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What Kind Of Gun Did Pirates Keep In Their Garters What Kind Of Gun Did Pirates Keep In Their Garters


What Kind Of Gun Did Pirates Keep In Their Garters

Written by: Roxana Bigelow

Discover the kind of guns that pirates concealed in their garters. Read along to explore more about general questions related to this intriguing topic.

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Ahoy, matey! Pirates have fascinated us for centuries with their daring adventures on the high seas. But have you ever wondered what kind of weapons these swashbucklers used to defend themselves? While we often think of pirates brandishing cutlasses and flintlock pistols, there is another intriguing element to their weaponry – concealed carry. Hidden away in their garters, pirates would keep a secret weapon at their fingertips, ready to surprise their enemies in a moment’s notice.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of pirates and their unique approach to concealed carry. We will discuss the different types of guns they kept in their garters, the techniques they used for concealment, and explore some famous pirates known for their garter guns. So, hoist the Jolly Roger and join us on this journey into the hidden world of pirate weaponry!

But first, let’s take a step back and understand the broader context of pirates and their weapons. Pirates were notorious outlaws who roamed the seas and preyed on merchant vessels. During the Golden Age of Piracy, which spanned from the late 17th century to the early 18th century, pirates terrorized the Caribbean, the Atlantic Ocean, and beyond.

Their primary goal was to seize valuable cargo, such as gold, silver, and other precious goods, from merchant ships. However, as they often encountered resistance from well-armed crews, pirates needed effective weapons to ensure their survival. The weapons of choice for pirates were typically cutlasses and pistols, as they were versatile and well-suited for close-quarter combat.

While cutlasses were renowned for their slashing and hacking capabilities, pistols provided pirates with ranged firepower. Most commonly, pirates used flintlock pistols, which had a distinctive mechanism that involved a piece of flint striking against a steel plate, creating a spark to ignite gunpowder and fire the weapon. These pistols were reliable but somewhat cumbersome, especially when it came to reloading, which led to the development of a more compact and concealable option – garter guns.


The History of Pirates and Their Weapons

To truly understand the significance of garter guns in pirate lore, we must delve into the history of pirates and their weapons. Pirates, known for their acts of piracy on the high seas, emerged as a prominent threat during the Golden Age of Piracy.

During this era, pirates operated in various parts of the world, but they were especially notorious in the Caribbean. Their targets were primarily merchant ships carrying valuable cargo. In order to successfully plunder these vessels, pirates relied on a combination of cunning tactics, skilled seamanship, and fearsome weaponry.

Pirates were masters of close-quarter combat, and their weapons reflected this. One of the most iconic weapons associated with pirates is the cutlass. The cutlass was a short, single-edged sword with a slightly curved blade, making it highly effective in hand-to-hand combat. Its design made it ideal for quick slashes and parries, allowing pirates to engage in brutal shipboard battles.

In addition to cutlasses, pirates also utilized firearms as a means of intimidation and attack. Flintlock pistols became the weapon of choice for many pirates during the Golden Age. These pistols, named after the mechanism that ignited the gunpowder, featured a distinctive lock system that relied on a piece of flint striking a steel plate to create a spark.

Flintlock pistols allowed for precise aim and provided pirates with a ranged advantage over their opponents. However, they had their drawbacks. Reloading a flintlock pistol was a time-consuming process that required careful handling of gunpowder and lead balls. This presented a challenge for pirates, especially in the heat of battle.

It was these challenges that led pirates to seek alternative solutions for concealed carry and quick access to a weapon. Garter guns emerged as a clever option for pirates to have a hidden firearm within easy reach at all times.

Now that we have explored the history of pirates and their traditional weapons, let us dive deeper into the concept of concealed carry among pirates and how garter guns fit into this fascinating world of piracy.


The Concept of Concealed Carry among Pirates

Pirates had a knack for adapting to the challenging and unpredictable circumstances they faced while at sea. Their survival depended on being able to swiftly access their weapons when needed. This necessity gave rise to the concept of concealed carry among pirates.

Concealed carry refers to the practice of carrying a weapon in a discreet and hidden manner. Pirates realized the advantage of having a concealed firearm within reach at all times, as it allowed them to surprise their foes or defend themselves in unexpected situations. Concealed carry not only provided pirates with a tactical advantage but also served as a means of personal protection and deterrence.

