CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia is a beautiful state, full of rich wild-life and points in history acting as monuments that led to our secession. Many West Virginians know these symbols: the Red Cardinal, the Rhododendron bush, the Black Bear, but did you know West Virginia is one of nine states that have an official state firearm?
In March 2013, The state Senate adopted a resolution creating an official West Virginia State Firearm. The firearm chosen and officially named the state firearm was the Hall Flintlock Model 1819. The Hall M1819 was the first breech loaded rifle to be adopted by the United States Army in 1819. The rifle was chosen because it was easier and faster to reload than other rifles thanks to the block at the breech that could be lifted out and allow the operator to insert the powder and bullet designed by John H. Hall.
The production of the firearm operated out of the National Armory in Harper’s Ferry, overseen by John H. Hall. Hall was commissioned by the U.S. Army to supply 200 rifles. Due to Hall’s limited production he could only produce 50 firearms a year and was forced to down turn the commission. After Hall turned down the commission, he broke down his assembly process to improve it. He succeeded by creating interchangeable parts to be used in an assembly-line type arrangement, making the Hall Flintlock Model 1819 the first weapon to be entirely machine made.
The firearm’s significance to West Virginia is evident as the Hall M1819 was used throughout the end of the Civil War. It is also speculated that the rifle is the rifle picture in the West Virginia State Seal laying at the feet of the farmer and the miner.