Book Review: Arms & Accoutrements of the Mounted Police 1873-1973

The Royal North West Mounted Police (later merged with the Dominion Police to become the RCMP – Royal Canadian Mounted Police) are an interesting and often overlooked element of the western frontier. We Americans tend to only think about the Old West up to northern Montana and Idaho, but of course things were not that much different on the other side of the border in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the other western provinces. Starting with their founding in 1873, law enforcement in western Canada was the domain of the RNWMP, and they used an interesting mixture of British Empire arms and American arms – Colts and Adams; Winchesters and Sniders.

“Arms and Accoutrements of the Mounted Police, 1873-1973” covers the whole range or arms and accessories used by the Mounties. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, swords, lances, and even artillery (yes, they had some artillery). This is a great book for any Canadian collector, and quite interesting for the rest of us as well – a window into a police agency we don’t often think about.

The book is generally out of print, but as of this writing still in stock for $35 at If they run out, Straight Shooter Books has it for $99.



  1. I believe they were the North West Mounted Rifles for some period at the start. Really more a paramilitary gendermerie than a police force. Keeping an eye on any territorial ambitions from the south.

    • You are correct except they were physically present in concerned areas.
      Created by amalgamation of previous forces on behest of prime minister Macdonald in 1870s under the name you mentioned.

      These days the RCMP is involved mostly with combatting of organised crime. Ontario and Quebec have their own police forces – O.P.P. and Surete Quebec. Visitors can meet them on roads during speeding. 🙂

      Actually, their predecessor’s origin ties to Hudson Bay Company, for which they worked as guns-for-hire or a security agency as we call it now.

  2. Well, in my childhood we had some cultural awareness of The Great White North: Sgt. Preston of the Yukon ran on TV alongside Roy Rogers (they both had adorable dogs), my local TV station ran reruns of a series about the RCMP that alternated Old West stories with modern urban accounts (this seemed equivalent to Dragnet and were maybe historical accounts or dramatized historical incidents), and there was even a Classics Illustrated comic book history of the Mounties, quite well drawn, that I wore to pieces with re-reading. Nice to know this book is out there; thanks again to Mr. M for this site.

  3. I MUST THANKYOU for putting this link up, I had had my copy stolen, and buying second hand copies from the USA was totally outlandish. SO bought one a the right price a,d another book, making the dealer happy. Yours,

  4. I was very impressed with this book. This is a fascinating journey into the history of weapons and equipment used in the work of the mounted police for a hundred years. Previously, in order not to read the pay for essay book, I used for this. The authors present a detailed description of various types of weapons, such as carbines, pistols, bayonets, and also talk about the equipment needed to work on a horse – saddles, bridles, girths, etc. The book includes many illustrations and photographs that help visualize the historical sites. Overall impression 9/10.

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