In 1800, Napoleon was concerned about order and organization of his army and appointed a Commission composed of artillery officers and arms inspectors, whose task was to define a weapon system that could replace that of the 1777 model. The work of these specialists reflected in the regulation of 21 Pluviôse AN IX (February 11, 1801), signed by General Saint-Germain, an artillery officer who served as general manager of the arms-manufactures since AN VII (1799). Inspired in part from the 1763-1766 model, but based on the other weapons manufactured during the Revolution, this pistol is shorter than its predecessor and was produced by four manufactures, those of Charleville, Saint-Etienne, Maubeuge and Versailles.
The “AN IX” cavalry pistol was introduced from 1801 until 1807 and it replaced the disappointing 1777 model pistol. It gave rise to a remarkable weapon, intended for the light cavalry – like the Hussars and Chasseurs, each of the troopers having two pistols in holsters on each side of their saddles.
The muzzle loading single shot flintlock pistol weight was 1.290 kg and the length was 352 mm including the barrel of 207 mm. The pistol had brass furniture which includes the buttcap, barrel band, triggerguard and sideplate with the stock made from walnut. It had a tapered 8 ¼ inch round barrel smoothbore in .690 diameter which would fire a .69 caliber lead ball which must have given the rider quite a jolt when it was fired. A small steel ramrod was fitted onto the bottom of the stock with brass fittings. The rate of fire was between two and three rounds per minute with the effective range of 5 to 10 metres. By 1807 approximately 33,000 pairs had been produced. The “AN IX” pistol continued to be used in Napoleon’s cavalry as he made sure his army had the best firearms of the day until the end of his reign in 1815.
The Function of the flintlock pistol: the cartridge made of paper filled with gunpowder and a lead ball is taken from the ammo pouch. The cock is placed in the half cock position and the frizzen opened. The cartridge is then bitten tearing off the end, a small amount of the powder is placed in the pan, the frizzen is then closed. The lead ball, along with the rest of the powder is placed in the barrel, followed by the paper. This is then rammed firmly down the barrel. The rammer is then placed back in its receiver. The cock is pulled into the full cock position and the weapon is then ready to fire. On pulling the trigger, the cock holding the flint forward striking the frizzen and exposing the powder in the pan. At the same time the flint strikes the metal of the frizzen a spark is caused setting off the powder in the pan which in turn sets off the powder in the barrel causing an explosion which them forces out the lead ball and paper wad from the barrel.