Pennsylvania Militia Pistol

Physical Description:
This .65 caliber smoothbore flintlock Pistol was made by John Miles Sr. under contract for the Pennsylvania Militia. It has brass furniture, double neck hammer a wooden ramrod and a pin fastened stock.
The barrel proof is a raised Liberty Cap and “P”. The barrel is stamped “MILES PHILAD” and the lock stamped “MILES”.
John Miles Sr. moved to Philadelphia from London, England in 1790. He opened a “Gun and Pistol Manufactory. An advertisement in the Philadelphia archives from 1798 reads, “Guns and Pistol Manufactory; No. 500 North Street; Where merchants, Captains of vessels and others may be supplied with all sorts of small arms, on the lowest terms and shortest notice.”
Between the years 1797 and 1798, Miles made pistols for the Pennsylvania Militia. Under a 1798 contract, he made 2,000 muskets for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. While the exact date on this pistol is unknown, it had to have been made before 1795 because the “P” on the breech was discontinued by Pennsylvania that year.
Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition
Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, p 132.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 104.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol, flintlock
date made
ca 1795
associated date
Miles, John
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 14 1/2 in; 36.83 cm
overall: 14 1/2 in x 6 in x 2 in; 36.83 cm x 15.24 cm x 5.08 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
Additional Media

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