Spy Vs Spy


Throughout human history, surveillance and spy technology have always been at the forefront of military expansion. Countries spy on each other and frequently develop new and innovative spy tech. Knowing what other countries were up to has, and always will be, crucial for national safety.

And that's precisely what happened during the cold war, as the United States and the former Soviet Union squared off against one another while developing the world's deadliest technology: The Nuclear Bomb!

In the following article, we're diving into some of the most extraordinary spy gear used during the Cold War era as KGB and CIA spies faced off, allowing them to keep an eye on their enemies.


a bulgarian poison dart shooting umbrella

Known ubiquitously as the Bulgarian Umbrella, this ultra-lethal weapon was designed to look exactly like a regular umbrella but with deadly capabilities hidden inside.

The Bulgarian Umbrella, also known as the poisoned umbrella, was designed so that spies could use the umbrella as a dart gun, loaded with poisoned darts to neutralize their enemies at close range.


A gold hidden ring camera used by KGB spies during the cold war era

It's a little-known fact that shaking hands was often used as a way to see if another person was armed, something that's primarily useful during times of war and social espionage. So, what better way to keep an eye on your enemy than by using a hidden ring camera.

Agents could use this crafty device to obtain audio or video surveillance of potential threats while keeping itself hidden in plain sight on an agent's ring finger.

Be James Bond! Cameras Disguised As A Watch


Cold war era long range cameras helped collect evidence from a safe distance

Ever since the first telescopes and lenses were made, they've represented an ideal way to keep an eye on one's enemies.

However, during the Cold War, putting those same telescopic lenses into cameras was a game-changer for spies on both sides of the fence. Long-range cameras could be used to collect surveillance of one's enemy movements without them even knowing that they were being watched.

See Related: Night Vision Hidden Cameras


During the Cold War, meetings were often used as a time that one was able to get their enemies to confess a particular piece of confidential information accidentally. However, capturing that information on video needed to be done without the other guy knowing.

The briefcase camera was the perfect tool for collecting that much-needed piece of evidence about the enemy while meeting them to discuss Soviet politics over a friendly cup of coffee.

See Related: WIFI-Equipped Hidden Cameras


A cigarette camera used by the CIA during the cold war era

Image CIA Museum

Because of the nature of confidential information, it was often necessary to hide cameras or bugging devices in ordinary, everyday objects.

Back in the day, virtually everyone, from the dog to the cat, smoked cigarettes. Therefore, the cigarette case camera was the perfect weapon and an innocuous tool allowing agents to keep a surveillance camera nearby without anything looking strange or out of place.

See Related: Cameras Disguised As A Key Fob


A .22 caliber pistol with silencer, often used during the cold war by spies

As a small-caliber pistol, the silenced .22 pistol was the ultimate secret weapon for neutralizing bad guys without alerting the whole neighborhood to your presence.

Although a .22 will by no means pack a punch from long range, secret agents often used this silent weapon to pepper an enemy from close range while keeping everything on the down-low.


A pigeon camera used by both the CIA and KGB during the cold war eraImage CIA Museum                  

As a bird known for being easy to train and always eager to return to wherever its nest is, the pigeon was often used by the CIA and KGB during the cold war.

As soon as the United States and Soviet Union could get their hands on camera technology small enough, they began strapping them to pigeons and using the birds for their dirty reconnaissance work. Of course, pigeons are always unpredictable, but you better believe that a great deal of information has been collected using pigeon cameras.

See Related: Spy Recorders


Hidden Button Camera

One of the best ways to get a point-of-view shot of your enemy and those around you is by strapping a camera directly to your chest.

However, when you're looking for top-secret information, a camera strapped to your chest isn't exactly subtle. Thus, the brooch and button camera was designed to help spies capture that perfect face-shot of the bad guy!

See Related: Hidden Button Camera


A radio receiver built inside of a pipe, used by the CIA during the cold war

Image CIA Museum

Once again, smoking was used by the CIA, KGB, and other spy agencies to hide bugs and capture evidence.

Some reports believe these agencies would implant tiny radio receivers in smoking pipes, allowing secret agents to communicate with their cohorts without drawing too much attention.

See Related: Video Recording Spy Glasses


In an era of mistrust, it was highly challenging for secret agents to conceal a weapon for their safety.

That was, of course, only until Stanley M. Haight designed the Sedgley OSS.38 glove pistol at the height of the Cold War. Spies now held power to neutralize their enemies in the palm of their hand.


Spies shoes often had transmitters built into them for tracking

During the Cold War, technology was already getting smaller and smaller. But it was still hard to conceal an entire radio transmitter device on a person without making it evident to the people in their vicinity.

Fortunately, the Spy Shoe transmitter made it easy for agents to discreetly carry a radio transmitter deep into enemy territory.


Most often used by female spies and secret agents during the Cold War, the Lipstick Gun was designed to look exactly like a woman's red lipstick container, except with the hidden secret that it concealed a fully-loaded pistol round, ready to shoot.

Spies could easily offer their enemy their lipstick for a touch-up. Then, well, let's say that her lipstick wouldn't be the only thing turning red. Just make sure not to get your lipstick gun mixed up with your regular shade of red.