Inquiries are pouring in and orders are piling up for India’s first light-weight revolver specially designed for women, a $2,000-firearm weighing 500 grams. Production is already underway in the Indian Ordnance Factory belonging to India’s defense ministry in Kanpur in central India.
The handy 0.32 bore revolver is made of the lighter titanium alloy, has a cylinder which can be easily flicked open with a button to insert bullets and can be snapped back shut just as effortlessly. The trigger pull is lighter. “It is easy to handle and fits nicely in a lady’s purse,” said Sartaj Singh, chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board of India’s Ministry of Defence.
The factory has already totted up a 100 orders within days of opening the booking. Over three quarters of these orders have been placed by women. The weapon’s launch comes amidst risingsexual violence against women in India, a country where civilian weapons are uncommon and women carrying weapons is almost unheard of.
But times are changing: the gruesome gang rape of a young woman in a moving bus in Delhi a year ago, named the Nirbhaya case, led to a massive countrywide protest against sexual violence against women. The newly launched weapon is called Nirbheek. Both words mean ‘fearless’ in Hindi.
The Indian Ordnance Factory, whose main job is to manufacture weapons for India’s defense needs, expects a robust demand for Nirbheek. “The scenario today is such that a carrying a revolver can be a big deterrent,” said Singh who expects that the revolver will compete with those of Western weapon makers like Ruger and Smith & Wesson.
The factory believes export orders will start coming in soon too. “But we want to first cater to the demand from within the country,” said Abdul Hameed,general manager of the factory.