English, British, and French troops in the Revolutionary War used similar weapons. The differences in weapons were most significant from one type of unit to another, as the artillery, cavalry, and infantry employed drastically different equipment and tactics.
Muskets and Rifles
The Brown Bess was the most commonly used musket by American troops, even though it was designed and manufactured in Great Britain. This type of musket shot a cluster-style shot that had an effect similar to today’s shotguns
Short Land Pattern
The Short Land Pattern Brown Bess was not as common as the Long Land Pattern, but it was shorter and significantly less bulky.
Long Land Pattern
This long and bulky musket was the most common firearm for American troops.
As American and British officers each had their standard pistols, so did French military officers in the Modele 1763. It was similar in size and use to the Light Dragoon.
Swords and Sabers
There were many close-combat situations during the Revolutionary War, and both sides used swords and sabers to this end.
This spiked weapon served for many years as a signal device even after it was retired from being used in close-combat situations.
This weapon was carried by British officers and is similar in appearance to the spontoon. Because of its recognizable shape, many American snipers were able to locate and kill British officers who were holding a halberd.
Native American Weapons
Many Native Americans used muskets and other weapons used by Americans and Europeans, but there are two weapons that were used almost solely by Native Americans.
Bow and Arrow
While the range of a bow and arrow is significantly less than that of a musket or rifle, its silent use and ability to be reloaded quickly often provided an advantage.
Tomahawks were used effectively by skilled handlers in close combat, but in the right hands, it could be thrown as a weapon as well.
A cannon shot could be devastating, but the effort required in using a cannon was significant, as the recoil meant that it had to be repositioned after each shot. Both sides used cannons often.
Mortars, used by both British and American troops, look similar to cannons, but they are mounted in a block of wood. A mortar could fire exploding shells that would cause shrapnel to fall to the ground over a large area.
This monster of a weapon combined the elements of cannons and mortars. It was able to shoot exploding shells and cannonballs over both high and low trajectories.
A carronade is a small and short cannon used primarily on ships, and they were employed often during close-combat situations, as they did not have a long range.
These small cannons were effective when trying to stop a ship from being boarded and could also be used in an infantry battle. Swivel guns are short, but as their name implies, they were able to swivel in all directions to aim at enemies coming from anywhere.
- Tactics and Weapons of the American Revolution: Fighters in the Revolutionary War on both sides used a wide variety of weapons and strategies.
- Revolutionary War Weapons: Learn about the long rifles and other weapons used by soldiers in the Revolutionary War.
- French Charleville Model 1763 Flintlock Musket: See what the earliest models of the French infantry musket looked like and how they worked.
- French Infantry Musket: This musket had a great impact on the war and its outcome.
- Pattern 1776 Infantry Rifle: The Pattern 1776 Infantry Rifle was built for the British Army during the Revolutionary War.
- Five Guns You Need to Know From the American Revolution: This page outlines the most well-known guns used during the American Revolution and tells a little about each one’s history.
- The Brown Bess: Eight Amazing Facts: Read all about the Brown Bess musket and how it played a role in the war’s end.
- History of the Term “Brown Bess”: Many people may wonder why this musket was called the Brown Bess, and this article has the backstory.
- A Revolution in Arms: Weapons in the War for Independence: The Revolutionary War served not only as a war for a country’s independence but a revolution in wartime weaponry use.
- American-Made Muskets in the Revolutionary War: These muskets were made locally and typically not produced in large numbers.
- Overview of the American Revolutionary War: Get a thorough grounding in the events before and during the Revolutionary War by reading this article.
- A Timeline of the American Revolution From 1763-87: A British perspective on the American Revolution begins with the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763.
- American Revolution: Causes, Battles, Aftermath, and Facts: Find out what led to the American Revolution and what the aftermath was for all countries involved.
- The Revolutionary War: The History Channel provides an in-depth description of the American Revolution, including key battles and dates, on this page.
- Overview of the Revolutionary War: Learn about the events leading up to the American Revolution here.
- Siege of Boston: Cannons brought from Fort Ticonderoga were crucial to the Americans’ success in this 1776 effort.
- Outfitting an American Revolutionary Soldier: While the British forces were supplied by the crown, the Americans had little money, few supplies, and no central government to organize its efforts.
- American Revolutionary Weapons: The National Park Service owns a collection of weapons used in the Revolutionary War.
- Revolutionary War Guns: The Guns That Made America: The Americans used a wide variety of weapons because they did not have an organized and well-supplied military.
- Myths of the American Revolution: The Revolutionary War lends itself to myth-making, but the truth about what happened is often just as interesting.
- British Pattern 1776 Rifles in the American Revolution: Learn about the weapons used by the British stationed in America.
- Brown Bess Muskets in the American Revolution: These guns were used for more than a century in wars all over the world.
- Shooting the 1766 Charleville Musket (video): Learn about the 1776 Charleville musket and how it would have been loaded and fired.
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