Mel Gibson stars as Benjamin Martin, a farmer from South Carolina who fought in the French and Indian War. He doesn’t want to get involved in the Revolutionary War that’s begun in his homeland, but has very good reasons to. As a result of tragedy that happens with his son, he finds himself leading the colonial militia. Martin takes part in one of the most important battles in the Revolutionary War. But one of the best parts of the movie is all of the military surplus!
Kentucky Rifle - The first rifled-barrel firearm made in the U.S. is the Kentucky (or Pennsylvania) Rifle. This gun was much more accurate than smoothbore muskets because the bullet would spin in the barrel. This was used extensively in the Revolutionary War, and even up until the War of 1812. The Kentucky Rifle is .50 caliber, but it was known to use .36 and .45 also. Average range for the firearm was about 100 yards.
Martin and his sons all use Kentucky Rifles when they try to rescue Martin’s oldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) from the British. This gun got the job done for Martin, and it obviously was a worthwhile gun to have for any colonialist in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Charleville Musket – As the name suggests, this is not a rifle, and it has French origins. It used a .69 caliber musket ball, and its effective range was only about 50 yards. The rifle first came around in 1717, so by the time it shows up in The Patriot, many modifications had been made.
Gabriel Martin is seen using the Charleville Musket multiple times.
Flintlock Pistol – This firearm originated in the 1600s but saw widespread use until the 1800s. A simplified explanation of how this weapon works is that a flint piece strikes metal to cause a spark which ignites gunpowder, therefore firing the bullet. The mechanism used in the flintlock pistol was also used for muskets, and later, rifles.
This weapon is used by many leading characters in The Patriot, including Benjamin Martin in the final battle scene (where he uses bullets made from his son’s toy soldiers) and Colonel Tavington.
This list of movie weapons used in The Patriot is not exhaustive, but you’ll just have to go watch it yourself to see all the others. Check it out!
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.