Queen Anne Pistol
Queen Anne Pistol
Country of origin




Production began

1660 [1]

Production ended

c.1780 [1]

Weapon type






Magazine/Cylinder capacity


Used by


The Queen Anne Pistol was a style of flintlock pistol used in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.[1] Although the name Queen Anne could apply to any pistol built during the reign of Anne as Queen of England (1702-14), the term Queen Anne Pistol applied to any pistol with screw on barrel.[2]


Queen Anne Pistols are thought to have first been produced in 1660, although they did not become popular until the early 1700s during the reign of Queen Anne I of Great Britain. The Queen Anne was used throughout the expanding English (later British) Empire, although the actual number manufactured, or indeed where they were manufactured, is unclear.[2]

Outside of England, a significant number of Queen Anne pistols are thought to have been used by Revolutionary forces during the American Revolution.[2] It is thought that they came into the possession of the Revolutionaries during the Seige of Boston (April 1775 to March 1776) after the population in the town took up arms against the British who controlled the town.[3] The Queen Anne was still in production, post-American Revolution, until the 1780s before gradually falling out of use in the nineteenth century.[1]

Design DetailsEdit

The Queen Anne Pistol's design has become synonymous with its screw on barrel. The barrel was typically smoothbore (although some Queen Annes were given rifling later) and could be interchanged with other barrels to increase the length of the pistol.[2] This was also used for loading the Queen Anne, although some examples were muzzle loaded (but had a key to unlock the barrel so it can be unscrewed).[2] Interestingly, the bore of the barrel is often tapered (on breech loading Queen Annes) allowing for larger calibre balls to be fired (as the ball will be compressed by the force of the gunpowder explosion and being pushed down the barrel).[2]

The breech and lock were forged in a single piece, meaning that the barrel could be unscrewed.[4] The lock itself was a flintlock design (the most popular and practical lock mechanism at the time) while the rest of the pistol was highly furnished with silver.[5]


The Queen Anne was manufactured in a variety of calibre sizes, which were frequently made to be larger than the bore of the barrel, and fired using gunpowder.[4] Unlike other pistols of the same era, however, the Queen Anne lacked a ramrod or the need for wadding, due to the fact that the ball was loaded into the breech.[4]


  • The legendary Black Beard is frequently pictured with a Queen Anne style pistol.[2]


Image origin:

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Burgoyne, John W., The Queen Anne Pistol 1660-1780, (Museum Restoration Service, 2002)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6
  3. French, Allen, The Siege of Boston, (MacMillan, Boston: 1911)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2
  5. Kinard, Jeff, Pistols: An Illustrated History of their Impact, (ABC-Clio: 2004)

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