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Gibbs Carbine

Breech-Loaded Rifled Percussion Carbine [ 1863 ]

Only 1,052 Gibbs Carbines were received for action in the American Civil War from the government order of 10,000 in 1863.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/01/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The American Civil War gave rise to all manner of small arms and there proved no shortage of engineers to satisfy the battlefield needs of both sides. One entry into the long line of cavalry trooper-centric arms was the "Gibbs Carbine", a relatively compact breech-loader firing from the percussion cap method. The carbine was produced in limited numbers despite a Union order for thousands of the type. Its shortened barrel length allowed the weapon to be wielded by a horse-mounted infantryman and could be just as easily used in the traditional rifle manner on the ground.

Born from a patent by L.H. Gibbs granted on January 8th, 1856, the gun was of the typical rifle/carbine arrangement of the period involving metal components inlaid to a wooden frame. The barrel measured 22 inches long and protruded a distance away from the forend through a single barrel band. A sighting device was affixed near the muzzle. The action resided at the aft-end of the frame with the elegantly curved, hinged hammer clearly identifiable along the right side of the body. The hammer, once cocked, fell onto the awaiting nipple to which a percussion cap was affixed prior to firing. Loading of the weapon was through the exposed breech once the action was broken (the barrel assembly sliding forward). The trigger unit sat within a slim ring guard under the frame in the usual way, the thinner section of wooden stock (near the shoulder) acting as the grip handled. A sling ring was added to a sliding bar along the left side of the body.

In terms of Civil War carbines, the Gibbs Carbine became a rare addition to the battlefield - mainly due to circumstances beyond the control of its creators/manufacturers. While the U.S. government placed an order for 10,000 of the type, just 1,052 are known to have emerged from the Phoenix Armory factory which fell victim to a fire during the Draft Riots in New York in July 1863 - this after initial deliveries had already commenced that May. The factory itself was under ownership/operation by one W.F.Brooks and partner W.W. Marsden and, as such, early production forms were noted by their "W.F. Brooks/Manfd. New York" stampings at the lock assembly while later model examples were identified by their "L.H. Gibbs/Patd Jany 8, 1856" stampings. The fire did much to curtail the ultimate reach of this useful firearm in the course of the war.

Known operators of the Gibbs in-the-field were the 10th Missouri Cavalry (426 carbines taken into service by September, 1863) and the 13th and 16th New York Cavalry units of the Union Army.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

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United States


Breech-Loaded Rifled Percussion Carbine

Phoenix Armory (L.H. Gibbs) - USA
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)

Compact nature allows for relatively easy concealment.
Supports 'iron sights' allowing for inherent accuracy in ranged fire.

Barrel Length
559 mm
22.01 in
Empty Wgt
1,847.91 lb
838.20 kg

Iron Front and Rear.


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.

Gibbs Carbine - Base Series Name.

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