Back when guns were young, one of the most difficult challenges that faced those who used them was that they couldn’t be carried safely while they were loaded. Enter the Thomas Matson Doglock Musket. This firearm, which dates from the mid-17th Century, was the solution to that problem. It features a safety catch, located behind the cocking mechanism, which allowed the user to first load the gun and then carry it. It also offered a rifled barrel for improved accuracy, and was capable of firing in wet weather. This single-shot muzzleloader used black powder and ball ammunition, like its forebears, and worked on the principle of striking flint against steel to ignite the powder. This rifle was one of the first guns to actually be produced in America (then an English colony), and was likely used by the colonists to defend their fortifications.
This priceless piece is housed at the NRA National Firearms Museum in the “Ancient Firearms” cases. If you’re ever in the Washington, D.C. Metro area, visit NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia to see it and other unique historical and modern firearms on display. Admission is free, NRA membership is not required, and the Museum is open 364 days a year (excluding Christmas).