Historic Weapons Requirements

NPS volunteers portray a 1775 minute company

Carrying Historic Black Powder Weapons in the Park

Only those individuals or units that are signed up as volunteers at Minute Man National Historical Park may carry historic black powder weapons in the park as part of their approved and scheduled volunteer activity, as outlined in their volunteer agreement form.

Before a weapon can be carried in the park it must pass an inspection by a certified NPS black powder safety officer. This must be done at the start of each day as you report for volunteer duty. This applies to firing as well as non-firing activities.

For more information, please email the park's Historic Weapons Program Coordinator. You may also read NPS Reference Manual 6: Policies Relating to Historic Weapons Demonstrations.

Acceptable Weapon Types

Only reproduction firearms may be used in firing demonstrations. The use of original firearms is prohibited. Reproduction small arms that will be allowed for this event are:
  • Early to mid-18th century flintlock muskets, fusils, or fowling pieces of English, French or Dutch design.
  • British Long Land Pattern
  • British Short Land Pattern
  • French Charleville
Unacceptable Weapon Types
  • Pistols
  • Blunderbusses
  • Rifles
  • Percussion-cap weapons
  • Belgian Bombs
  • Weapons equipped with a dog lock (unless it also has a functioning internal half-ccok).
Prohibited weapons may not be carried during the event, and must be secured in the owner’s vehicle.

Weapon Safety and the Public

To ensure the safety of participants and visitors, the following is expected of each and every participant:
  • All weapons will remain under physical control of its owner at all times or secured in a locked vehicle.
  • Visitors are not allowed to handle or touch a loaded weapon.
  • Visitors may touch an unloaded weapon so long as the owner maintains physical control of it.
  • Participants under the age of 16 may not handle weapons (firearms or edged weapons) or powder.
  • NEVER point your weapon (firearm or edged weapon) at anyone at anytime.

Small Arms Inspections

All small arms used in firing demonstrations will be inspected by the NPS just prior to a firing demonstration, and immediately after to ensure the weapon is clear. This will be done by first securing the weapon with the pan open. Then the ram rod will be dropped into the barrell. The inspector will listen for the tell-tale "ping" and will look to see if the ram rod is sticking out too far from the muzzle, indicating the weapon is loaded.

Weapons that pass the first morning inspection will be “tagged” by the NPS. Weapons must meet the following standards to pass inspection.
  1. The weapon must be clean, free of rust and fowling inside and out.
  2. secured flashguard and hammer stall
  3. no cracks or splits in the stock
  4. furniture and barrel fit securely to stock
  5. no missing stock pins or screws
  6. lock works smoothly
  7. half-cock position works properly
  8. flint is secured by leather or lead
  9. steel and spring are in good condition
  10. barrel free from visible dents or cracks
  11. no excessive rust or corrosion on the barrel, lock and touch hole
Weapons that fail inspection may not be fired or carried on the field.


Do not bring ammunition with you on site. The NPS will provide all ammuntion necessary for the event.

Firing/Tactical Demonstration Safety

The National Park Service does not permit battle reenactments or elements of simulated combat in areas administered by the NPS. Such activities are inconsistent with the memorial qualities of the historic battlefields under our care. Events like Battle Road are designed to demonstrate the tactics involved in the battle, as accurately as possible, but not recreate the battle itself. Please observe the following:

All firing demonstrations taking place on park property may only be done under the direct supervision of the NPS.
  • Opposed firing and casualty portrayals (elements of simulated combat) are not permitted.
  • Firing will commence or cease at the discretion of the NPS.
  • Ramrods may not be drawn on the field during firing or tactical demonstrations. Nothing but powder may be poured down the barrel - no paper or any other kind of wadding.
  • For protection from flash burns, all participants will wear natural fiber, long-sleeved outer garments or full uniforms as appropriate to their historical impression.
  • No soldier may carry a loaded weapon when crossing over stone walls. Officers, when leading their troops over or through the aforementioned obstacles, will either order a volley to empty weapons or have their troops dump charges and priming.

Edged Weapons

  • Edged weapons may be drawn in a safe and prudent manner, out of reach of visitors.
  • Visitors may not handle edged weapons.
  • At no time may participants engage in simulated combat with edged weapons or simulated edged weapons.
  • Unless otherwise specified, bayonets may not be fixed when loading and firing.

Alcohol Use

Any volunteer or staff member found or suspected of consuming alcohol before or during any weapons demonstration or during visitor hours will not be allowed to participate and will be asked to leave.

Last updated: April 4, 2023

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174 Liberty St.

Concord, MA 01742


978 369-6993

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