There are some really famous guns out there. Most of them are famous because they are great. Everybody wants them, and all other guns want to be like them. Then there are the famous guns that never really made it. They lived a short live and disappeared, but today, everybody understood how great they were and wished for them to come back.

And there is one more group of famous firearms. They are not great, they are not loved, and nobody wishes them to come back. In fact, they are hated, and everyone remembers them as being more dangerous to the shooter than to the guys on the receiving end. These are the most hated guns in history.

6. Chauchat

The Chauchat is easily the most hated weapon in the world through the history of warfare. It was meant to be a light machine gun. For that, it was carried by one soldier alone to support and assault, and to be used in defense after the assault took some ground and the counter attack would come.

While the principle is sound, the gun was not. Designed for the battlefields of World War I, it was seriously flawed. Who has seen pictures and movies about these fights knows that they happened in a pool of mud. The engineers did not care about that and made the Chauchat with a half-moon magazine at its underside that was open-sided. In other words, it was open to all the mud and dirt we associate with battlefield and more so with World War I. It was no wonder that this machine gun had a ton of stoppages.

Not helping was the long recoil operation of this weapon. It tended to heat up and jam the barrel to the rear. As a rule of thumb, you could expect a jam every 100 rounds fired in combat. As there was no alternative, the soldiers just had to make do with it. The American BAR came only close to the end of the war.

5. The Ross Rifle

The Ross Rifle made it into service for the Canadian military, and it came with an interesting design feature or rather design quirk. It was supposed to make it easier to fire aimed shots at a target in rapid succession. In other words, it was designed to be fast. However, it was a bolt action rifle, so how can you make that faster?

Normally, in a bolt action gun, you turn the bolt handle upwards. Then you pull it back, and after that you push it forward and turn it back downwards. What if you could cut out two of these steps? If you would not have to turn the handle, it would at least half the time to chamber the next round. That was a great idea by itself making for a single-motion bolt allowing quick fire. Said and done, and the rifle was born.

So, why is such a potentially great gun hated? Let`s put it mildly and say the bolt worked well when in use but did not do what it is supposed to when cleaning the rifle. What does that mean? You could indeed fire this gun quicker than others, as the turn and pull style was reduced to pull. However, when you clean the gun, you disassembly it.

Done with that, what do you do? You guessed it, you reassemble it. Have you seen a bunch of maybe not so well-trained recruits or people under time pressure do something like this? Some fumble, and the result is they make mistakes. Normally, a gun is built to avoid any dangerous kinds of reassembling, but in this gun with this bolt, you could actually put it back in incorrectly. Interestingly enough, the bolt would still be able to fire. Sounds great? Yeah, until you see the bolt itself come back at you pushed out by the pressure of the round that you just fired. The result can easily be predicted. Some good injured, some were less lucky.

Now, do not get me wrong, the Ross Rifle had its upside. It was for example very accurate, and do not forget the thing with the high rate of fire, but that brought another downside. The moment you use it in combat, it gets dirty. If the dirt gets into the gun, it just jams.

Also, at that time, there was a healthy tendency to use bayonets for obvious reasons as we speak about World War I. If the Canadian soldiers followed that practice and fired it with the bayonet fixed, they rifle shed said bayonet, so that the Canadians had enough. They could put up with a lot, but no bayonets, no, so they went for the Lee-Enfields whenever they could find one on the battlefield.

4. Sten Gun

The Sten Gun was an emergency weapon of its time. In World War II, UK was under the threat of a German invasion. The army just lost a ton of weapons at Dunkirk and was in a dire situation. It had to be armed, expanded, and made ready to fight one of the finest armies in the world at that time. The result was a cheap and poorly made gun that was fast to manufacture. Its nicknames speak for itself. It was called the “Plumber`s abortion” and the “Stench Gun” by the troops using it.

