Truth is, duels were genuinely serious business and at one stage during the Napolenic War it was said that more British Officers were killed in duels amongst themselves than actually by the French! Such was the seriousness of the situation that duels were banned by Wellington himself who later became one of the chief proponents in the outlawing of the practice in Britain. Duelling in Britain finally came to an end in the mid 1800's.
To anyone who has ever handled a duelling pistol it cannot go without notice how beautifully balanced and well made the pistols are. They can often at first appear heavy and slightly unbalanced in the hand but as you draw them up and line the sights up you really appreciate just how well balanced and steady they become. You would certainly not want to be on the receiving end!
Importantly with duelling pistols they had to be identical in every way so that no one duellist had an advantage. As such they are some of the finest quality firearms built by British makers of the flintlock and percussion era. Most British made pistols were built as smooth bores in calibres from .40 to .65, but for the more cunning barrels might be part rifled or 'scratch' rifled to aid accuracy.