Carrying Flintlock Pistols

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N.Y. Yankee

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Watching a Nat. Geo. series called Barkskins. They use quite a few flintlock pistols, carried in their sash. They NEVER show one being "loaded" by the carrier, just yanked from the sash, cocked and fired. I'm wondering how practical it was to carry a loaded flint pistol full time? Could they be reliable enough to carry all day and still fire when needed or would the owner need to refresh the priming charge and re-tamp the ball from time to time. What really was the issues with carrying one daily?
 
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From my research in historical early American writings and journals "gun safety" was little mentioned. For reliability and safety tests based on modern notions of "gun safety" I have run my own tests on many of my BP guns including Flint pistol and rifle to see how they would compare to current modern versions. For safety a quickly removable leather Frizzen cover works well. Changing out priming powder every day or more depending on humidity except in dry indoor type conditions. Sealed pan is a must. Loading a clean dry gun to start helps. Bottom line...Would I be able or willing to depend my life on one of my Flintlocks? Yes, if needed but I would always prefer to have at least one backup of any kind. My test Flint pistol in a drawer a week each test fired 10 weeks in a row then once two months later. It was kept indoors 72F and dry so ideal conditions...c
 

tenngun

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I had one of the cheap tower Japanese pistol. I had to rework the frizzen spring and when I did it was a fair shooter and kept the frizzen well sealed on the pan.
I carried it on a five day trek stuffed in my belt. Changed the pan prime every morning.
it rained once, was misty every morning.Days were in the 50s60s, night below 40 but never frosted
i shot it at the end of my trek and it had a slight hang fire, but ‘good’nough fer government work’
 

zimmerstutzen

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I did something very stupid once and cut a hunting trip short to respond to a family emergency and ended up storing away a loaded trade gun, (prime was dumped and frizzen stored open. Still a dumb thing to do. Pulled the gun out of the safe two years later and went out in the back yard and ran a patch to wipe the oil out of the bore and then realized it was loaded. I primed and it shot just fine. not even a hang fire. Never again let myself get side tracked about whether a gun is loaded.
 

Bob McBride

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When I carry a flintlock pistol it goes in a custom made bag slung opposite my hunting bag and horn. Think shoulder strapped holster shaped bag.
 

YJake

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While hunting with my rifle, I’ve simply stuffed the pistol in my belt on my left side for a cross draw with my right hand. If I was walking or climbing much I’d likely add a hammer stall just to be a little safer.

-Jake
 

TXFlynHog

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I purchased a holster from Gary at Accu-Riser. He has a belt option and an over the shoulder version. I went for the shoulder version (also attached to a belt to keep it from flopping) for my Kentucky .54 flintlock. Really good craftsmanship in my opinion.


His is a pretty minimalistic design that covers the lock and trigger but the barrel is exposed. Not as fancy and protective as Bob’s above.
 

Glenn A. Smith

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I made a plain pouch from the neck hide of a Caribou taken by an old friend of mine. It almost completely covers my pistol just the grip section of the handle is exposed. Has a 2 1/2 wide belt loop on the back now, but I am thinking on the whole shoulder strap idea that Bob McBride posted above.
 

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rickystl

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I had this one copied after the originals that were vastly popular throughout the Ottoman Empire during the period.
These were also made for single pistols, but the doubles seemed to be much more popular. There is also a belt loop on the back hidden by the leather lacing. The design holds the pistols firmly, yet easy to retrieve quickly if necessary.

The over the shoulder style didn't seem to catch on in Europe and North America (except for saddle military holsters). But the belt hook was very popular. Still a convenient way to carry a flint pistol. The only down side is the pistol is exposed to the elements. Probably not the best for longer trekking and hunting trips.

Rick
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Place some cloth of the sash between hammer and cock.

It will act as a hammer stall thusly.
 

OhioHawkeye

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Well here’s what I can find on my iPad right now. The drawing is some renditions of another one being made for me by Eric Ewing of Ewing Creek Pouches....
As a leather Crafter, Nicely done. I need a pair of buckets for my Rev war/ 1812 cavalry. hey are slung across the front of the saddle. I've borrowed a pair, but that 2nd brown one is a style that would be much easier to make. I'm going to look up a few more extant examples before I copy this other pair.

Woodrunner's diary has a set with a photo of the back of one. There are lots of British India campaign 19th century ones to look at online. 1855?? My history fails me.
 

David Veale

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This was my take on a holster that could both be carried on my shooting bag strap as well as on a belt. Second photo shows the attachment I came up with. I usually carry it on the strap.
 

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