Colt directly developed their line of revolvers from their Single Action Army, better known as the Peacemaker. The Peacemaker was (is) a very durable and simple gun. Its main distinguishing characteristic is a closed frame, which encompasses and holds the revolver’s cylinder. Indeed, Colt’s first double action revolver, the New Model Double Action, better known as the Lightning in .38 caliber and the Thunderer in .41 caliber, was simply the Peacemaker’s frame and barrel mated to a revised "bird’s head" grip with a double action trigger mechanism. The main problem with this arrangement was the trigger mechanism's complexity was teamed with weak parts, making simple repair by gunsmiths nearly impossible.
U.S. Revolver, Caliber .38, M1889
This revolver was Colt’s first swing-out cylinder design. A spring-powered latch on the left side of the revolver’s frame retained the cylinder. The cylinders rotated in a counter-clockwise direction and, as wear occurred, tended to force the cylinder out of exact alignment with the barrel. In spite of this shortcoming, the U.S. Navy purchased 5000 M1889 revolvers between 1889 and 1890.
U.S. Revolver, Caliber .38, M1892
The Army liked the Model 1889, but wanted a small, separate bolt to hold the cylinder in firing position. The change was made and the Army purchased over 11,000 Model 1892s between 1892 and 1893. But the M1892 also suffered from the counter-clockwise cylinder rotation problems of the Model 1889.
U.S. Revolver, Caliber .38, M1894 (Army)
U.S. Revolver, Caliber .38, M1895 (Navy) (click here for more info.)
U.S. Revolver, Caliber .38, M1896
All these revolvers were externally indistinguishable from the
Model 1892. The main difference lies in the incorporation of a safety
developed by Frederick Felton into the lockwork. Felton’s innovation
the revolver from being fired while the cylinder was not fully closed
secured in the weapon’s frame. Many Model 1892s were modified by the
of Felton’s lock. The Model 1896 was virtually identical to the Model
and the Model 1895, save a few minor alterations. The Army and Navy
approximately 144,000 Model 1894s, 1895s and 1896s between 1894 and
|Total length:||11.5 inches (292 mm)|
|Weight, empty||2.07 pounds (.94 kg)|
|Caliber||.38 long Colt|
|Barrel length:||6 inches (152 mm)|
|Muzzle velocity||785 feet per second (239 meters per second)|
United States Revolver, Caliber .38, M1895 - Same except date of Adoption is 1895
United States Revolver, Caliber .38, M1896 - Same except date of Adoption is 1896