really sturdy and be minimally obtrusive. (No damage to the gun, and no discomfort to the shooter’s hand.)

    I haven’t gotten to developing the drop rail idea yet. My first notion was that I would have to making a padding specific to the persons arm, but I think I just thought of a much simpler way…

    Infact I am sure it will work, I just need to make two brackets about an 1 or 2 inches long rivet one end to the surface of the belt that is parallel to the palm, and bolt the other end to the rail…

  8. James Avatar

    To the moderator: I know this is a old post I remember from a episode of the W.W.W. that Conrad was test the device with his shirt off and he had to press a release button on the device to trigger it. Recently on NCIS L A Hetty is seen carrying and using it she had what looked like a .22 mag wasp s/a revolver attached to it took out two hard cases with throat shots

    1. ENDO-Mike Avatar

      Cool! Glad to hear the idea is still alive and being rehashed.

  9. James Avatar

    Go to NCIS L A site on and watch the season ending episode and watch Hetty in action. They show the rig on a table slide bar and all I wish I could find the plans for Jim West hold out device I would carry a wasp as a back up I usually carry a PPK/S but I don’t fast draw if a guys pointing at me with a drawn weapon so the hold out would be a good back up

  10. […] guy should work on an updated version of the sleeve gun with the skillz he has. Tweet Posted by: ENDO-Mike May 28, 2011 Categories: YouTube Tags: […]

  11. […] guy should work on an updated version of the sleeve gun with the skillz he […]

  12. Ok so I have gone back to making my gun rig after a long ciesta.

    I have gotten serious about this thing, I am going to machine shops to help me build it. I will post a youtube video when it’s finished (expect about 2 weeks).

    The design should improve upon what the Iti3 has made in terms of comfort and item compatability. One problem with the Iti3’s device is the rail is too short, and the device can be uncomfortable, the arm is too far away from the hand leading to awkward gripping, the rail is too bulky.

    I solved this problem by lowering the rail down the arm, it doesn’t come in contact with the elbow pit but actually extends a little bit past the elbow. This allows gun replica sizes to be significantly (or other devices) to be larger.

    One other problem is the wheel design, while I like the compactness of his design, it causes the rail to be bulkier, the rubber tube has an increased chance of coming loose when the wheel is positioned horizontally. Unless a more sutiable wheel is found (one with a smaller diameter) a horizontal wheel is less than desirable. Instead a vertical wheel will utilize unused space on the upper part of the arm.

    Another problem are the straps, they are too far up the arm, they should be down closer to the elbow for a firmer hold the rail itself with wobble more unless the straps are uncomfortably tight, people with fatter arms can’t use the rail for concealed carry.

    Forth and most significantly is the price. He is selling the rig for $329 USD in Japan! that price is too high.

    A fifth problem is the compatablity of items, the foward plates should be designed to accomodate a wide range of replica pistols (and other devices like cellphones).

    Admittedly mine will be of reduced build quality (at least initially) I will be using hot rolled steel as opposed to stainless, my wheels are made out of nylon washers, straps will probably be pop riveted on with steel rivets. I am still in the protyping stage, hopefully something will come of this.

    1. Andrew,

      Did you ever get this solidified or finished? Reason I ask is because I’d like to know if you can build one for me. I have a theatrical show that requires the use of a similar mechanism for a knife, and I’ve been met with numerous issues using the Drawer Rail system, and can’t quite seem to get it working. If you can make a new one, or have a spare one to sell that I might be able to modify, please let me know.


  13. if you were to use a blackpowder derringer or black powder revolver it wouldn’t be considered an SBR or illegal in most states because muzzleloaders and any other black powder weapon are NOT considered firearms in the eyes of federal but each state may vary on laws. In Indiana its cool however i DON’T suggest carrying a weapon on a sleeve holdout whether illegal or not because it would surely lead to searchs of vehicle and property and interrogation as to why such a device with weapon are being carried on your person, just sayin. either way it looks awesome maybe a slapjack would be considered a lesser threat lol

  14. Wild wild west shows the sleeve gun rig in season 3 episode: the night of the circus of death, original air date 11-03-67 let me know if you have any luck. i to would like one of these myself.thanks

  15. magnumstarr Avatar

    a am a machineist and have built a cocealcarry device like the world has never seen before. If you like to know more E-mail me . posted 5\30\13 .

    1. magnumstarr Avatar

      my device is machined from aluminum . the weight of the coceal carry device is only 8 ounces . It is truly a work of art. No one has came up with the system that this works on . It is light , easy to wear and only 8and 3/4 long by 1and 1/4 wide and 3/4 thick. The prototype works great , Jim West would loved it ! I need some feedback on this to see if there is enough interest to market this device . The gun it deploys is the north American mini revolver. It only weights 6 ounces ,so the total weight of the whole Rig is under a pound. If you ever wanted a conceal carry sleeve rig this is one that has no equal !!!

      1. Allen Jaffe Avatar
        Allen Jaffe

        I have the mini five shot revolver. I would be interested in your device.

        Thank you

    2. Allen Jaffe Avatar
      Allen Jaffe

      Please tell me about it. Sounds interesting

    3. allen jaffe Avatar
      allen jaffe

      How much would you charge to make one and do you recommend a specific handgun for best performance?

  16. magnumstarr Avatar

    Have built a sleeve gun rig that is better than anyones . If interested about this , drop me an E- mail.

    1. I am interested in your sleeve gun rig. Please send some information. I have a 9mm Cobra.

  17. magnumstarr Avatar

    My E-Mail address for the above mention sleeve gun rig is – [email protected]

  18. I found this group buy looking for deringer rig groups .What I am trying to find is a belt buckle that actually holds a Deringer. Saw one years ago at gun shop years ago and I am still kicking my self for not getting it. Anybody?

    1. I would like to know more about the belt buckle rig too. If you find out where a person might get one, let me know if you would. Thanks in advance.

  19. Jessie Mitchell Avatar
    Jessie Mitchell

    How much is it going to cost me to Han 2 built 1 for each arm

  20. Keep the hammer in the safe position and it’s not that much of a risk. Thinking a scenario through from all angles includes thinking about normal safety protocols for all concealed firearms. Though an open trigger is never a good idea, a good delivery mechanism and proper safety protocol would mitigate the risk.