RIA: Norwegian 1846 Postførerverge Knife-Pistol?

This is one of the more practical knife/pistol combinations I have seen – it actually has a pretty reasonable grip when used in either capacity. It has two muzzleloading smoothbore barrels, with a percussion cap hidden under each top ear of the crossguard and a folding trigger in the body of the grip.

After I had finished filming, it was brought to my attention that while it does not have the proper markings, this piece is very, very similar to an 1846 Postførerverge – a double-barreled blade/gun issued to Norwegian postal employees after a rash of deadly assaults on rural postal workers. Those were made from 1846 until 1854, with a total of 152 being manufactured. Could this be one with the markings worn off or removed? Perhaps. It could also be a commercial copy, or something else entirely.


  1. hey you have uploaded a duplicate Yavanovich pistol video instead of the double barrel knife pistol one

  2. Knives like this were mainly intended for hunting, not self-defense against a human assailant. One of the typical quarries in hunts in Europe was the wild boar (sus scrofa);


    He was and is a large, muscular, ill-tempered brute which tends to be irascible and aggressive even when he isn’t being hunted. Here in OH, they are now considered by ODNR to be a major threat to the deer population, both from overfeeding the deer’s browse and because they just like beating the mortal (bleep) out of deer and other animals on general principles.

    Back then, when hunting boar or anything else in Western Europe, a smart hunter had at least a largebore pistol as a backup to his single-shot rifle in case the first shot didn’t put the quietus to the quarry. Or in case while attending to the prize, a wild pig came barrelling out of the bush at Warp Factor Nine to put his claim on the goodies. (Yes, they’re omnivorous.)

    A large, sharp knife was also highly recommended as a last-ditch defense in case one or more rifle or pistol balls didn’t stop Porky.

    Ergo, a large, sharp, Bowie-type knife incorporating a double-barreled .36 percussion pistol made pretty good sense in the context.

    I’m sure they were made with an eye to export to the U.S. as well, especially during the California Gold Rush and later the Civil War, when everybody and his brother packed a gun and a knife both, but first and foremost they were intended for use domestically by hunters. Who preferred not to end up as fertilizer in the forest.



    • Before the Bowie knife, the German jäger carried his “hirschfänger.” Before the Bowie knife, the Spaniards traded “Belduque” trade knives to equestrian Indians in North and South America. Ancestor of the fearsome “facón/facão” of the Gaucho. Some mighty big knives, that is for sure.

      • “Hirschfänger” is Hunting Hanger in English. Google search “Hunting Hanger with pistol” gives interesting results.

        Hanger in general is a type of short sword, which was often carried by infantrymen in the 17th and 18th century into the early 19th century, but also by some civilians instead of small swords or broadswords (or rapiers in the 17th century). Military hangers were cut and thrust swords with a straight or curved blade and could even be double or single edged, in other words, the term was used very loosely and almost any short cut and thrust sword from the period could be called a hanger. Hunting hangers were primarily straight-bladed thrusting swords, with minimal guards and shorter than military hangers, although they usually did have sharpened edges.

        Like Elling P suggests, this knife-pistol most likely derives from German hunting hangers, but has a shorter knife-length blade to make it more practical to carry.

    • These are quite similar to the hunting swords you mention, but they tend to be longer with a slender single edged blade.
      This appears to be a development of the consept for self defence use.

