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Old 22nd September 2012, 05:13 PM   #15
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
This is truly a fascinating and informative thread Ibrahiim, thank you!
While my focus has always been on swords, it is interesting and often surprising how much helpful data which pertains to them, even obtusely, can be gained from firearms production data.
I found a reference online "The Khyber Pass Martini" by Jason Atkin, apparantly a website with interesting data on these produced in Khyber Regions even into recent times by the Adam Khel and associated tribes in Khyber regions. I wonder how many of these would have been transported into Arabia, or would these have been strictly for local tribal use in Khyber areas?
Another interesting reference which might be helpful for research on this topic would be "The Lee-Enfield Story", Ian Skennerton, 1993.

Looking forward to learning more on these! and please keep us posted on outcome with museums and conference.


Salaams Jim ~ Thank you for your post. I have noted the important references and will look them up. As it happens there are a couple of Khyber chaps only across the street from us. They work in a small weapons workshop refitting woodwork and repairing old rifles including abu futtila. Its true that we tend to link the manufacture of these weapons to Afghan sources but everyone forgets the other side of the mountains in and around the Khyber Pass and Peshawar regions where there were dozens of workshops making stuff. Some of the locally made long guns could out shoot and out range the British in the 19th C ; most notably in the battle with the 44TH Regiment of Foot. For sure Afghan/Khyber manufactured weapons leached out around the adjoining regions and as far as here and Yemen however they are easier to spot and often had mistakes on the spelling but there are several that pass muster and some which are as good as or even better looking than originals!

The normal dead give away of the trigger guard being flimsy looking as on other long guns doesn't apply to the Khyber made Martini Henry simply because those parts were obtainable from other bastardized weapons and from imported parts. If the main body could be knocked up it would be a simple matter to add the other bits and pieces. How they made the barrels, however, is beyond me !

What I find poignant regarding gunpowder weaponry is that it is inside this timezone that so much changed regarding blades. Indeed the fog caused by these guns hides the demise of many a hand held weapon including the spear, sword and bow. The spear (probably the most important Arab weapon) virtually fell off the map as it was essentially superceded and couldn't be iconized as it was too clumsy whilst the bow and arrow vanished... despite the fact that it was faster than the gun and remained so until the discovery of the magazine fed rifle after 1900. Gunpowder weaponry mainly through the advent of rifle and cannon points to the demise of the Omani Battle Sword and could be responsible for the green light being given for the long flexible Omani dancing sword in about 1744 / 1800. (A date I defensively place as initially the Busaidi dynasty start date; 1744)

The gun in the Rifle configuration therefor has a lot to answer for (Pistols never really took off here) The Rifle on the other hand filled the role of spear and bow and for hunting was excellent whilst it was also devastating at closer ranges and thus largely retired the sword (but not always)

Both the dagger and sword have retained a "traditional place" within Arab society as "badges of office" and "head of the family"status symbols.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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