Key guns could protect a jailer as he unlocked cell
By Larry LeMasters
There was a time when gun makers and lock makers teamed up to create a weapon that could be used in self defense by jailers.
Key guns were developed so a jailor could lock or unlock a jail door and, if an inmate tried escaping, the jailer could shoot the inmate through the key that he was still holding. For this reason, key guns were chambered for smaller musket balls, such as .32 or .38 calibers.