Concealment also gave pirates the element of surprise. By keeping their weapons hidden until the opportune moment, pirates could catch their enemies off guard, potentially avoiding a lengthy and exhausting battle. Pirates understood that the element of surprise could often be their ticket to a swift victory.

Garter guns, as the name suggests, involved carrying a firearm in a garter or leg holster. These covert weapons were designed to be easily hidden under a pirate’s clothing, allowing them to carry a loaded pistol without arousing suspicion. The garter acted as a convenient and secure holder for the weapon, ensuring that it remained firmly in place even during the most chaotic of encounters.

This concept of concealed carry was not limited to garter guns alone. Pirates often employed other innovative methods to hide their weapons. Some pirates concealed small firearms within pockets or secret compartments in their clothing. Others made use of sashes, belts, or even wooden legs to store their weapons, ensuring they were always armed and ready for action.

Concealed carry was not only practical but also symbolic in the pirate world. It showcased a pirate’s resourcefulness, adaptability, and preparedness for any situation. Pirates were known for their cunning and ability to outsmart their adversaries, and concealed weaponry played a part in this game of wits.

In the next section, we will explore the specific use of garters as concealment devices and the types of guns that pirates kept hidden within them. Get ready to uncover the secrets of these hidden weapons!


Garters as Concealment Devices

When it comes to concealed carry among pirates, garters played a significant role as concealment devices. These elastic bands, typically worn around the thigh, were not just fashion statements but also practical hiding spots for small firearms.

Garters were ideal for concealing weapons due to their placement and functionality. Pirates would secure the garter just above the knee, ensuring that it remained in place during intense battles and maneuvering on the ship. The elastic material of the garter provided a snug yet flexible fit, allowing pirates to move freely while keeping their concealed firearm secure.

The simplicity and convenience of garters made them a popular choice among pirates for hiding their weapons. Pirates would often have multiple garters, each loaded with a pistol, ensuring they had quick access to a hidden firearm at all times. The garters’ discreet placement made it difficult for enemies or crewmates to detect the hidden weapons, giving pirates an element of surprise in combat situations.

To further enhance the concealment, pirates would often wear long coats, skirts, or trousers that would drape over the garters, further disguising the presence of the hidden firearms. This added layer of camouflage made it even more challenging for adversaries to anticipate the pirates’ armed capabilities.

Garters offered an advantage beyond concealment – they allowed for quick and efficient retrieval of the hidden weapons. With just a subtle motion or tug, pirates could easily access the pistol tucked away in their garter, ready to fire at a moment’s notice. This swift access to their concealed firearm gave pirates the upper hand in unexpected confrontations, enabling them to react rapidly and decisively.

Moreover, the use of garters as concealment devices added a touch of intrigue and mystery to the pirate persona. The hidden weapon served as a symbol of the pirate’s readiness to defend themselves and their crew if necessary. It reinforced the pirate’s reputation as a formidable and cunning adversary, capable of turning the tide of battle in an instant.

Now that we understand the role of garters as concealment devices, let’s dive into the various types of guns that pirates kept hidden within them. Join us as we uncover the secrets of these concealed weapons!


Types of Guns Kept in Garters

The guns that pirates kept hidden within their garters were typically compact and easily concealable firearms. These weapons provided pirates with a quick and discreet means of self-defense or attack. Let’s explore some of the types of guns commonly kept in garters by pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Flintlock Pistols: Flintlock pistols, the staple firearm of the pirate era, were also popular choices for garter guns. These pistols featured a flint striking mechanism for igniting the gunpowder, allowing for a single shot before requiring reloading. The compact size of flintlock pistols made them suitable for garter concealment, offering pirates a reliable and effective close-range weapon.

Derringer Pistols: Derringer pistols were another favored option for garter guns. These small, single-shot pistols were easy to conceal and had a reputation for being discreet weapons. Derringers were known for their accuracy and were often used for close-quarters combat. Their small size lent itself well to carrying in a garter, providing pirates with a compact and powerful concealed firearm.

Blunderbuss Pistols: Blunderbuss pistols, though bulkier than flintlock or derringer pistols, were occasionally kept in garters by pirates. These unique firearms had a short barrel with a flared muzzle, enabling them to spray a wide range of projectiles at close range. While not as commonly hidden in garters as other pistols, blunderbuss pistols gave pirates a formidable and unexpected weapon for close-quarter engagements.

Pirates had to consider both firepower and ease of concealment when selecting the type of guns they would keep in their garters. The compact nature of these firearms allowed pirates to carry them discreetly without hindrance, ensuring that they were always prepared for any encounter.

