A gun manufacturer in India has claimed that its latest design is the absolute lightest of any self defense revolver on the market, short of derringers and other very small firearms. The state-owned Ishapore Rifle Factory recently unveiled the 8.8-ounce “Nidar,” which boasts a capacity of eight .22 rounds. The barrel length of the tiny gun is only 1.58 inches, with a total length of just 5.5 inches overall. Ishapore is marketing the revolver as a light, easily concealable self defense weapon for women.
“I believe our customers would be people who travel a lot, who have security risks. They will buy this gun for their personal safety,” factory supervisor PK Agarwal told the BBC. “I think it will be ideal for women. If a woman takes a taxi at night, the driver will think 10 times before trying anything with her because he knows she has a gun in her purse.”
The same factory made headlines two years ago when it launched another revolver called the Nirbheek, a .32-caliber revolver also marketed to women. It was significant at the time due to wide press coverage of violence in India towards women, especially the much-publicized gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, who was killed in Delhi in 2012. Both the Nirbheek and Nidar are named in remembrance of Singh, who was nicknamed “Fearless” after her death. The Indian press also reported an increase in women gun owners over recent years, and gun manufacturers have stepped up production to match. Officials at Ishapore say that carrying a firearm may make people feel safer and more confidant.
According to the latest Small Arms Survey, India has the second highest number of guns in private hands, only behind the United States. Indians own roughly 45 million firearms, although not all are legal. Firearms manufactured by major gun makers such as Ishapore are very expensive and are out of reach for most Indians. The Nidar is currently priced at 37,000 Indian rupees, which comes to about $548 dollars. Imported firearms, such as 1911-style pistols, can go for as much as three times their retail price in the United States. Firearms are so prized that it is not unknown for guns to be included in dowries.
Ishapore officials say they expect to sell 10,000 Nidar revolvers before the end of the year. The factory is one of the largest arms producers in India, having been established in 1904. Ishapore currently produces the INSAS rifle for the Indian Army, as well as other weapons like the Pistol Auto 9mm 1A, a Browning Hi-Power derivative.