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Harper’s Ferry Pistol – Facts


  • The model 1805 U.S. Martial “Harper’s Ferry” flintlock pistol, manufactured at the Harpers Ferry Armory in Virginia (now West Virginia), was the first pistol manufactured by a national armory.
  • Harper’s Ferry models 1805, 1806, 1807 and 1808 flintlock pistols were all identical and there were no changes in design during this model year sequence.
  • The pistol was a .54 caliber, single-shot, smoothbore, flintlock pistol intended for field duty and was issued as an Officer’s pistol.
  • Harper’s Ferry model 1805–1808 flintlock pistols were known then as “horsemen’s pistols” and were produced in pairs; both pistols having identical serial numbers.
  •  With just one shot readily available without reloading, a “brace” was the standard issue (pair of two flintlock pistols was known as a “brace”). Horse accouterments also included a standard pair of saddle holsters.
  • No serial number higher than 2048 has ever been discovered—and that is exactly half of the number recorded as produced at the Harper’s Ferry Armory. There are about 200–300 of these pistols known to exist today.
  • Currently manufactured reproductions of the original pistols are made with a larger caliber than the original, as well as a rifled bore for more accurate shooting.