Throwback Thursday: Rigby Great Coat Pistols

by
posted on May 24, 2018
rigby-great-coat-pistols.jpg

It may be hard to credit today, but in the United Kingdom during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people did carry concealed firearms for the purpose of self-defense. The NRA National Firearms Museum has several examples of guns designed for concealment. Among the most beautiful of them is this gorgeous matched pair of Rigby Great Coat Pistols, designed to be carried in or underneath a gentleman’s coat.

The design and construction of these pistols is consistent with John Rigby & Co.’s reputation as a purveyor of high-end firearms favored by the upper class. They showcase exquisite, full-coverage engraving and a deep pattern Damascus-style barrel finish and hand-checkered stocks. What’s particularly interesting about this set is the hidden ball compartment that’s located under the backstrap, which holds three additional bullets. Should the owner run out of ammunition, there’s a spring-loaded dagger affixed to the left side of the frame.

John Rigby & Co. joins the even more venerable Beretta firm as one of the oldest continuing businesses in operation, having been founded in 1735.  These legendary firearms have been featured in famous works of fiction; in the real world, they found their way into the collections of such leading lights as Winston Churchill.

These and other fascinating historical firearms are on display at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, every day of the year except Christmas. Admission is free and membership is not a requirement. Make it a stop for your family Washington, D.C.-area vacation!

Latest

Woman squeezing rifle's trigger from benchrest
Woman squeezing rifle's trigger from benchrest

Dr.'s Rx to Prepare Your Mind for Precision Shooting

The most important part of marksmanship isn't your equipment--it's you!

The Enduring Legacy of the Small-Game Hunter

“The hunt has begun! They have been given fair warning! If they get kilt, it’s their own fault!”

Video Review: Savage 110 Magpul Hunter

It's a 21st century platform that hunters can get behind in ways never before possible from a Savage factory offering.

Ammunition Science: Bullet Construction

And yes, we do mean bullets (not cartridges)!

Why (& How) You Should Learn To Shoot One-Handed

These techniques are less-than-perfect solutions, but so are all emergency defensive scenarios.

Interests



Get the best of NRA Family delivered to your inbox.