Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

Aston Model 1842

Single-Shot Percussion Pistol [ 1842 ]

The Civl War-era Aston Model 1842 percussion piston was an Army variant of the same type featured with the U.S. Navy at the time.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/26/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Aston Model 1842 single-shot percussion-based pistol was a further evolution of the earlier Aston Model 1836 flintlock. The original sidearm was completed in the typical flintlock action of the period, complete with hinged hammer, frizzen and pan, and frizzen spring arrangement designed to actuated the firing of a single lead ball from the barrel. The guns had a walnut stock secured with iron fittings and the stock formed an elegantly shaped curve acting as the grip. The action was set to the left side of the gun body. A hinged ramrod was conveniently set under the barrel.

As with other firearms of the time, the Model 1836 pistols became good candidates for modernization to the percussion system of operation in which the falling hammer actuated an ignition cap, in turn igniting powder at the breech of the weapon, the resulting forces driving the bullet out of the barrel (the action was akin to a child's toy cap gun). This method of firearms operation proved vastly more reliable than the old flintlock system which was influenced by environmental factors - percussion guns could now fire in rainy weather.

By 1842, the Aston pistols, in accordance with War Department standardization, had given up their hammer, pan-and-frizzen flintlock schemes for the more reliable percussion cap design. Brass hardware also now took the place of the original iron fittings holding the walnut stock together. The initial U.S. government contract undertaken by H. Aston covered 24,000 units from 1846 until 1851 while a further 6,000 units arrived thereafter (into 1852) under the revised H. Aston & Company name. Following this, the gun and its associated tooling was sold off to Ira N. Johnson after which another 10,000 units emerged from 1853 to 1855.

The guns were typically issued to horse-mounted infantry known as "Dragoons" - a term taken from British cavalry regiments - who could appreciate the compact form of the pistols in close-quarters combat (whether as mounted troops or unmounted foot soldiers) - the single-shot nature of the pistol proving devastatingly effective alongside the sabre at such ranges and all this behind the power of a charging horse. Dragoon elements would carry two of the guns ready-to-fire at the saddle.

Aston Model 1842 pistols were in circulation by the time of the fighting of the American Civil War (1861-1865) and some may have found their way outside of the military in the hands of private owners or militia elements.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States


Single-Shot Percussion Pistol

H. Aston (Henry Aston) / H. Aston & Company / Ira N. Johnson - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.


Percussion Cap

Percussion Cap
Utilizes the percussion cap system of operation to actuate ignition of propellant; much like a child's cap gun, small explosive caps are set upon nipples and these are actuated by a falling hammer previously cocked.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Rounds / Feed

Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.

Model 1842 (Army) - Base Series Designation.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-