Firing a musket can be a real thrill and lots of them firing together is one of the most crowd pleasing aspects of a battle. But firing a musket on the battlefield requires special equipment and training.

A musket was an early kind of gun which used a burning piece of rope or sparks from a flint to ignite gunpowder, firing a round lead musketball.

They took a long time to load and were often inaccurate, so large blocks of musketeers would all fire together. They could then turn their guns around anduse the butt to club their enemies.

Re-enactment muskets do not fire musketballs, but the gunpowder they use is very real.

Frequently asked questions

So do I have to buy my own gun?

Not straight away. All new musketeers spend their first season as 'dummy' musketeers, taking part in battles but not firing.

Think that doesn’t sound exciting? Think again - you’ll still be going into hand-to-hand combat with everyone else!

It looks a bit dangerous

By training our musketeers well it ensures that they know how to handle gunpowder with respect and that injuries are rare.

What kit will I need?

On top of your normal kit of jacket, breeches and hose, you will need:

  • thick gloves
  • a sturdy pair of boots
  • a ‘dummy’ musket
  • powder flask or 'bandolier', water bottle (which should be bought in your first season)

For your musket test, you need to obtain a shotgun license, which costs around £50 and is valid for five years. A musket can be bought new or second hand, although the regiment has a few guns which can be leased. Second hand guns usually cost about £150.

Basic kit can be lent to you by the regiment for your first few musters.

So What Does a Musketeer Do

Our musket block has won the army's 'best musket block' competition for the last six years running! The block prides itself on helping people through the training to make sure they can be both proficient and safe when they take to the field as a live-firing musketeer.

In order to fire a musket in battle, a musketeer must train for and pass the society's official musket test. Wherever possible, new musketeers are given the chance to practice firing a musket and to prepare for the test. The regiment has many experienced musketeers, all of whom are willing to help.

All our new musketeers spend their first season as 'dummy' musketeers, where they learn the ropes by being in the musket block during a battle but using a non-firing replica. This mean they can learn from musketeers around them, building up their skills and awareness, but still get to experience battles firsthand. This also gives each musketeer time to acquire all necessary equipment and licences.

Although more involved than some of the other roles in the regiment, all that training is worth it when you let off your first volley!

Though not as physical as pike, a musketeer must fight in a number of ways and as well as firing their guns, they also engage in hand-to-hand fighting with swords and clubbed muskets. Sword tests can be taken once the primary arm, the musket, has been mastered.

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Commander of Musket

Dave Frederick

Dave Frederick:

"Ours is one of the friendliest, best trained and turned out musket blocks in the Army of Parliament, if not, the Society and it gives me a great sense of pride to march out with them."

"On the battlefield, they are equally at home firing deafeningly crisp volleys as they are charging, swords drawn, headlong into hand-to-hand combat. Such is the regard in which they are held, they can usually be found at the head of the army or as close to the crowd line as safety permits!"

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