I first encountered this murderous creation of L. Doine Invor when my Grandfather took me to the PANHANDLE PLAINS MUSEUM in Canyon, Texas. He explained to me that it was actually three weapons in one.
In its 'carrying configuration' it was a set of brass knuckles capable of pounding one's opponent into a bloody pulp.
There was a knife as well. When this double edged ribbon of steal was deployed a man could be sliced to pieces.
If neither of these weapons was equal to the task the brass knuckles unfolded to make the grip for a revolver. Unfold the trigger and your enemies could be annihilated in a hailstorm of bullets.
I shuttered, realizing this deadly device was mere inches from me behind a thin sheet of glass.
I was six at the time.
In the, shall we say numerous, years since I have gained a more realistic understanding of the Apache. Still, they are neat beasties.
Production started sometime around 1869. I'm not sure how long they were made. Depending on when they were made, or the grade, the features change a bit. Being French, some are very fancy.
Others are, is functional the right word?
A few years ago I encountered one at Collectors Firearms in Houston, Texas. The clerk on duty was kind enough to take it out of the case and let me examine it.
I still think the little beastie would make a creditable set of brass knuckles. In fact, the knuckles are the heavest built part of it.
The knife changed on some models from a strait blade to a kriss style wavy blade on the one I was able to examine. After close inspection I'm not sure it would survive determined letter opening. This is not a knife I would want to make anyone made at me with.
This brings us to the firearm portion of the Apache. Depending on who you ask, it was available in 6mm or 7mm pin fire, perhaps both.
Pin fire cartridges seem to were in production in France longer than in the United States. Reloading equipment and components for pin fire cartridges are available in Europe. Be warned, they ain't cheap! It would take a very determined owner to be able to fire one.
Having said that, the pinfire cartridge seems to have a good track record. It only complaint I got on them when I made an inquire a while back was moisture coming in through the pin channel. If they are dry, they usually work.
In the case of the Apache my big complaint would have been the small caliber. Be it a 6 or 7mm black powder cartridge, you would get more punch out of a 22. This is something else I wouldn't want to get anyone mad at me with.
Still and all, I first saw one of these at a museum with my Grandfather. As of 2007 it was still there. The only reason I left 'Collectors' without it was the $2,600.00 price tag.