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Duck's Foot Pistols

Also known as duckfoot pistols, it is a peculiar name for a weapon, but it is derived from the splayed shape of the webbed foot of a duck, in some cases the term is very accurately descriptive.

The principle behind this type of pistol is one of confrontation by one person against a group. Hence it was popular among bank guards, prison warders and sea captains. The threat being that one volley can kill several men. I have also seen the type referred to as a 'boarding pistol', but I have no corroboration of that term.

The four barreled rifled flintlock shown at right, is of a type that is fairly common. However there are many variants within this type... Some have brass barrels, some are Damascus... Octagonal, cylindrical and tapered barrels exist and some have smooth bores rather than rifling. In some examples the angle of spread is wider than shown at right, another very similar pistol is shown below. This one has a wider angle of spread and the barrels are tapered towards the muzzle.

  Damascus four barreled, rifled duck's foot pistol by ?? Date??

duck's foot pistol with wide splayed barrels that are tapered towards the muzzle

The hexagonal, brass barreled, one is of similar construction and has rifled .45 calibre barrels. The drawing has been extracted from an illustration in one of Ian Hogg's books. The one piece brass frame and breach casting is so similar in many examples that I believe they castings may all have come from one source, with each gun maker finishing the castings to their own particular design and embellishment.

duck's foot pistol with brass barrels

This three barreled percussion version has the central barrel tilted downward so that there is a vertical spread as well, this very rare English example is signed by 'Lord' of London.

Three barreled volley pistol by ?? Date??

The monochrome picture also came from one of Ian Hogg's books, and shows many unusual features... There are eight barrels, the centre two are parallel and face forward, the butt is heavily spiked and there is a thin barbed blade that can come into play after the pistol has been discharged.

Eight barreled duck's foot pistol

This Flintlock Duckfoot 4 Barreled Pistol, c. 1780 has 4 individual numbered .52 calibre 2 inch rifled barrels threaded into a brass breech and frame. Checkered walnut grip with un engraved silver oval escutcheon.

  Duckfoot pistol with two inch barrels in .52 calibre

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