Each type of gun had its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the pirate’s personal preference and the specific situation they might find themselves in. However, regardless of the type of gun, pirates relied on their garters to provide a concealed and accessible arsenal.

Next, we will explore the techniques pirates employed for concealing these guns within their garters. Join us as we uncover the secrets of how pirates managed to hide their weapons so effectively!


Flintlock Pistols

During the Golden Age of Piracy, flintlock pistols were the most commonly carried firearms by pirates. These pistols were reliable, versatile, and well-suited for close-quarter combat. Their compact size made them suitable for garter concealment, ensuring that pirates had a formidable weapon within reach at all times.

Flintlock pistols operated on a unique mechanism, making them distinct from other firearms of the time. The lock of the pistol contained a piece of flint, which, when struck against a steel plate, created a spark. This spark ignited the gunpowder within the barrel, propelling the lead ball or shot out of the pistol with considerable force.

The flintlock mechanism provided pirates with a reliable way to fire their pistols. However, reloading a flintlock pistol was a time-consuming process. After each shot, pirates had to carefully clean the barrel to remove residue and debris. They would then pour a measured amount of gunpowder down the barrel, followed by a lead ball. Finally, they would use a ramrod to push the ball and powder firmly into place.

What made flintlock pistols desirable for garter guns was their size and effectiveness in close-quarter combat. These pistols were typically around 12 to 15 inches long, making them compact enough to be concealed within the confines of a garter. Pirates could easily access their flintlock pistols by pulling them out swiftly when needed, surprising their adversaries with a sudden and deadly attack.

Flintlock pistols were renowned for their firepower and accuracy at close range. Their smoothbore barrels allowed for quick and easy loading, culminating in a powerful shot. Pirates relied on the element of surprise, drawing their concealed flintlock pistols from their garters during unexpected encounters and quickly dispatching their opponents.

Despite their effectiveness, flintlock pistols did have their limitations. Their range was relatively short, typically around 30 to 50 meters, making them less effective in long-range engagements. Additionally, the reloading process, while essential, was time-consuming and often required a steady hand and focus, which could be challenging during the chaos of a battle.

Regardless of their limitations, flintlock pistols remained a popular choice among pirates for their reliability and compact size. These versatile firearms provided pirates with the means to defend themselves or launch swift attacks, all concealed within the confines of a garter.

Now that we have explored the significance of flintlock pistols as garter guns, let’s move on to the next type of firearms used by pirates in their concealed carry – derringer pistols.


Derringer Pistols

When it comes to concealable firearms, derringer pistols were a popular choice amongst pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy. These small, single-shot pistols were highly compact, making them ideal for concealed carry in garters. Pirates valued derringers for their discreetness and potent firepower, making them reliable weapons for close-quarters combat.

Derringer pistols were named after Henry Deringer, a well-known American gunsmith who designed and popularized these small firearms in the mid-19th century. The compact size of derringers made them perfect for concealed carry. They typically featured a single barrel and a simplistic break-action design, allowing for easy loading and firing.

One of the key advantages of derringer pistols was their accuracy at short distances. These firearms were known for their precision, ensuring that pirates could deliver lethal shots even in tight spaces. With a typical range of 5 to 20 meters, derringers were effective for close-quarter engagements and surprise attacks.

Equally important, derringers were easy to hide within a garter due to their diminutive size. Pirates could discreetly carry them, tucked away in their garters without arousing suspicion. The simple yet reliable design of derringers made them a popular choice for pirates seeking a reliable and easy-to-conceal firearm.

Another advantage of derringer pistols was their simplicity and ease of use. Loading a derringer involved breaking the barrel open and inserting a single round. While this limited the firepower compared to other firearms, it also meant that pirates could quickly reload and return to action if necessary.

Pirates valued the element of surprise, and derringer pistols facilitated this perfectly. With their compact size hidden away in a garter, pirates could draw their derringer quickly, catching their opponents off guard with an unexpected and deadly shot. This advantage gave pirates an edge in close-quarter combat, allowing them to turn the tide of a battle swiftly.

Despite their advantages, derringer pistols did have limitations. Their single-shot capacity meant that pirates had to make their shots count. Reload time was also a concern, as pirates needed to keep their distance from adversaries while reloading their derringer pistols. Nevertheless, these limitations did not deter pirates from utilizing derringers for their concealed carry needs.

