Wheelgun Wednesday: KUGS HD410 – Modern 410 Bore 18-Shot Pepperbox By: Hrachya H


Florian Kohli, the designer of the Swiss KUGS company’s firearms, has an interesting outside-the-box approach to designing firearms and his guns normally have unconventional features and general design. For example, his KUGS Fatboy single-shot rifle that we took a look at earlier, has an extremely simplified design and features like a fully threaded barrel and artillery-style sliding breech. What we have for today’s Wheelgun Wednesday is another unusual gun by Florian, an 18-shot 410 Bore pepperbox called HD410. Now, pepperboxes are pretty much extinct species of wheelguns and a modern pepperbox is not something we see too often, to begin with. On top of that, like other Kohli guns, the HD410 is not a common specimen due to its size and design features such as the lack of a trigger and the overpressure safety built into the cylinder. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? If it does, then let’s take a closer look at the design of the KUGS HD410 pepperbox.

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Pepperboxes @ TFB:

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First, let’s see how the company explains the reasons why the HD410 was created and the applications it can be used in.

We first developed the HD410 for a very specific requirement: self-protection against piracy on the high seas. It therefore combines instant readiness, high firepower, usability in tight, confined spaces, and ease of operation by a non-expert user.

Which makes the HD410 highly suitable for similar situational environments, e.g. courts of law, banks, embassies, and the like. But also as a primary home – or yacht – defense weapon.

KUGS HD410 has two rows of barrels, 6 in the inner circle and 12 in the outer one. What looks like a barrel in the center of the cylinder is actually part of a safety mechanism designed to vent forward the leaked gasses from an overpressure cartridge. The gun has an aluminum grip and stainless steel cylinder and breech block for high corrosion resistance in marine environments for which it was initially designed to be used in. Additionally, HD410 is stored with polymer caps in the muzzles to protect the bores from elements. The 410 Bore chambering was chosen because of the versatility of shotgun ammunition that can be loaded with anything from birdshot and less lethal loads to buckshot and slugs. KUGS HD410 can also fire .45 Long Colt ammunition. The accuracy of .45 LC fired in smoothbore barrels will leave a lot to be desired but this gun was designed as an emergency short-range weapon with a manufacturer-specified effective range of 7 meters. The KUGS HD410 can also be made in other calibers and even combine different calibers in its cylinder.

KUGS HD410 (4)

The breech block of KUGS HD410. Note that there is a separate firing pin for each of the 18 barrels.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, the KUGS HD410 has no conventional trigger and the way it is fired is by holding the cylinder in the support hand and rotating the grip. Technically, one can hold the grip and rotate the cylinder or as Florian told me, you can even roll the cylinder from your shoulder to your wrist if you are an action movie character, however, that’s not how it was designed to be used. The overall weight of the KUGS HD410 is 6 kilograms or a little over 13 pounds unloaded and according to the designer, the heavy weight makes the gun highly controllable and when you run out of ammo, you still have a blunt instrument! Below you can see the KUGS HD410 in action.

The faster you rotate the grip, the faster the gun will fire. It is also possible to design modes of firing two, three and four rounds at a time, or even the entire cylinder at once. One downside is the reloading time which is 20-30 minutes, however, the designer notes that 18 shots should be more than enough to take care of emergency situations that this gun was designed for. The polymer muzzle caps don’t have to be removed before firing the gun and they actually will allow identifying the remaining amount of ammunition in the cylinder. In order to be able to rotate the grip and start firing the HD410, one must first remove the safety pin, then disengage the safety lever that locks the grip to the cylinder.

KUGS HD410 (5)

The cylinder and breech block of KUGS HD410

The KUGS HD410 can’t be imported to the US, however, it can be made in the US. Here is a statement from the company’s website:

As per current ATF regulations, the HD410 cannot be imported in the USA. However, it can be manufactured and sold in the USA. If you are a US-based firearms manufacturer and would consider manufacturing and selling this unique product, feel free to contact us.

Florian will bring the KUGS HD410 to the “Bourse Internationale aux Armes” gun show that will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland from December 2 to 4. If you are in that part of the world and plan to visit the show, let us know about your impressions and observations in the comments section. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in a week, in the next installment of Wheelgun Wednesday!

Pictures by KUGS, www.kugs.ch