An incredibly scarce EIC Bengal Horse Artillery Pistol. With round barrel stamped with London proofs and numerous inspectors marks, plain tang, double-line engraved lock stamped with Rampant Lion of the East India Company and dated ‘1815’, full-stocked in walnut, impressed with numerous inspection marks and EIC marks. Regulation brass mounts with steel belt-hook.
While undertaking research for his monumental work on the EIC David Harding came across a request from a senior ‘Bengal Artillery Officer’ for the men to be armed with a special pistol for the ‘Horse Artillery’. It was recommended that the pistol had ‘stops to the Locks’ and a ‘Rib’ (belt hook as on a Sea Service) so that the pistol could be ‘tucked’ into the cummerbund (waist band). This pistol would give the gunners the means to defend themselves in a form less encumbering than a ‘fusil’ slung on their backs, as in the Foot Artillery.
No evidence to suggest that the suggestion was ever acted upon had come to light and was therefore not included in David Harding original work published in 1997. However, since then three such pistols and a detached lock-plate have been seen and an example is illustrated alone with the pistols specification in David Harding’s later work (An Introduction to East India Company Smallarms) This specification is quite specific and the pistol has a number of unique features and should not be confused with the contemporary ‘Cavalry Pistol’ to which a Rib/Belt Hook has been added.
The total number made is not known and there is speculation that this type of pistol was also supplied to the ‘Madras’ and Bombay Horse Artillery although if that was the case it would be reasonable to have expected more than three example (this pistol makes the fourth) to have come to light.
A incredibly Scarce pistol and a must for any serious EIC collector.
Bore: 16 bore
Barrel Length: 22.5 cm (9 Inches)
Overall Length: 39.5 cm (15.5 Inches)