The compactness, accuracy, and ease of concealment made derringer pistols a favored choice among pirates for garter guns. This small yet powerful firearm allowed pirates to carry a reliable and deadly weapon hidden in plain sight, ready to be drawn at a moment’s notice.

Now that we have examined the significance of derringer pistols, let’s move on to the final type of concealed weaponry among pirates – blunderbuss pistols.


Blunderbuss Pistols

While flintlock and derringer pistols were commonly carried by pirates as concealed weapons, blunderbuss pistols also found their place among pirate garter guns. These unique pistols were known for their distinctive flared muzzles and the ability to spray a wide range of projectiles at close range, making them formidable weapons in close-quarters combat.

Blunderbuss pistols were developed with the intention of creating a devastating and intimidating firearm, ideal for boarding actions and shipboard battles. These pistols had a short barrel and a wider bore, allowing for the firing of multiple projectiles at once. The wide muzzle allowed for the loading of various projectiles such as shot, nails, or even broken glass, turning the blunderbuss into a deadly weapon at close range.

While blunderbuss pistols were bulkier than flintlock or derringer pistols, they still found their place in garter concealment. Pirates who chose to carry blunderbuss pistols in their garters valued the sheer stopping power and the element of surprise that these firearms provided. The ability to unleash a spray of projectiles on adversaries from close range made blunderbuss pistols effective weapons for boarding enemy vessels or repelling attacking parties.

Although not as common for garter carry as other pistols, blunderbuss pistols had a fearsome reputation among pirates thanks to their firepower and versatility. Pirates who chose to carry blunderbuss pistols in their garters were prepared for intense and chaotic shipboard battles where the wide spray of projectiles could yield devastating results.

Another advantage of blunderbuss pistols was their simplicity. Loaders would typically pour gunpowder down the barrel, followed by a wad to keep the shot or projectiles in place. This straightforward loading process allowed for relatively quick reloads, enabling pirates to sustain a barrage of firepower in close-quarter engagements.

It is important to note that blunderbuss pistols were not exclusively carried in garters, but their unique design and close-quarters effectiveness meant that some pirates opted to conceal them within their garters when a more compact and concealed firearm was desired.

The wide range of projectiles fired by blunderbuss pistols made them a preferred choice for pirates seeking a devastating close-quarter weapon. Whether used in garter guns or carried through other means, blunderbuss pistols provided pirates with a powerful and intimidating tool for boarding actions and close-range combat.

With our exploration of the different types of guns carried in garters complete, let’s now delve into the techniques pirates employed for effectively concealing these firearms within their garters.


Techniques for Concealed Carrying in Garters

Crafty pirates had various techniques for effectively concealing firearms within their garters. Concealed carry in garters required careful planning and execution to ensure the weapons remained hidden and secure. Let’s explore some of the techniques pirates employed for concealed carrying in garters during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Positioning: Pirates strategically positioned their garters just above the knee, ensuring that the concealed firearms did not interfere with their movement. Placing the garter higher on the thigh or too low on the leg could impede mobility and increase the risk of the weapon being accidentally revealed. Pirates would adjust and secure their garters to ensure a snug fit, preventing the firearms from sliding or shifting during frantic moments of combat.

Disguise: Pirates were masters of disguise, utilizing their clothing to conceal the presence of the garter and its hidden firearm. They would often wear long coats, skirts, or trousers that would drape over the garter, effectively hiding the weapon from view. The use of layers and loose-fitting clothing created an additional barrier between the garter and prying eyes, making it even more challenging for adversaries to detect the concealed firearms.

Securing Mechanism: Pirates employed various methods to ensure the firearms remained securely held within their garters. Some garters had built-in pockets or pouches specifically designed for carrying handguns, providing a secure and snug fit. Others used elastic bands or straps to hold the firearms in place, preventing them from slipping or falling out during movement or combat.

Leveraging Distractions: Pirates were adept at exploiting distractions to divert attention away from the concealed weaponry in their garters. They would often create chaos or draw focus elsewhere during boarding actions or confrontations, using the opportunity to discreetly access their gartered firearms. This diversion allowed them to surprise their adversaries, unleashing a concealed weapon when least expected.

Practice and Familiarity: Pirates spent hours practicing and familiarizing themselves with the process of drawing their firearms from their garters swiftly. They honed their skills to ensure a seamless and rapid extraction, enabling them to react swiftly in the heat of battle. Practice not only improved their speed but also enabled pirates to minimize the chance of accidental discovery during the process.

