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Old 21st December 2017, 01:16 PM   #1
corrado26's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Black Forest, Germany
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Default Knee-pistol of the Osmanic Empire

Today I got this not too bad Osmanic pistol. The whole stock is nicely decorated with brass nails and cut lines, its butt shows at both sides a pleasing ornament. The lock is engraved with a floral decoration as is the cover of the battery spring. The nut is without a tumbler. There is no mark or signature and the sideplate could eventually be a later replacement but has the same decoration as all other brass items. The barrel has nice silver inlays in form of swords, stars etc.
Total lenght is 450 mm, barrel length 230mm, cal. 45mm

Hope you like it as I do
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Old 21st December 2017, 02:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Hi fernando

i love it!
I can tell your precisely your pistol came from: Tunisia.
Look on our forum, you'll find the same lock, and design on the butt with bone and coral).
I think that just the ramrod is a replacement.

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Old 21st December 2017, 05:16 PM   #3
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VERY NICE!! I agree with Kubur that the rammer is a likely replacement. The rest of the gun looks nice and original.
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Old 22nd December 2017, 05:05 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO area.
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Hi Corrado.

WOW!!! Super nice !!! And appears in great condition. Would love to own it myself. Congratulations. You might stain the replacement rammer to a darker color. Otherwise, it looks ready for display. A really nice one.

Interesting these Knee Pistols were widely popular - but only in the Eastern markets.

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Old 28th December 2017, 04:31 AM   #5
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Default Nice, clean example! Hard on the knees...

Great find, congratulations.

The term "knee pistol" is an odd one. I remember an explanation of it in an old arms catalog, it may have been one of those issued by dealer Norm Flayderman back in the 1960s. Be that is it may, it was surmised that the butt was shaped like this so a cavalryman could brace it against his knee while he was in the saddle, to shoot any foot-soldier who was approaching alongside. Sounds a bit outlandish to me--the idea of the recoil smacking me on the kneecap isn't too appealing. What do you think, Rick? Have you perhaps tried this style of shooting yourself at the range, on or off a horse?

I think that from a functional standpoint, these things can be pointed and fired just like any other pistol. They're a tad heavy but they balance OK in the hand.

Designing the grip after the butt of a shoulder-fired gun is a stylistic touch that has a north Italian precedent. There is a group of pistols, mainly Brescian, of the first half of the 17th cent. that have this feature; the grips mimic the shape of gun stocks of the same place and time. These are invariably fitted with wheellocks. Nolfo di Carpegna, in his book Brescian Firearms, refers to the style as the "Farnese" pistol stock. There is a magnificent pair of this type, attributed to King Felipe IV of Spain, in the Armerķa Real de Madrid (K90).

In Europe, this butt style (on pistols) seems to have been in vogue for just a few decades, and its popularity was fairly localized. The concept was undoubtedly exported to the Balkans and Turkey, most likely in the extensive Venetian trade networks, and it really took off after that. The Ottomans updated them to flintlocks, and adopted a more generic European shape for the butt (albeit a somewhat caricatured version), producing them well into the 19th cent.

This is another case of a European firearms innovation that had a far longer shelf life in Oriental countries. The longevity of the Anglo-Dutch snaphaunce and the Catalan agujeta miquelet lock in North Africa are other examples that we've discussed on other threads.
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Old 29th December 2017, 08:05 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Hi Philip.

Yes, there had to be a European origin to this pistol style. It seems like it never caught on in Europe. But as mentioned, it was certainly popular in the Eastern markets for a long time. Another one of these Eastern mysteries.
Yes, knee pistol is a curious analogy. But notice some of these pistols (unlike Corrado's) have an even more curved butt plate. I took one of these with the extra curve and sat on a chair and positioned it over my knee. It does fit very well. LOL Although I would not want to try firing it off my knee without a leather pad. LOL And maybe this is what they did (?) With a pistol size load and a leather pad, I could see this doable. I'm somewhat more inclined to think the butt was pressed against the saddle or waist/hip. There does not seem to be any real historic evidence one way or the other.
One thing I have noticed on all these knee pistols is the wide/thick grip area. Obviously for added strength.
Come to think of it, at our shooting range there is a cowboy action area with a manican horse. Maybe I should try this out ? LOL

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