Howdah pistol is a term referring to a type of large-caliber handgun from the British Empire era, generally multi-barreled and breech-loaded.
The term "howdah pistol" comes from the howdah, a large platform mounted on the back of an elephant, which were often used by hunters as a platform for hunting. The howdah pistols were used by the hunters due to the threat of large wild animals.
The early howdah pistols were flintlock designs. Percussion models appeared about 60 years later. Cartridge firing and rifled howdah pistols were common by late 19th century and early 20th century.
The first breech-loading howdah pistols were essentially sawed-off rifles. Later English firearms makers manufactured specially-designed howdah pistols[ in both rifle calibers and standard pistol calibers, leading to the term being often applied to multi-barrelled handguns in general.