Pirates recognized the importance of proper concealment techniques to maintain the element of surprise and ensure the effectiveness of their gartered firearms. These techniques allowed them to carry hidden weapons securely and discreetly, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

From positioning and disguise to securing mechanisms and leveraging distractions, pirates employed a range of techniques for concealed carrying in garters. Now, let’s explore some famous pirates known for their use of garter guns!


Famous Pirates Known for Garter Guns

Throughout history, there have been several famous pirates known for their use of garter guns. These renowned buccaneers made a name for themselves not only for their daring exploits on the high seas but also for their strategic use of concealed weaponry. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most well-known pirates who employed garter guns.

Anne Bonny: Anne Bonny was an infamous Irish pirate who sailed the Caribbean during the early 18th century. Known for her fierce temper and fearless nature, Anne Bonny was not one to back down from a fight. Legend has it that she carried a pair of concealed flintlock pistols in her garters, ready to unleash a surprise attack on any adversaries foolish enough to cross her path.

Calico Jack Rackham: Calico Jack Rackham was a notorious pirate who operated in the Caribbean during the early 18th century. Alongside his infamous crew, which included Anne Bonny, Calico Jack became known for his audacious raids and adventurous lifestyle. It is said that Calico Jack also carried a pair of flintlock pistols in his garters, making him a formidable opponent in close-quarters combat.

Charlotte de Berry: Charlotte de Berry, known as the legendary “Queen of the Pirates,” was a fictional character whose stories captivated audiences during the 17th century. While there are differing accounts of her existence, Charlotte de Berry became synonymous with the portrayal of a strong and cunning pirate queen. In folklore, she was often depicted carrying hidden blunderbuss pistols in her garters, ready to unleash a deadly and devastating attack.

Blackbeard: Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, was an infamous pirate who terrorized the Caribbean and the American colonies during the early 18th century. Known for his fearsome appearance and ruthless tactics, Blackbeard struck fear into the hearts of his foes. While there is no direct evidence of him utilizing garter guns, his reputation as a cunning pirate suggests that he may have employed similar concealed carry tactics.

These famous pirates are just a few examples of the many who became notorious for their use of garter guns. While historical accounts may not always provide detailed evidence of their concealed weaponry, their legendary status and the tales of their exploits have perpetuated the association with garter guns.

By skillfully using garter guns, these pirates turned what might have been just another concealed weapon into a symbol of their cunning and readiness for battle. Their stories serve as a reminder of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the pirate world.

As we conclude our exploration of famous pirates known for their garter guns, let’s reflect on the fascinating history and legacy of these concealed weapons among pirates.



The history of pirates and their concealed weaponry, specifically garter guns, offers a captivating glimpse into the world of piracy during the Golden Age. Pirates were skilled in the art of adapting to their perilous and unpredictable circumstances, and concealed carry in garters provided them with a discreet and easily accessible means of self-defense and attack.

We explored the concept of concealed carry among pirates, understanding how garters served as concealment devices and allowed for quick access to hidden firearms. The types of guns pirates kept in their garters varied, including flintlock pistols, derringer pistols, and even blunderbuss pistols. These weapons offered pirates a range of options for different combat situations and provided them with a hidden advantage in close-quarter engagements.

Pirates employed diverse techniques to effectively conceal their firearms within their garters, from strategic positioning and disguise to securing mechanisms and leveraging distractions. These techniques ensured that the gartered weapons remained undetected until the pirates were ready to reveal them, adding to the element of surprise and their overall effectiveness in combat.

Notable pirates, such as Anne Bonny, Calico Jack Rackham, Charlotte de Berry, and Blackbeard, became legendary figures in pirate history, with tales of their use of garter guns perpetuating the mystique surrounding these concealed weapons. While the historical evidence may vary, the association between these famous pirates and garter guns symbolizes the resourcefulness and readiness for battle exhibited by pirates of the era.

The legacy of garter guns among pirates is a testament to their ingenuity and adaptability in the face of danger. They harnessed the element of surprise, turning a simple garter into a hidden arsenal, ready to unleash swift and deadly attacks on their adversaries.

As we bid farewell to the captivating world of pirates and their garter guns, let us remember the fearless and cunning nature of these buccaneers. The tales of their concealed weaponry in garters serve as a testament to their reputation as formidable adversaries on the high seas.

So, the next time you encounter a pirate in your imagination or in folklore, don’t forget to ponder the secrets hidden within their garters and the concealed firepower that set them apart from mere mortals.

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