Early Frontiers Weapons – Historical Overview
The United States as a nation did not enter the western picture with its firearms much before 1803 when Lewis and Clark assembled their expedition. Most of his men, being soldiers, carried the standard U.S. infantry weapon, a smoothbore flintlock musket, Model 1795, made at the new U.S. Armory, Springfield, Massachusetts. Some members of the Lewis & Clark party carried the Kentucky rifle, a weapon already well known on the American frontier. Lewis & Clark also carried blunderbusses – short barreled musket with bell-shaped muzzle that spit large scattershot. These were the traditional “coach guns” of European and American stagecoaches, as well as weapons for cavalry or dragoons.