Smoking Kills: The Soviet Cigarette Case Gun

The 4-S110T firearm, along with the removable cigarette ends and leather case.

In 1954, Nikolai Khokhlov, a KGB officer, defected to the United States, and testified about the activities of the main security agency of Soviet Russia. He also presented a variety of KGB gadgets to the Americans, which included the sophisticated 4-S110T.

This firearm, made by Igor Yakovlevich Stechkin, was issued to KGB agents during the 1950s. It resembled a cigarette case covered in brown leather, which were common at the time. However, inside the case, under the 19 cigarette ends, was a deadly firing mechanism that was extremely discreet, and produced a sound no louder than the snap of the fingers. It had four conical barrels, each measuring 6.25mm across, which were fired with the help of a button on the side of the case. It could fire all four barrels sequentially. Despite all this, what made it truly lethal were the bullets. Each barrel was loaded with a single hollow bullet, which had a lead core covered by a soft steel jacket. Inside the cavity was potassium cyanide, which would spread into the body through the bullet wound, causing death, due to cerebral hypoxia, in a matter of minutes.

The resistance in the firing mechanism comprised of a 6mg nitrocellulose charge, packed around a thin copper wire. An aluminium piston was also present, which pushed the bullet out. The conical design of the barrel allowed the bullet to pass, but stopped the piston. This caused the combustion gases to get trapped in the chamber, thus producing little noise. The recoil was equivalent to that of a .22 LR, and was meant to be used in close quarters.

The compact design, and the appearance of the 4-S110T made it indiscernible, and the added element of stealth, because of minimal sound produced, lack of smell and muzzle flash, made it an ideal weapon for assassinations.

The weapons examined reflected a high degree of workmanship throughout. To devise a weapon so small and compact, yet powerful and deadly, indicates a vast amount of planning and research on the part of the Soviets in weapon miniaturization and design.

— CIA Report on the 4-S110T

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