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The Vault

Hammond Bulldog Pistol at RIA

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Made in Naubuc Connecticut, the Hammond Bulldog was an interesting single-shot rimfire .44 caliber pistol. It used an unusual rotating breechblock, and had the potential to be a fairly strong action. Reportedly prototypes were made in a wide variety of calibers, including a carbine version with a wire-frame shoulder stock, but the vast majority were [...]

Elgin Cutlass Pistol at RIA

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In an effort to take advantage of Jim Bowie’s popularity, George Elgin patented a huge knife attached to a single shot percussion pistol in 1837. The idea was simply to offer a dual-purpose weapon, and it proves that human nature never does change much. I suspect that in actual use the weapon would have been [...]

Schulhof 1887 Repeating Pistol at James D Julia

Austria was a hotbed of early repeating handgun design, first with manually operated designs and shortly thereafter with self-loaders. One of the men contributing to this development in the 1880s was Josef Schulhof, a farmer-turned-gunsmith who had a number of patents and designs to his credit. His first pistol was developed in 1884, and this [...]

Fiala Model 1920 Combination Gun at RIA (Video)

The Fiala Model 1920 was a manually-operated repeating pistol in .22LR caliber that was marketed with the backing of famed polar explorer Anthony Fiala. The guns came as a set of one frame, three barrels (3″, 7.5″, and 20″) and a removable shoulder stock. This allowed the owner to set the gun up in [...]

Lady’s (Ladies?) Home Companion at RIA (Video)

The Ladies Home Companion was a pistol (technically) made by the Cobray company on the same frame as their 12ga “Street Sweeper” shotgun. It had no stock or front grip, and was chambered for the .45-70 rifle cartridge, carrying 12 rounds in its fixed drum magazine. It’s kinda like watching a train wreck…you know [...]

Khyber Pass Martini Pistol at RIA (Video)

The Khyber Pass is a well known center of arms production, with gunmaking there going back at least 100 years. The quality of craftsmanship varies greatly, from excellent and safe weapons to thoroughly unsafe guns made with little more than hand files and drills. In the last decade or so, much of the production [...]

Gaulois Palm Pistol at RIA

The Gaulois (Gallic) was a compact squeeze-type palm pistol made by the Manufrance concern in St. Etienne in the 1890s. It held 5 rounds of 8mm ammunition (similar to the .32 Extra-Short used in other types of palm pistols) and was fired by squeezing the rear grip into the body of the gun.

As [...]

Maryland Council of Safety Revolutionary Flintlock at RIA

In the buildup to the US War of Independence, “Committees of Safety” were organized in the colonial state to form shadow governments for the independence movement. These committees (our councils, as a few were named) had, among other tasks, the responsibility of sourcing arms for the local militia forces. This was done both by purchasing [...]

“My Friend” Knuckle-Duster Revolver at RIA

The “My Friend” knuckle-duster revolver was a defensive weapon sold on the civilian market from the late 1860s until the early 1880s. It functioned both as a revolver (this one is in .22 caliber, with a 7-shot capacity) and a blunt weapon for striking. These were made in upstate New York (in the Catskills, specifically) [...]

Spanish Miquelet Flintlock at RIA

The miquelet lock is generally considered the first true, mature flintlock action in the progression of firearms technology. It combined the pan cover and frizzen (the plate against which the flint strikes) into a single multi-purpose part. This particular pistol is a good example of the characteristics of a miquelet, despite its rather rough condition.

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