McCormick Model 1797 Pistol

Physical Description:
This .64 caliber smoothbore flintlock U.S. Model 1797 Pistol was made by Robert McCormick. The lock was made by Ketland and Co. in Great Britain. It has a pin fastened walnut stock, brass furniture, and a wooden ramrod with a swelled tip.
The lockplate is stamped “KETLAND & CO” is script and “UNITED/STATES”. It is also stamped “McCORMICK” on the stock.
Because of the stamp on the barrel, this pistol is one of the few to have been made by McCormick himself. Information on these pistols originates from Harry C. Knode who wrote about Ship and Horseman pistols between 1797 and 1799.
Robert McCormick was an Irishman who came to America and leased the Globe Mills in 1798 to produce firearms. He was contracted by the U.S. government for Muskets that same year. In 1799, he had another contract, but did not finish it because he was thrown in debtor’s prison in 1801. That contract was finished by an employee named James Haslett – who would move on to run the Virginia Manufactory.
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. 122.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 88
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol, flintlock
date made
ca 1799
McCormick, Robert
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 16 1/4 in; 41.275 cm
overall: 16 1/4 in x 6 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in; 41.275 cm x 16.51 cm x 6.35 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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