The catalogs of Rock Island Auction Company’s premier auctions are a unique source for aficionados of obscure and unusual firearms as you can always find some of the rarest and most fascinating samples of such guns there. Many firearms that one can only see in the ultimate obscure gun reference book, “Firearms Curiosa”, often appear in these auctions and the subject of this article is likely one of them. This double-barreled stirrup pistol is currently listed in the catalog of the upcoming May 2021 Rock Island Premier Firearms Auction.
Both “Firearms Curiosa” by Lewis Winant and “Trailing The Men of Iron” by Charles Noe Daly and Joseph Lister Rutledge contain photographs and descriptions of a pair of stirrup pistols that Charles Noe Daly bought in 1917 in France from the armorer who made them. This particular stirrup pistol looks identical (down to small details) to those shown in the books and is likely one of that pair.
The mechanism of this device includes two single-shot 11mm caliber barrels located at the edges of the iron stirrup housing with the clockwork inbetween them. The barrels are fired simultaneously by pulling a strap attached to the trigger that protrudes from the top of the housing. It requires a deliberate pull of the strap to fire the guns and this heavy pull is the only safety measure. Apparently, depending on the orientation of the stirrups, the pistols could be fired both towards the front, when attacking, and towards the rear to engage a pursuing rider.
The location of the second stirrup pistol of this pair is unknown. The estimated price range that this pistol will likely be sold at is $6,000 – $9,000. For a more detailed description of this lot, visit its page in the catalog of the May 2021 Rock Island Premier Firearms Auction.