Monday, February 23, 2015

Early Concealed Carry Before Permits (photo)

Many have speculated on the reason for the hand inside the coat pose of officers during Civil War photographs.   Perhaps it was to render access to a concealed weapon.  These, after all, were military officers.

Is that the bulge of a Smith & Wesson #1 under his left arm?  It is about the right size.   The number one was one of the first easily concealable cartridge pistols.  It was first produced in 1857 and was in great demand by officers in the Civil War.

As a .22 short, we might not think of it as having much stopping power.  But considering the extreme reliability and convenience of the cartridge compared to the percussion arms of the era, seven quick shots would have been very attractive. 

Many speculations have been made about the classic hand in the jacket pose.  Some speculate that it was meant to mimic Napoleon.  Others proclaim that it kept the hand still, or that the man was keeping his hand on his wallet.   Those seem unlikely, given that the pose has been said to be popular with Romans and their tunics.   Considering what happened to Ceasar, a Roman tunic would be a handy place to hide a dagger.

So here is another speculation as to why Civil War soldiers are often seen with their hand in their jacket.   They were keeping it close to a concealed weapon.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.Link to Gun Watch


Wireless.Phil said...

So, Napoleon too?
That was explained for his reson, but I don't remember it.

Wireless.Phil said...


Why is Napoleon depicted with his hand in his coat?

By Tom Holmberg

Many theories have been presented as to why Napoleon is traditionally depicted with his hand in his waistcoat. Some of these theories include: that he had a stomach ulcer, he was winding his watch, he had an itchy skin disease, that in his era it was impolite to put your hands in your pockets, he had breast cancer, he had a deformed hand, he kept a perfumed sachet in his vest that he'd sniff surreptitiously, and that painters don't like to paint hands. A simpler and more elegant theory is contained in an article entitled, "Re-Dressing Classical Statuary: The Eighteenth-Century 'Hand-in-Waistcoat' Portrait." by Arline Meyer. Art Bulletin (College Art Association of America), Vol. 77, No.2, March 1995, p.45-64. Meyer points out that the 'hand-in' portrait type appeared with "relentless frequency" during the eighteenth century and became almost a cliched pose in portrait painting. The pose was used so often by portraitists that one was even accused of not knowing how to paint hands. "In real life," Meyer observes, "the 'hand-held-in' was a common stance for men of breeding."