The American Revolutionary War was a harsh time for government backing. Much like other wars, one side was funded more than the other and the colonies had little support for weaponry. They faced off against the British who had a major government backing their troops. The Centennial Army under Washington and many militias grew within each colony to protect their borders. With that being said, the conditions were not ideal and money, transportation of firearms, and production were all issues when it came to supplying troops.
The soldiers used a variety of firearms in combat, including muskets, rifles, pistols, and artillery. Muskets were probably the most famous during that period. Due to the range and means of loading, men would position themselves in groups lined up at close range. These muskets would usually have bayonets on the end for even closer combat. It was a known issue that there was a shortage of firearms at that time and flintlock muskets were ordered in large numbers from local gunsmiths.
Muskets and rifles were more common than small arms during the war. Pistols were not frequently used in battle but more so carried by officers and some militiamen. Instead flintlock, one-shot, muzzle-loading firearms were a major part of the American Revolutionary War. Centennial soldiers were sometimes armed with the French Charleville Muskets, due to the French. Soldiers preferred this firearm to the “Brown Bess” because it was much lighter. The Charleville was a .69 caliber round and was accurate at fifty yards away. The most common model that was used by the colonies and sent by the French was the Model 1760. As well as the Charleville, the “Brown Bess,” or British Land Pattern Musket, was a very common firearm of the colonies and the British. It was greatly used by both sides of the battlefield.
Another prominent gun during the Revolutionary War was the Long Rifle, which were especially used by riflemen. Men with the Long Rifles were sought after to fight on the battlefield. It had longer-range and better accuracy than the Charleville and the “Brown Bess” muskets.
The Cody Firearms Museum has a great collection of firearms covering the years in the midst of the Revolution. At the museum you can see the advancements of ignition systems like matchlock to flintlock along with other major advancements in firearms manufacturing. The museum has something for everyone showing all different areas of firearms from hand cannons to modern use to the American West.