One of the more interesting, but less valuable Martinis available for sale today are "Khyber Pass Martinis". Since the beginning of our country's war on Islamofacism, I've been receiving a steadily increasing amount of emails from GIs stationed in Afghanistan who are purchasing these rifles at bazaars, then seeking more information about them. The goal of this page is to educate potential shoppers about these poor quality, and potentially unsafe rifles, that are often represented by unscrupulous sellers as the "Real McCoy".

About the Khyber-Pass

The Khyber Pass is a 33 mile route through the Hindu Kush mountain range. It connects the northern frontier of Pakistan with Afghanistan. There has been a teeming arms industry in this part of the world for many decades. The local craftsmen there are well known for making "knock-off", or reproduction firearms (including AK-47's, grenades, landmines and RPGs nowadays as I understand). Martinis were one of the most prolifically copied weapons, and the Khyber Pass region is filled with these weapons to this day.


One of the humorous oddities of Khyber Pass Martinis is that the makers even tried to copy the stampings and markings from their original source Martini. Backwards letters and misspellings of the markings are common. The majority of Khyber Pass Martinis I've seen have typos that are very similar. One of the most common is to have the "N" in "Enfield" backwards...likely because one "Master Copy" of an original Martini was made, then passed around for others to makes copies from. The erroneous marking was then faithfully copied from one weapon to the next. Another suspicion, is that somebody not familiar with the English alphabet could easily glance at the letter "N", and simply copy the slant backwards from poor recollection.

What are they worth?

To be blunt, not much. While these weapons were built to be functional, the methods employed in their construction were slipshod, haphazard, and not even up to 19th century standards. British-Made Martini-Henrys were made in precision factories, by forging, milling and machining. A tremendous amount of precision, quality control and labor went into ensuring quality and functionality. In stark contrast, Khyber Pass Martinis were made by hand in primitive blacksmith forges, with chickens and goats running around. Parts are generally not interchangeable, and the metallurgy is questionable. Thus, the difference in quality is generally evident by a cursory inspection of the rifle. Quality and condition play a huge part in determining the condition of the rifle. As a result, most Khyber Pass Martinis are worth about $200. This value can go up or down by about $100, depending on condition/appearance. These rifles, in my opinion, are only good as wallhangers or conversation pieces.

How to spot a Khyber-Pass Martini

Picture this scenario...two Martinis are being offered for sale. One is a Khyber Pass-Martini worth $150, the other is a British-Made Martini-Henry worth $800. Which would you prefer? Can you tell which is which? The primary means of being able to spot the Khyber-Pass Martini lies in scrutinizing, analyzing and recognizing the commonly seen anomalies and characteristics unique to Khyber Pass Martinis. There are four main areas we will discuss that will allow you to spot a Khyber Pass Martini...

1) Markings
2) Fit and Finish of the Parts
3) Configuration of the Weapon
4) Lack of Bluing or Other Finish

1) Markings

Let's begin by having a look at the picture below, and picking apart the markings...

The first thing that should grab your attention is the comical overall appearance of the markings on this weapon. They're just not as uniform as they should be, they just don't appear to be up to the standards one would expect to see on a British Military Martini. Compare them to the markings seen on the Sovereign Cyphers of other Martinis featured on this website, and you'll notice what I mean. Let's talk about some of the specifics...

  • Font - You'll notice some of the letters here have serifs, some do not. This is a major inconsistency seen on Khyber Pass Martinis. Also, the spacing between letters is erratic, some words are crooked, and the letters aren't stricken into the metal with a uniform depth.
  • 1919 Date - Here's the biggest red flag. It's almost unheard of to see a genuine Martini-Henry with a 20th century date of manufacture. A SCANT FEW were made up to 1901, and bore the King's Crown of Victoria's son, King Edward VII.
  • Queen's Cypher - Queen Victoria died in January of 1901, and her cypher WOULD NOT APPEAR on property belonging to the crown made AFTER the date of her death. You'll notice that the queen's crown looks as if it was done by a kindergarten student. The crown is the wrong shape, it is vertically elongated, the markings are not of a uniform strike depth, and it is crooked.
  • ENFIEL D - Notice how the "D" in "Enfield" is spaced way off to the right? You'll never see such glaring sloppiness on a British-Made Martini-Henry. NEVER.
  • ESFIED - What the heck is this? No doubt, an attempt at scratching out the name "Enfield".
  • S X S - I believe this is an attempt at the "Strengthened Striker" marking. Too bad they got it wrong. It's supposed to be "S.X" It's also in the wrong place. It should be on top of the action body, in front of the breech.
  • Lock Viewer's Mark - Besides the grossly misshapen and unproportional marking, a lock viewer's mark should not even be present on weapons made after 1897.
  • 5622 - This almost looks legitimate, because it's the only somewhat straight marking on the weapon! This is probably a serial number. Too bad it's in the wrong place. Sometimes, .303 conversions will have new serial numbers applied to the side of the action body.
  • Inspector's View Mark - You generally don't see IVM's on this side of the action body, when you do, it is never in this location. So, the Crown with number 90, the letters E and S, and an arrow just does not belong here.

2) Fit and Finish

As stated above, British-Made Martini-Henrys were made in precision factories, by forging, milling and machining. Khyber Pass Martinis were made by hand in primitive blacksmith forges, with chickens and goats running around. As a result, Khyber Pass Martinis will have bumpy, wavy metal, while the British Martinis are smooth and straight. This is often most evident by looking at the trigger and trigger guard. The thin metal in this area of the weapon was difficult to shape by hand, and is often crudely formed. The comparison below is a perfect example of this. On top, the trigger and trigger guard of a British Military Martini. On the bottom, one from a Khyber Pass Martini. Notice, that the Khyber Pass trigger guard is not only bumpy, wavy, misshapen and crooked, but you'll notice the size, shape and thickness of the parts varies also...

British Made
Khyber Pass Made


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Last Modified: 10/24/05