Lady Merreth’s adventures are set in a period roughly analogous to the late 1700s to early 1800s. The faintest stirrings of the industrial revolution can be discerned though military technology is considerably more varied than it was in our world.
In Lady Merreth’s world armies can be equipped with anything from sword and pike through flintlock firearms.
I want Merreth to have a bit of an edge so I’m always interested in flintlock firearms that pushed the envelope of technical development. This means breech loading muskets (and later rifles) and pistols (I decided against early percussion cap technology).
Flintlock revolvers would also warrant a look.
With that in mind, with what could I outfit Merreth?
After a bit of research I found two weapons that seemed reasonable, given the tech base of her world.
This was one of the very first breech loading firearms produced. What’s amazing is that it was used in the American Revolution. It was capable of a high rate of fire — 6 to 10 rounds per minute. This was over double that of a standard muzzle-loading musket at the time.
Its drawback was cost. The Ferguson rifle was hugely expensive to produce compared to a standard flintlock musket. Nonetheless, in Merreth’s world I may contrive to get one into her hands.
Lorenzoni Repeating Flintlock Pistol
This is a truly unique weapon from the 1600s — a seven shot, breech loading flintlock pistol that was NOT some sort of revolver. An amazing piece of military hardware, it required very finely machined tolerances to prevent it from blowing up in your hand.
Using the Weapons in Fiction
Both of these are fine weapons and notable examples of what could be accomplished prior to percussion caps, smokeless powder, and the countless other innovations that led to modern military firearms.
Each would serve your heroine well, as long as you take into consideration some drawbacks:
- Cost — each of the two weapons was much more expensive to produce than a standard flintlock musket or pistol. Thus, when using them in a fantasy fiction piece, they should be relatively rare and quite expensive.
- Production techniques — these weapons were products of an age just before the industrial revolution and depended heavily on hand-craftsmanship — particularly in the case of the Lorenzoni pistol. There were no assembly lines or mass production techniques to bring down the cost or to allow even a rich expansionist power the ability to turn out hundreds each month.
- Weight and design — this is less of an issue for the Ferguson rifle which weighs and handles roughly the same as a musket (in terms of carrying and firing position). However, the Lorenzoni pistol looks as if it would have more “heft” than a “standard” flintlock pistol (I haven’t located any information on the relative weights of pistols, so I could be wrong). Moreover, the cocking lever would make the pistol quite awkward to wear either on the hip, stuffed in a belt, or from a bandolier. It might be best stored in a larger holster on your heroine’s mount.
What say you, fellow fantasy writers? What weapons would you have your heroine use to give her an edge?
That’s all for the post. Thanks for reading, and I will see you again next time.