Cuadro de piratas en alta mar con galeones

What pistols did pirates use?

When we think of a pirate, most people imagine one armed with a sword or dagger. However, pirate pistols were also common. Of course, in those days they were single-shot models: they had to be reloaded after each use.

Most common pirate pistols

It is still possible to find replicas of firearms used by pirates . As a general rule, they used them when boarding another vessel, to multiply the chaos and facilitate their raids. After firing a few cannon shots —as few as possible so as not to damage the loot they intended to steal—, they used their pistols. And they switched to bladed weapons as soon as they could, for the same reason: to preserve the possessions they wanted to take with them.

In general, they were not very accurate or operational pistols. At long range they tended to miss badly and as mentioned, had to be reloaded after each shot.

Essentially, the most common firearms and pistols used in global piracy included the following:

  • Arquebus:: It was used for muzzle-loading and was a metallic tube seated on a wooden base one meter long. Although it improved over the years, it was heavy and had little range. The advantage? It pierced armor.
  • Musket: They were the evolution of arquebuses, the rifles of the time: they were more accurate than pistols. They were usually used to kill the ship's helmsman as soon as possible, in order to set the ship adrift and facilitate each attack.
  • Gun : Most of them were of th so-called "spark" type, since a spark was generated to ignite the gunpowder. Normally, a small flint was struck forcefully with the trigger to achieve the shot. Of course, you had to get it right the first time: they could not be reloaded in a melee.

To find antique gun replicas of these pirate pistols, go browse the Kolser catalog!