Original 19th Century Greek or Balkan Brass Clad Miquelet Lock Rat Tail Pistol - circa 1820

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. These were often referred to as Miquelet "Rat Tail" Pistols because of the shape of the stock. These were the traditional muzzle loading pistol of the Balkans and Greece in the early to mid 1800s. Designed to be worn in a sash around one's waist the weapon is very streamline in appearance. The brass sheath covers a wood stock and is profusely decorated with engravings, embossing and low grade silver in lays. The Miquelet ignition system is a hangover from High Quality Italian pistols of the 17th and early 18th centuries.

This is a particularly nice example retains almost all of its brass decorations, only showing slight wire loss on the underside of the grip. The Miquelet lock is also sculpted and engraved, interestingly the fore end does show some of the wood stock under the adornments quite deliberately which is rather unusual for these pistols. This is certainly most unusual and hard to find!

These are just the weapons carried by Brigands and Pirates of the Mediterranean Sea that caused so much trouble to the Europeans in the early 1800s. Most decorative, with an intriguing ignition system, 20 1/2" overall, Ready to Display.

History of the Miquelet Lock:
Miquelet lock is a modern term used by collectors and curators, largely in the English-speaking world, for a type of firing mechanism used in muskets
and pistols. It is a distinctive form of snaplock, originally as a flint-against-steel ignition form, once prevalent in Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Balkans, North Africa, Ottoman Empire and throughout Spain's colonies from the late 16th to the mid 19th centuries.

The term miquelet lock was not recorded until the 19th century, long after the appearance of the mechanism in the 16th century, and is of uncertain origin. One commonly held view is that it was coined by British troops in the Peninsular War to describe the style of musket used by the Miquelet (militia) that had been assigned to the Peninsular Army of the Duke of Wellington.


Year of Manufacture: Circa 1820
Caliber: .63" Pistol
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Overall Length: 21 inches
Barrel Length: 13 inches
Action: Miquelet Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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