The arms supplied to the Police during the first few years of the Colony were an assortment of military percussion-fired weapons, with some flintlocks. By 1845 all arms were percussion-fired, in pistols the English Tower pattern of 1842 being predominant. At outstations and when patrolling in the country, each man was required to have five rounds of ball cartridges in his possession. The Mounted Police carried a carbine, and sometimes a holster pistol. Arms of the mid - 1800’s were mainly the models and patterns being carried by the military of the day.
In the early 1850’s, upon the advent of the percussion revolver, the Force was re-armed with an assortment of pistols, mainly Adams and Colt makes. The long-arm was the Tower musket, in carbine and 3-band versions.
In the late 1860’s, with the advent of breech-loading, the Police were issued with Snider conversions in both rifle and carbine lengths; and with new hand-guns believed to be John Adams cartridge service revolver, 1867 Mk II, in .476/.455 calibres.
In the early 1880’s, Superintendent (later Commissioner) Peterswald was responsible for initiating the re-arming of the Force with more modern weapons. In early 1881 the Foot Police were issued with 200 of the new Martini-Henry rifles in .455/.577 calibre. These were issued with a long-pattern bayonet, as used by the Volunteer Militia Forces. Peterswald also recommended that the Mounted Police be issued with the large New Model No. 3 Smith and Wesson revolver in .44 Russian calibre. These pistols were supplied with a detachable shoulder stock and could be used as a pistol or carbine as the occasion demanded. The 250 new pistols, termed ‘revolver carbines’ were issued in May 1882. Supplies arrived from the U.S.A. and with each pistol was a bullet mould and reloading tools, as each man was expected to reload his own ammunition.
This heavy pistol was superseded in about 1912 by the lighter Webly and Scott semi-automatic pistol in both .32 and .38 calibres. During the 1930’s an assortment of other makes and calibres were issued in addition to the Webly and Scott pistols. In the early 1950’s these were all replaced by the 9 mm F.N. (Browning’s Patent) semi-automatic pistols. Then, general duties police officers were issued with the Smith and Wesson .357 revolver. Today they are issued with the .40 calibre Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol.
For over a century, the Mounted Police have been issued with the 1853 Pattern (Cavalry Troopers) sword. Essential as a weapon of last resort in the days of muzzle-loading single-shot firearms, the advent of repeating firearms diminished its usefulness and for most of this Century it had been carried for ceremonial purposes only. Though never used for practical or ceremonial purposes, the 1908 Pattern (Cavalry Troopers) sword is used for tent pegging competitions. Since just before World War 1, the Mounted Police have carried lances for ceremonial purposes.
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