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Thread: what kind of sidearms were popular with Civilians? iam building a outfit

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    Quote Originally Posted by S.D.Swart View Post
    So what would your take be on Eastern Ky. and the mountain regions? Seems civilians had to be armed to a point to live at times. I would think they would certainly have shotguns, squirell guns, and other fouler style long guns, but other than hunting or traveling, they would be at home and handy. However, a town under military control, might be another matter.....

    Shawn
    Correct. And when people from those regions marched off to war, they brought many of those shotguns and mountain rifles with them. In the more metropolitan areas, sidearms were primarily worn by military and civilian law enforcement personnel. For close quarter personal self defense, a knife would be more common (for a variety of reasons). And virtually every civilian male above the age of five years carried at least a pocket knife.

    But I suppose that isn't what the civilian (re)enactor wants to know. So let's answer it this way, if a civilian were going to be carrying a sidearm in some context (for whatever reason) it would most likely be one of the small caliber "pocket" variety. For example, Colt made a line of small percussion revolvers in .31 caliber both with and without loading levers. There are period accounts of civilians shooting themselves in the foot, leg and whatnot, so obviously some people carried them at times. For purposes of Civil War civilian living history, it is an expensive prop without much potential utility.
    Last edited by Craig L Barry; 09-26-2012 at 09:15 AM.
    Craig L Barry

    Author: The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy

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