Light Dragoon Weapons

Light Cavalry Side Arms

These are the side arms we carry in the troop. The basic requirement is the sabre and sword knot, firearms are are secondary weapons.

Sabre: 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre

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Designed by John Gaspard Le Marchant, this is generally thought to be the finest slashing sword ever designed. It is said that this vicious design prompted unofficial complaints from French Officers, but this is unconfirmed. The mounted swordsmanship training of the British emphasised the cut, at the face for maiming or killing, at the arms to disable. This left masses of mutilated or disabled troops; the French, in contrast, favoured the thrust which gave cleaner kills. The sword was, however, capable of killing outright as was recorded by George Farmer of the 11th Light Dragoons, when involved in a skirmish on the Guadiana River, during the Peninsular War, in 1811:

"Just then a French officer stooping over the body of one of his countrymen, who dropped the instant on his horse's neck, delivered a thrust at poor Harry Wilson's body; and delivered it effectually. I firmly believe that Wilson died on the instant yet, though he felt the sword in its progress, he, with characteristic self-command, kept his eye on the enemy in his front; and, raising himself in his stirrups, let fall upon the Frenchman's head such a blow, that brass and skull parted before it, and the man's head was cloven asunder to the chin. It was the most tremendous blow I ever beheld struck; and both he who gave, and his opponent who received it, dropped dead together. The brass helmet was afterwards examined by order of a French officer, who, as well as myself, was astonished at the exploit; and the cut was found to be as clean as if the sword had gone through a turnip, not so much as a dint being left on either side of it.

Sword Knot: White buff leather

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Pistols: Elliot pattern light dragoon pistols

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One of the conclusions from battle experiences during the Seven Years War was the necessity of a pattern of pistol specifically for the Light Dragoon Regiments of the British Army. Introduced in the 1760s, the Light Dragoon pistol graced of holsters of the dragoons of the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons along with American mounted units loyal to the crown. After the American Revolution, this pistol continued to be used by Light Dragoons into the Napoleonic Wars. It was slowly fazed out as the introduction of the New Land Pattern took hold.


For shotgun licence holders, the Elliot pattern carbine,

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The Elliot Carbine was introduced by Colonel George Augustus Elliot in 1760 for the newly created Light Dragoon regiments.

Originally with a 36" barrel and a wooden ramrod, by the Napoleonic period the carbine was shortened to a 28" barrel and had a metal ramrod. The ramrod had a habit of falling out, so during the opening stages of the Peninsular War they started to phase the gun out.

For FAC holders the Paget Carbine

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From late 1808 the Paget Carbine was starting to be issued to the Light Cavalry. It was named after General Henry Paget who may have been involved with its design. It had a 16" barrel and a swivel ramrod to prevent it being lost when loading on horseback.

Carbines were not especially effective, and probably the lack of importance placed on skirmishing and 'outpost' duty inhibited attempts to design better ones. Jonathan Leach of the 95th remarked that the

"little pop-gun of a carbine' was so inferior to that of the French that the enemy often dismounted 'and shot at our dragoons at a distance which rendered our short carbines almost useless"

Where to buy...

Carbines and pistols are available from:
Albion Small Arms:
Derbyshire Arms:

Sabres are available from
Jeremy Tenniswood:
Roy King: (not shown on website, but he does do them)
Sutlers Store:

Sword knots are available from
Cavalry Workshop: