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Old 28 January 2011, 08:11 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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United States Were large pockets in 18th century American coats used to hold guns?

Gah, what horrible phraseology!
Anyway, yesterday I heard a guest on the local radio show I listen to say that the reason colonial coats had such big pockets was so guns could be easily carried in them. The guest claimed to have heard a tour guide in Williamsburg say this. No cite given (figures).
That explanation just screams UL to me, which proves that I spend way too much time on this site. Ain't nothin' wrong with that though.


Dawn--is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?--Storm
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Old 28 January 2011, 08:23 PM
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Has he ever seen what a pistol looked like in colonial times?

Further, no one used pistols -- they were inaccurate. Rifles and shotguns were the weapons of choice.
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Old 28 January 2011, 08:28 PM
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They might have been useful to despatch a ruffian.
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Old 28 January 2011, 09:13 PM
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Pistols may not have been terribly accurate beyond a couple paces but that and the fear aspect (all that smoke and noise) might have been enough to act as a deterrent. They were rather bulkier than the pistols of today, which might have also worked as a bit of a deterrent in that any would-be assailant would quickly see the bulge in the man's coat and perhaps the butt of the pistol sticking out from underneath it.
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Old 28 January 2011, 09:56 PM
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If specifically American coats then no, as the style of coat with huge pocketses was found in several countries. It matched the great big cuffs. Whether they were more widely adopted because of the usefullness of said pockets for holding weaponry, I've no idea.
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Old 28 January 2011, 10:08 PM
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I know that the duster jackets worn by certain figure in the old west (like Wyatt Earp) were not worn just because they made you look nice - the big pockets made it easier to conceal a pistol since most towns outlawed visible carrying of guns in town limits (they were mostly concealed or the law was ignored in many cases) than to use a holster.

Most people didn’t expect a pocket draw but rather expected a holster draw.

But that wasn’t their obvious designed usage.
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Old 28 January 2011, 10:22 PM
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Wait, are we talking about 18th century coats or 1800s (i.e. 19th century) coats? The latter makes a bit more sense as a question people would ask; I know that when I saw the question, initially, I was not terribly aware that American fashion in the 1700s differed all that much from English fashion.
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Old 28 January 2011, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Further, no one used pistols -- they were inaccurate. Rifles and shotguns were the weapons of choice.
That's a rather broad statement. Since pistols were being made, I would assume that pistols were being used.
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Old 28 January 2011, 11:36 PM
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If we really are talking about the 18th century, in fairness they really were pretty inaccurate, which is probably reason #1 why they were used for dueling. Even at 10 paces you stood a very good chance at surviving someone firing a pistol at you.
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Old 29 January 2011, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
I know that the duster jackets worn by certain figure in the old west (like Wyatt Earp) were not worn just because they made you look nice - the big pockets made it easier to conceal a pistol since most towns outlawed visible carrying of guns in town limits (they were mostly concealed or the law was ignored in many cases) than to use a holster.

Most people didnít expect a pocket draw but rather expected a holster draw.

But that wasnít their obvious designed usage.
During the Irish War of Independence in the early 1920s, there was at least one warning given by the British that they would shoot on sight anyone with their hands in their pockets, following a spate of attacks where the IRA concealed guns in their coats.
Many mothers took to sewing up their son's coat pockets in case they forgot. (Easily done in a cold country). Not sure where I read this, but I think it was in Dan Breen's book of the conflict.
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