Miles Officer's Holster Pistol

Miles Officer's Holster Pistol

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Physical Description:
This.60 caliber smoothbore flintlock Holster pistol was made under militia contract by John Miles in Philadelphia. It is pin fastened with a half octagonal barrel and a wooden ramrod with a swelled tip. It has brass mountings and an acorn filial on the trigger guard. It also has a gooseneck hammer and flat sided grips,
The octagonal part to the barrel is stamped “PHILADA” and is struck “PROVED” in gold.
Because there is no date on this pistol, it could have been made by John Miles Sr. or his son John Miles Jr. 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.” Miles Sr. died in 1808. His son Miles Jr. went on to fulfill other pistol contracts at Bordentown, New Jersey after his father’s death.
The flat sided grip on this pistol is more representative of a civilian than a military grip. It is one of the types of firearms, Miles’s company offered in the 1798 advertisement.
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. 106.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol, flintlock
Other Terms
pistol; Firearms; Army; Flintlock;.60 In; Smooth Bore; Muzzle Load; Sa
date made
ca 1800
Miles, John
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 14 1/8 in; 35.8775 cm
overall: 1 7/8 in x 14 1/2 in x 5 5/8 in; 4.7625 cm x 36.83 cm x 14.2875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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