    • Master Eon:
      Speaking as the descendent of an old hillbilly blacksmith-cum-knife maker “…a large, sharp, Bowie-type knife…” is slightly incorrect in this instance; this blade is more akin to the “Arkansas Toothpick” style blade. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that one.) The pistol reminds me of one I once found in the walls of the original Hardship Plantation cabin here in our area. I was tearing it down to reclaim the old-growth Cypress wood at the time. It is a double-barrel rimfire of about .36 cal, double hammer/double trigger without markings if memory serves. I can dig it out is anyone wants pictures. The one here would have been more serviceable in that the blade would be an immediate backup for any situation. With mine, if you were confronted by three malcontents you would either need another back up or else be REALLY fast reloading a break-barrel action. On the pigs: they are my favorite quarry and repast! In our area we have many descended from the Spanish Explorers mobile food source (as well as the Catahoula Hog Dogs [Curs] we use to hunt them) and they are everywhere! Dangerous? You bet they are! I have seen them attack and kill horses ridden by hunters. kill dogs in one pass and several have attacked me. I have great respect for their abilities and spirit. But our local Chris Shivers of bull-riding fame and his friends reportedly hunt them with bowie knives. In my book, this is the epitome of either bravery, stupidity, or a hefty mixture of both but they have my highest admiration. Many hog hunters hereabouts use Curs crossed with Pit Bulls wearing Kevlar mantles to protect them while hunting them and my choice is a Bull Mastiff/Cur cross. My “Blue” (one blue eye instead of a silvery “glass eye”) is 11 months old and weighs 87 pounds and growing. When he is grown if I get tired I can always ride him back to camp. Hog Roasts are usually on our Holliday, Family Reunion, Wedding Feast, Easter and Valentines day menu, we being Rednecks and all.

      • Nice!

        Fun fact about the “Arkansas toothpick”. The double-edged knife was a direct descendant of the early plug bayonet. When the serious migration from Europe to the New World began in the late 1600s, the plug bayonet (which was so called because of its tapered hilt intended to be inserted into a musket’s muzzle) was being rendered obsolete by the new, more advanced ring and socket bayonets (which could be fixed without blocking the musket’s ability to fire).

        As such, the plug-type bayonets became “war surplus” and could be bought cheaply. A lot of immigrants did so because they understood the need for a sturdy, sharp knife, and couldn’t afford anything fancy.

        As such, the plug bayonet became a very common “side knife”, especially in areas settled by the Dutch, Spanish, and French. Later “American” knives followed the pattern because it had become “traditional”.

        A lot also came across the Atlantic as trade goods for dealing with Native American nations. As such, later purpose-made “trade knives” also looked a lot like plug bayonets.

        As for the Arkansas Toothpick, its double-edged, symmetrical blade and generally symmetrical hilt meant that, like the plug bayonet before it but unlike the clip-point Bowie, it could generally be thrown accurately.

        In a world of single-shot firearms, sometimes that attribute could be a literal life-saver.



      • I used to hunt with a couple of old boys from Hattiesburg who used the rope snare and knife method for hunting hogs. Bait the snare at the base of a tree, climb up and wait. When the hog goes for the bait, they’d snare him, haul him up, and cut his throat. Back then, even though I was young and dumb, I preferred my Model 29 and no snare. As for hogs being mean, there is a reason I carry a .500 S&W when I’m working the back acreage of the farm. We’re getting more of those damned things every year, and they are one of the few animals I will kill with extreme prejudice. (A barrel of corn and a 1919 Browning kind of prejudice!)
        Looking at it from a practical standpoint, I’m pretty sure the gun/knife in question would more useful in a “bad breath” range encounter with a couple of highwaymen. Besides, in the percussion era, most hunters were using large bore rifles or shotguns, unless it was to perform a coup de grace on a wounded animal.

