Guns > Muzzleloaders

Guns of the Pilgrims

Get an exclusive glimpse of the gun John Alden carried with him when the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.


In November 1620 the Mayflower dropped anchor just inside of what we now call Cape Cod, with approximately 130 passengers and crew. Tradition holds that the first person to step ashore at Plymouth Rock was the ship’s cooper, or barrel maker, a young man by the name of John Alden. As fate would have it, The NRA’s National Firearms Museum is the current custodian of the gun Alden most certainly carried with him that historic day. It is a wheel-lock carbine, with an Italian made barrel and numerous small repairs to the stock. For the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation’s first Thanksgiving in 1621, the wheel-lock would have been the most expensive option. Other simpler and cheaper guns included the Match-lock, Miquelet-lock and the Snaphaunce-lock.

The match-lock, like the name implies, used a slow burning rope, or punk, to ignite the priming powder whereas the Miquelet and Snaphaunce were somewhat cumbersome predecessors of the flintlock type ignition system that was developed after the sailing of the Mayflower.

Get a glimpse of Alden's gun straight from the National Firearms Museum.

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1 Response to Guns of the Pilgrims

Bill Okama wrote:
December 05, 2012

Very interesting stuff. Shame that after all of this wonderful history, the USA has become a Marxist government run by an illegal alien Kenyan dictator.