c. 1730-1760 French & Indian War to American Revolutionary War Period Use, Pair of British Military Heavy Dragoon Style Merchant Marine, Militia or Volunteer Regiment Holster/Belt Flintlock Pistols, R WATKIN, LONDON, Choice Very Fine. This Matched Pair of Flintlock Pistols are 19.5" in overall length, each have a 12.25" long, .68 cal., round steel barrel with 2 London Private Proofs and a small "CROWN" over "R W" (the barrel makers mark for R WATKIN). These two Pistols are in their Original Flintlock Configuration. The locks are Maker Signed, "R WATKIN". One frizzen spring finial is missing. The brass furniture is almost identical to the British Military Pattern 1730/1738 Land Service Pistol (excluding the butt cap). These Pistols retain their original steel belt hooks. Their stocks are solid with very minor stress cracks, and expected scratches and dings from years of handling and service. Wood ramrods with brass tips (where one may be an original). All steel surfaces exhibit light salt & pepper slight natural pitting and patina (some areas slightly heavier than others). A choice looking Pair of holster/belt Pistols that are in good mechanical working order. (2 guns) See Ref.: page 80, “British Military Pistols and Associated Edged Weapons 1603-1887” by Robert Brooker, 2016.
Note: There are varying opinions on exactly when these pistols were produced and for what purpose. The following is my opinion. The overall form reflects all the traits of being made for military purposes. I concur with Robert Brooker that these pistols were made for Militia/Volunteer units or for the Merchant Marine. It is very possible that the maker R Watkin produced these pistols in hopes of a formal contract/purchase from the ordnance that never materialized. There were many makers that made arms remarkably like the ordnance approved military patterns to supply all the other needs outside the primary military and these pistols may be some of them.