        • Doc:
          From what I have been told, Chris and his pals (all otherwise apparently reasonably sane) let the dogs bay the hog and when they can they rush in and stick the pig with the knife into the heart or slash it’s throat. This is a throwback tradition from the days when Ben Lilly was hunting these parts with his dogs; bear, puma and pigs. He said that lead was too hard to come by so he used a knife on hogs most of the time. He was very well known for his superior knife blades and was also very adept at the use thereof. He later hunted with my maternal family up around Mena, Arkansas for bear, wolf and puma. My preference is my .45 or .44 mag “in the brush” and my 7.7 Jap for elsewhere. But if hunting purely for meat I use a Colt Frontier .22 mag. As for mean, years ago I was squirrel hunting and had taken up a hide between three trees growing very close together … just enough room for my fat butt. I heard something coming through the palmetto “huffing” a lot like a bear. I got a glimpse of a very large black boar hog with about 3 inch tusks that was literally tracking me by going from one footfall to the next and “snuffling” my scent. I knew he was mad by the raised “hackles”(the long bristles on his shoulders) as he went. I knew that if I moved he would nail me before I could get up so I waited until he was almost in my lap and shot him behind the left ear at a range of about 16-18 INCHES with .22 mag stack-barrel Derringer I carried for snakes. But the worst one I ever killed was a very old boar on the Concordia Development property if Concordia Parish. He was known as a dog-killer and would attack humans without provocation or warning. My room-mate in college got a shot at him with a 12ca. X 8mm rimmed Drilling and passed it up because he was afraid it would not stop him. This from someone who was raised in Germany hunting boar there. When I killed him I was using am M-1 loaded with 220gr handloads. The first shot broke his back just behind the shoulders but he continued his charge by dragging his hindquarters with his still-operable front legs. I shot him four more times and finally killed him at 3 yard with a head shot with my .44 mag. When we butchered him we found enough lead buried in his “shield” over the lung/heart area to sink a small boat; there was everything from .22 rimfires to bird- and buck-shot to three .30-30 slugs.These last were fully expanded but none had penetrated the shield. He was assuredly not fit to eat. I cooked a large roast off of him but when I gave it to the dogs (it smelled too bad for me to even taste)the male pack leader “hiked a leg” on it to show his disdain. That’s some pretty bad chow….

      • Hi Bill, pig hunting with pig dogs a knives is a fairly common practice here in Australia and in New Zealand. It’s very much about using dogs to bail and hold them from what I can see. A pig might have a number of dogs holding ears, tail and the hunter tips and sticks it or ties it to capture it alive. I think I have read that this also occurs in Argentina.

  3. For those that are interested to compare, here is a page with pictures of the issued Norwegian M/1846;

    As you can see the M/1846 is a decidedly more “munitions grade” weapon than the one in the video. It also has separate triggers for the barrels.
    The text on the webpage (which belongs to the Kongsberg historical arms association) mentions that the M/1846 was based on a german model, and I suspect this might be one of those. I have sent them a email to ask if they can provide more information.

  4. ” Could this be one with the markings worn off or removed? Perhaps. It could also be a commercial copy, or something else entirely.”
    Maybe this example fail to pass quality control and was sold on commercial market?
    Is that possible? (I don’t know Norwegian weapons industry history)

  5. Also…

    It says that it is modelled after a German weapon so maybe there are German Gun-knives that look very similar to the Norwegian models?

  6. I had a answer back from the Kongsberg historical arms association. They say that they know of similar weapons from a number of countries, including France, Germany, Sweden and Russia, and provided links to some examples;


    Neither of these match the one in the video either, as it has a quite distinctive square cross section grip. The french Dumontier (second link) has a manufacturer and pattent stamp.
    It appears these where made both as simple service weapons, like the norwegian ones and the Swedish Granberg in the first link, and really ornate ones. The one at RIA falls somewhere in-between.

  7. It has never been proven that Jim Bowie ever carried the knife named after him. He did carry a large “butcher” style knife. It was apparently his brother who created the Bowie style blade and used brother Jim’s name to help[ market it.

    Bill Bullock; you might want to look into Dogo Argentines. Created specifically to hunt wild pigs. They don’t kill pigs, they just hold them until the hunters can make the kill – traditionally with large knives or spears. Don’t that sound like all kinds of fun???

    • The original knife designed by Rezin Bowie was in response to an accident that nearly cost him his hand. While hunting, he was attacked by a wild boar, shot it, didn’t stop it, and went for his hunting knife. it was a variety called a “Spanish dagger” that was common in the region back then;


      Note the lack of a crossguard. When he tried to stab the boar in the heart, the blade caught on a rib and his hand slid down the edge, getting badly gashed in the process.

      While recuperating, he and a friend who was a bladesmith came up with the idea of a full brass crossguard to prevent such an accident. (At that time, only double-edged knives generally had even one quillon’s worth of a guard, let alone a full guard.)

      The bladesmith was the one who suggested a clip point with a sharpened false edge. Not for fighting, but for ripping open the breast hide when dressing out a deer, without the risk of puncturing the intestines. The “Bowie knife” was originally intended as a hunting, game-dressing, and general camp knife, not a purely fighting blade.

