English ‘Tower’ Flintlock Holster Pistol, c. 1795


Antique Pistols 1690-1815

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More ‘˜Tower’ flintlocks pistols have survived to this day than others because more were made. Produced in great quantity in the reigns of George II, III, IV and William throughout they remained relatively unaltered. They were produced for the military by many gunsmiths under contract to the government. The lock plate bore the word ‘˜Tower’, an arrow and crown combined, and a crown bearing beneath it the cypher of the reigning monarch. Many pistols of ‘Tower’ design bear none of these marks but instead the name of the gunsmith. Gunsmiths assured themselves of a regular income from government orders. Better finished ‘Tower’ pistols may arise from officers of private means buying a pistol of regulation pattern but of higher quality. This pistol was made in George III’s reign. These pistols have always enjoyed the fond affection of collectors. During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) these pistols did yeoman service and gained great affection. The fine blend of dark wood against shining brass is just right for old pistols. They are robust in construction for they were subject to rough service. Here is a ‘Carbine Bored’ Service horse pistol so called because the barrel was the same bore as the Service carbines, to standardise the ammunition. The steel barrel is plain, thickening slightly towards the breech where it is relieved by a simple baluster turn at the barrel tang (1) which is also quite plain. The screw through this tang and a pin through the forend of the stock engaging a slot on the underside of the barrel secures the barrel to the stock. These pistols were equipped with a steel ramrod which swivelled from the underside of the barrel at the muzzle, an improvement on the separate ramrod which could work loose and be lost. The forend, trigger guard, butt plate and sideplate (on the opposite side from the lock) are fashioned in plain brass and it is equipped with a plain but well-made lock. The flashguard to the pan is forged in one with the bridle on which the steel swivels. This pistol has no belt hook, but those intended for naval use were equipped with them.

Additional information

Dimensions 43 × 25.5 cm