Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Pinfire Revolver

The pinfire revolver is a weapon developed in Europe in the early to mid 19th century.   As the name suggests, the weapon utilizes a brass cartridge using a protruding pin as a firing mechanism.   When loaded,  the firing pin extended  out of the top of the cylinder.  Upon squeezing the trigger, the hammer falls forward and down to strike the firing pin.  Pinfires were made in a variety of sizes and configurations.   Some appeared fit for military or police use,  others for use by 19th century thugs and petty thieves.

Pinfires were imported by both the North and the South during the U.S. Civil War, many being privately purchased by officers and enlisted alike.   However, the pinfire pictured above is a post Civil War example.  While manufactured after the Civil War, this pistol strongly resembles its earlier cousins.  It is an 8mm revolver with a 4 inch barrel and may be fired by double action (squeezing the trigger advances the clyinder, cocks the hammer and releases it) or single action (depressing the spur on the hammer with the thumb advances the cylinder and cocks the hammer, squeezing the trigger releases the hammer).  The cylinder is marked "The Guardian Model of 1878."   It has a lanyard ring which indicates  military or police use was intended.  However, this common pistol could have been used  by anyone.

This pistol is currently in my collection.