Ithaca Auto & Burglar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ithaca Auto & Burglar Gun
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byBank guards, police, messengers, home defense
Production history
ManufacturerIthaca Gun Company
Produced1922 - 1933
No. builtapprox. 4,000
Mass2 kg (4.5 lbs)
Length406mm (16 inches)
Barrel length317mm (12.5 inches) or 257mm (10.1 inches)

Caliber20 gauge, 28 gauge

The Auto & Burglar Gun was a US-made factory-built handgun that was commercially manufactured by configuring a standard double-barrel shotgun with a pistol grip, at first engraving and later stamping "Auto & Burglar Gun" on each side of the frame, and shortening the barrels to about 10" to 12.2" in length.


Model A[edit]

The Auto & Burglar Gun was manufactured in two variations. Approximately 2,500 of the original variation were manufactured from 1921 to 1925 using Ithaca's standard 20 gauge Flues model shotgun, and designed to fire 2½" shells. Sometimes referred to as "Model A", its barrels were about 10" in length. These guns should only be fired with 2½" shells; firing longer shells will "bulge" the barrels.

Flues model[edit]

The Flues model was designed with a "saw handle" style grip featuring a large spur at the top to absorb recoil.

New Improved Double model[edit]

Ithaca redesigned the gun in 1925 using its New Improved Double (NID) model shotgun, which fires 2¾" shells; the barrels were lengthened to about 12.2"; and the grip was redesigned without the spur. Sometimes referred to as "Model B," about 1,500 were manufactured. Model A and Model B are not formal factory designations.[1]


Ithaca stopped manufacturing the Auto & Burglar Gun when it became subject to registration and a $200 transfer tax under the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 (the transfer tax was reduced to $5 in 1960). Relatively few Auto & Burglar Guns were manufactured, and they are today highly prized as collector's items. Approximately 20 Auto & Burglar Guns were specially manufactured, representing .410 bore, 28 gauge, and 16 gauge, only 11 of which have been reliably documented, and all these guns are extremely rare.[2] The earliest known Ithaca Auto & Burglar Gun was manufactured about 1921, possibly as a prototype; it bears serial number 354442; is in 28 gauge with 12" barrels; "Auto & Burglar Gun" is hand-engraved on each side; and the gun is listed separately in the Firearms Curios or Relics List published by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

While it is sometimes incorrectly identified as a "sawed-off shotgun," the Ithaca Auto & Burglar Gun is a smooth bore pistol which since 1934 has been classified as an "Any Other Weapon" (AOW)[3] under the NFA, and it must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Auto & Burglar Guns that are not currently registered are contraband, and cannot be legally possessed or registered. The penalties for illegal possession include up to a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison.

The "auto" in its name referred to "automobile"; it was intended as a self-defense weapon which could easily be carried in an automobile, but it was taken up by bank guards, police departments, watchmen and messengers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Ithaca Auto and Burglar Gun," in The World's Fighting Shotguns, by Thomas F. Swearengen. Vol. IV. Hong Kong: Chesea, Ltd., 1978, pages 80-84.
  2. ^ 2004 Standard Catalog of Firearms: The Collector's Price & Reference Guide, by Ned Schwing. 14th edition. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, pages 605-607.
  3. ^ "Any Other Weapon," as defined in 26 U.S.C., § 5845(e), means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

External links[edit]