What was the problem with it? It was well known for misfires, and it was overall just notoriously unreliable. That led to the units issued with it to test them and weed out those that were not worth the trouble. Over time, the gun was improved, and finally, with the Mk V version, it would be sent to the front with British paratroopers and other units.

3. Breda 30

The Breda 30 was the Italian try to get a good light machine gun for its troops. It served during World War II and become famous for its many serious design flaws. As a machine gun, as you know, its main purpose was to send a lot of lead downrange. That principle is easy, and while you are supposed to aim while doing so, spray and pray is an accepted practice. Under normal circumstances, with a gun that has a high rate of fire, ample ammunition, and a well-built internal system, that is not a problem. Unlucky for the Italians, the Breda 30 was just lacking.

To get a high rate of fire, the action does not only have to cycle fast, but more so reliably. What you do not need is a failure with extraction. The thoughts of the Italian designers somehow fixated on the idea to avoid exactly that to ensure that the gun just shoots and shoots. In order to accomplish the feat, they devised a clever system that lubricated each cartridge on its way into the chamber. Do not get me wrong, the system was clever, not the idea.

Who has served in the military or used a gun not only on a nice and clean range knows that oil helps the action to cycle, and also helps in theory the round to enter and exit the chamber, but also attracts dirt. Yeah, the oil made for a lot of dust and dirt to stick to the gun and foul it up. That slowed down the rate of fire.

No, that was not the only problem with the oil. Even at a slower rate of fire, the barrel still got pretty hot. That in turn heated the oil. The result was a nice cook off of the round in the chamber and a run-away fire.

Now, in one more of their poor design choices, the engineers put in a feature that happily stopped every run off fire rather quickly. That is a fixed 20-round magazine. Yeas, right, a machine gun with a 20-round magazine is not that uncommon, but with a fixed magazine, good luck trying to find another one like those.

How did the troops load it? With stripper clips. Just imagining it makes you understand why the Italians lost battle after battle with these machine guns. The upside was that if the gun did cook off and fired the magazine empty, that did not last long thanks to the limited capacity. After that, the gun had time to cool while the crew frantically reloaded it with stripper clips.

2. FP-45 Liberator

The FP-45 Liberator was a small gun. Its purpose was to be built in great numbers and to be distributed to guerillas und resistance forces all over Europe and Asia. It was a single-shot weapons chambered in .45 ACP. It should be carried concealed and be used assassin style. Its effective range was limited to about 25 feet, and it was not easy to reload as the spent case had to be removed with a wooden dowel.

While all of this seems to make no sense and bar it from any use by any kinds of troops, it was more a weapon with a psychological effect in mind. The occupation forces should never and nowhere feel save. In theory, these guns could be dropped everywhere and used by everyone. While a large number of them were made, the concept was not convincing enough to actually hand them out to the intended users.

1. M16

What, really, the M16? Yes, everybody loves the AR15, the civilian version of the M16, and yes, there are soldiers who are very fond of this gun or its smaller brother, the M4, or any of the other versions. However, at the beginning, the M16 was hated, and it was not even the fault of the gun itself.

In its early days, it came with substandard powder for the ammunition. To make the problem worse, it was supposed to be a self-cleaning rifle. At least, that was told to the troops. With its direct impingement system, however, it was everything but self-cleaning. In fact, it fouled rather quickly. The result were failures to extract.

What happened was that this light gun that came with a lot of ammunition made the troops fire away happily until the chamber was fouled, and the gun would jam. Then, many of these unlucky GIs were found killed with their rifles in a state of disassembly trying to unjam them right there in the middle of the battle.

M16

The troops hated this rifle so much that they often enough tried to kill the enemy just to get his AK. Over time, changes were introduced, both for the rifle as for the way it is used and maintained, and today, it is the longest-serving standard rifle of the US military.

There you have it guys, some of the most hated small arms in the history of man. If you think we forgot one, let us know in the comments and tell us why it was hated so much.

Leave a comment