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

Date Made: ca 1799

Maker: McCormick, Robert

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military, Military, The Bitter Collection of Firearms


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1987.0014.13Accession Number: 1987.0014Catalog Number: 1987.0014.13Collector/Donor Number: P103L

Object Name: pistolpistol, flintlockOther Terms: pistol; Firearms; Army; Flintlock; .67 In; Smooth Bore; Muzzle Load; Sa

Physical Description: metal (part material)wood (part material)Measurements: overall: 16 1/4 in; 41.275 cmoverall: 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


Record Id: nmah_438596

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