      As for brother James’ contribution, it must be noted (as an article in Backwoodsman magazine did a couple of years ago), that basically every fight he was in he started. Because by nature James Bowie was a short-tempered, argumentative sort who also tended to drink too much, cheat at cards, and consort with both the lowest sort and other “sporting gentry” who were as quick-tempered as he was.

      Rezin apparently gave him one of the knives he’d had made up for himself and friends “just in case he needed it”. This was in the days just before the (in)famous Vadalia sandbar duel and “subsequent rough fight” that first made James a notoriety. It’s worth noting that the two duellists agreed to shake hands and forget it- and then Bowie picked a fight with one of the seconds. The “subsequent rough fight” was pretty much all his doing.

      It’s also worth noting that one of the men he fought against was a friend of his- who sided with the man Bowie got in the face of. Apparently, remaining friends with Jim Bowie was a bit difficult, because no one knew what was likely to set him off.

      Bowie was a hero at the Alamo. But “back home”, the local constabulary considered him a troublemaker and general PITA. They probably weren’t too sorry to see him “gone to Texas”.



      • Eon,
        The “original” Bowie knife is believed to be the “Schively/Perkins” Bowie knife currently held by the Mississippi State Historical Museum in Jackson. It is signed RPB (Rezin P. Bowie) and has the inscription “Presented to Jesse Perkins by R.P. Bowie – 1831.” It closely resembles the model in the link. This is the actual knife:


        It is believed to be Rezin Bowie’s personal knife and an exact copy, if not the exact knife, used in the famous “Sandbar Fight.” Bowie also commissioned Daniel Searles of Baton Rouge to make several presentation knives of which two currently exist in private collections. Curiously, my office is walking distance from the former Acadia Plantation, which was owned by the Bowies. Unfortunately, the house was torn down about ten years ago and replaced with a hideous McMansion. If another example was stashed somewhere in that house, it’s long gone.

  8. It looks like the design would have made a credible “lock back” folding knife for both pin fire and rim fire cartridges, allowing easy reloading and then carrying in the locked open condition in a belt sheath ready for shooting or stabbing as the need arose

  9. What has always amazed me is how static ignition systems were for firearms for centuries, then Rev. Forsyth of Scotland takes the recently invented fulminate of Mercury to make the percussion cap, and it’s shooting in the rain all over the globe!
    I thought at first glance that this was another Henry Deringer rip-off, but it predates Deringer.

  10. You want a wild boar story I’ve got a good one. Just after christmas 1999 we had a real hurricane here in south west france.In our 4 hectare oak forest we had over 160 100 year old oaks come down
    There is a lot of commercial boar raising in our area of the charente departement that borders on the dordogne.I dont know how many got loose but all of a sudden there were boars everywhere
    One day towards spring my 12 year old son heard a pheasant clucking in the woods behind our house
    He went and got a fishing net and said he wanted to catch it alive All the same he luckly took his little slavia airrifle with him
    It was impossible to walk through the woods trees were down everywhere So he followed the pheasant on his hands and knees with the cocked and loaded airifle in one hand. He just got under a fallen tree when he came face to face with probably a sleepy boar He told me he didnt think just stuck the airgun barrel in the boars nose and pulled the trigger
    Poor boar the slavia probabaly has a velocity of only about 120m/s but at point blank range in the nose it must have stung So the boar takes off to get away from that nasty little boy and the boy double times it back to the house It took him 10 minutes to stop trembling then he wanted to get his .22 levergun and go shoot that boar. I said no

  11. As noted above, this kind of gun-knife seems to have been made and used in several European countries. Joseph-Célestin Dumonthier (also written Dumontier in some sources) had a French patent for it issued in 1840 (ref. number 1BA7835 on this site): http://bases-brevets19e.inpi.fr/index.asp

    Some French sources note that this kind of pistol was more popular in Central Europe than in France.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Obscure Weapons: 1846 Norwegian Knife-Pistol | Hammerhead Combat Systems

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.