Flintlock, Dueling pistols

During the 17th century, dueling between knights was very popular in Europe. However, it was not until the 18th century that they began to duel using pistols.

Dueling pistols were purchased specifically for the occasion, after both parties had chosen a model. The weapons were delivered in a wooden case together with the ammunition and the necessary tools to load them. This box was sealed until the arrival of the event.

This type of duels were linked to privileged social classes. Despite their illegality, the knights regulated their own rules in matters of honor. Due to the peak of Romanticism, dying to defend a passion or honor was a gesture of supreme dignity.

It should be noted that, since it was an illegal act, whoever went to court to report the offense was no longer worthy of demanding a duel of arms. Besides, the details of the duel such as the day, time and place had to be kept in secret.

A doctor was always present during a duel, but they could not be performed in the presence of priests because the Church condemned the performance of these acts.

The choice of who fired first was left to the godparents, along with the time that should elapse between the start signal and the first shot. They were also the ones who chose the distance between duelists; this was generally between 20 to 28 meters.


As previously mentioned, the pistols were made in pairs and were for the exclusive use of dueling. Generally, the flintlock was Belgian type with a simple floral decoration, the walnut grips had a rhomboid grid-shaped grain to provide a better fit to the hand and the barrels were octagonal and about 25cm.

Depending on the area, the bore of the barrel could be rifled or smooth, and some even had a “blind rifle” that consisted of making the weapon appear smooth barreled, but it had a pattern up to a few centimeters from the muzzle.

The barrel was very heavy to prevent nervous firing, and both the flintlock and the barrel were weathered to avoid shine and sparkles produced by light.

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