Under hammer “boot pistol”

This under hammer percussion pistol was manufactured, probably in the mid-late 1800′s, by Bacon & Co. These types of guns where known as “boot pistols”. I don’t know for sure where the name comes from, but would guess these were backup guns that could be stowed away inside your boot – in other words an early sub-compant CCW 🙂

I love the clean lines on this gun.

For those of you who are interested, its markings are “Bacon & Co. Norwich C-T” and “Cast Steel”.

Thanks to Heath for the photos.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Thanks for helping me find out about this piece. My uncles tell me it’s been in the family since it was carried by a relative who was a surgeon general around the time of the Civil War.

  • Don

    That configuration would lend to a very simple and elegant trigger/hammer release mechanism. I like it.


  • Don

    Here’s a picture of an underhammer mechanism.


    The geometry is such that you could easily manufacture these from 1/4 inch steel by the hundred using a single CNC waterjet operation.


    • Don, thanks for the link. Very elegant in its simplicity.

  • Matt Groom

    Pretty neat. I bet this was a Bootlegger’s best friend when the chips were down.

  • Seth from Massachusetts

    It is my understanding that the name boot pistol comes from the days when men rode horses in large humbers. They wore boots right up to just below their knees. It was customary to carry all kinds of things by puting them into the boot tops. This is how the term bootlegging for smuggling comes from. Having a long thin pistol like this made it easy to carry in a boot top, making it readily accessable while sitting on a horse.

  • Tom Stone

    I had the pleasure of shooting a very similar pistol a number of years ago.The balance was superb and it had a good trigger.despite the lack of sights it was easy to hit a coke can at 15 yards quickly.These were effective last ditch weapons and I would certainly prefer one of these to a raven 25.

  • I believe Dixie Gun Works had a either a working replica of one of these or a kit for one. The only under hammer I have any experience with was a rifle. It worked great, but for firearms of that peoird I will stick with my .54 Hawkins.

  • There will be a good quality boot pistol together with 100plus other antique firearms coming for sale by auction in Edinburgh Scotland on 20th April 2010
    for more information see http://www.lyonandturnbull.com during March when the catalogue will be on line this will be a special sale from a Scottish Castle.

  • mike

    i have the same gun. it has a number stamped 103, was wondering what the value might be.