Mt. Carmel High School
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Cigarette case weapon
A cigarette case provided an excellent cover for this weapon, surrendered by KGB assassin Nikolai Khokhlov when he defected to West Germany in 1954. The device fired hollow-point bullets filled with poison through the false cigarettes at the opening of the case.
Khokhlov, sent to assassinate anti-Soviet emigre Georgi Sergeyvich Okolovich, defected rather than carry out his mission. Also in his possession were two miniature silenced pistols.
Designed to fire gas cylinders, these tiny Bulgarian-made weapons can also fire .32 caliber bullets. Once the arming ring is locked, the buttons on top of the device can fire one round from each of its two barrels.
At just one inch wide and three inches long, they are easily concealable and will not set off most airport metal detectors.
Because of their small size and short barrel, the devices have a great deal of recoil, are extremely loud and are not very accurate. They are described by some experts as a "last resort" weapon.
Since the end of the Cold War, these weapons have become readily available in southern Europe for as little as $20, Interpol officials say. The FAA issued a warning in May for airports to be on the lookout for the "keychain guns."
Throughout the Cold War, interrogation techniques reached ever-increasing heights of psychological, physiological and pharmaceutical sophistication. Despite the Hollywood fantasy of a heroic agent stoically refusing to answer questions under torture, it quickly became clear that no one could long withstand a technically skilled and ruthless interrogator.
Spies operating behind enemy lines might be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice and kill themselves to avoid giving up vital information or compromising the safety of fellow agents.
Suicide weapons, easily concealable and quickly lethal, were developed as a last resort should capture become inevitable. Fast-acting poisons that killed within seconds could be delivered in the form of a capsule, a glass ampule full of liquid poison, or a poison-tipped pin.
Suicide weapons are a less-than-perfect defense and are only as effective as the resolve of the operative; at the show trial of downed U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers, his poison pin was on display, debunking the U.S. claim that his was a weather flight.
As anyone who carries a pocket knife can attest, a sharp knife is often a useful thing to have. This is certainly true for people in the shadowy world of espionage.
Tiny knives, with blades less than an inch long, are primarily intended as escape tools, to cut bonds or loosen doors or windows. But they can also be used as a weapon in extremely close quarters, used to threaten the eyes or throat of a hostage.
The classic thumb knife, a tiny blade that can be hidden in a shoe heel, has been in use for decades; the more sophisticated version shown here is a coin with a hinged blade that could pass undetected in a pocketful of change.
Designed by the KGB, the poison-pellet umbrella was used in the assassination of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in London. A jab with an umbrella at a bus stop -- easily dismissed as a meaningless accident -- delivered a pellet of ricin, a poison derived from castor-oil seeds. Markov was dead soon after.
Ricin is an extremely toxic poison; Scotland Yard estimated that only 425 micrograms of the poison killed Markov. It is also extremely difficult to detect in the bloodstream. Markov's assassination was detected only because the pellet carrying the ricin had not dissolved as expected.
The KGB also designed a pen-sized assassination weapon to deliver ricin pellets, one of a family of poison assassination pens that delivered gas or liquid poisons.
The Stinger was the Western equivalent of the KGB single-shot pistol. A reloadable .22 caliber weapon, it came with a spare barrel strapped to the back with a plastic sheath. It was issued with seven rounds of ammunition and concealed in a lead-foil tube similar to ones used for a variety of consumer products.
This 4.5mm single-shot pistol, designed by the KGB, is surrounded by a rubber case. This allows it to be hidden in bodily orifices, making it easy to smuggle past all but the most dedicated search.
The device would be fired by twisting the knurled ring at the muzzle end a quarter turn. The small size of the weapon limited its range.
Similar KGB guns found by Western intelligence were disguised as lipstick or a pocket flashlight.
This silenced weapon was designed to be folded in a newspaper and fired from that concealment. The effect of its silencer is heightened by the fact that it is designed to be fired while pressed against the victim's body.
The KGB built both conventional and gas-firing versions of this weapon, which is similar to concealed and silenced weapons built during World War II.
Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife
Designed by two British officers based on their experience in close-quarters combat with the Shanghai police, the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife was a standard commando weapon in World War II and throughout the postwar years.
Originally deployed in 1941, the knife was designed to allow a trained commando to strike accurately at a target's vital organs. It remained in use, with various revisions, into the 1990s.