Beautiful Perrin Revolving Carbine

The Perrin was an 1859 revolver design originating in France, which was initially an open-frame, double-action-only system. It went through some significant improvements in 1865, including a single action mechanism and a fully enclosed frame for greater strength. The Perrin used a quite modern centerfire cartridge, albeit with a very thick rim (as one can see in the chambers of this example). In 1865, a carbine version of the Perrin was also introduced. It was proposed to the French Army as a military arm, on the basis of offering six shots to the one of the new 1866 Chassepot – but it was (not surprisingly) rejected. A few were sold to French officers individually, though.


  1. Reference personal weapons purchases by officers. I was taught that if an officer has to fire his weapon, he has effed up big time. His job is to command his troops and direct their actions, not to pop off at the enemy. An officer with a radio set to maneuver his troops and call in mortars, artillery, attack aviation and close air support is a lot more deadly than one more guy with a rifle.

      • True, no radio then. But commanding his troops instead of shooting by himself was an officer’s job back then too. He used flag and hand signals, shouting, messengers, pointing wiht his sword etc. instead of a radio set. But he point still stands, that an officer fights with his troops not his own weapons. Of course a cavalry breakthrough can always happen so he should be able to defend himself. Or the other way around a cavalry officer can find himself in the thick of it, because of the nature of cavalry actions.

        • Very true, most Officers weapons were for decoration and self Defence. I can’t imagine why an officer of that period would choose a carbine. It’s amazing how much more advanced this revolving cylinder carbine was compared to Samuel Colt’s many years later.

          • Actually, the Colt revolving longarms predated this one by quite a few years. The Ring Lever Rifle was in fact the very first commercial arm Colt manufactured, and was made from 1837 to 1841;


            And the later Colt New Model Revolving rifles, military muskets, and shotguns wee manufactured from 1855 to 1864;


            The difference is that the Colts were percussion weapons, and there is still a debate about whether or not they were as dangerous to the user as reputed, due to multiple discharges that could remove the off hand if it were place normally on the forearm. The Perrin, being a metallic cartridge arm, would not have had this problem.



      • Of course there was radio in 1859. Just nobody knew they were transmitting and receiving over those long wire antennas called unshielded telegraph lines.

        • True. 😀

          For higher level command of course useful, but telegraph lines are not so quick to move to a new battelfield. Of course if a battle took longer, they started laying telegraph lines. I think there were a few battels with dug in troopsin the US civila war. And then later in WW1 of course they layed telgraph and telephone wires all over the place.

    • Yeah those weren’t invented until 1937. Those said radios didn’t exist when this rifle was created.

    • Murphy’s Law and Shit Happen. A lot of officers these days carry some type of longarm. You can STILL command and be ready to shoot back when necessary.

    • Of course, French officers in 1959 should have been calling in air support on their field radios. The fools.

  2. Case in point from the US Civil War: General “Jeb” Stuart and his staff got off their horses at a rail fence so that Stuart could plink at some live targets, unhorsed Michigan cavalrymen, with his new LeMat revolver. One of the Union troopers was a veteran of Berdan’s sharpshooters who shot back and either by luck or great accuracy mortally wounded Stuart (per Shelby Foote in his history of the Civil War). I suppose a case could be made for this weapon as a sort of PDW, you never know when some Prussian cavalry will break through and attack your headquarters.

    • “As the 48-year-old Huff, a crack shot, passed on foot to the rear, he spotted J.E.B. Stuart calmly sitting on a big gray charger firing his nine-shot LeMat revolver at the retreating enemy. Almost as an afterthought, at about 50 yards, Huff fired his own .44-caliber pistol at the mounted Confederate officer, striking him in the abdomen. It was almost too easy.”

      “Huff’s bullet struck Stuart in the left side. It then sliced through his stomach and exited his back, one inch to the right of his spine.”

  3. “(…)Perrin used a quite modern centerfire cartridge, albeit with a very thick rim(…)”
    You can see photos of Perrin cartridges here
    caliber 9mm developed around 1865 made until around outbreak of 1st World War
    caliber 12mm produced until around 1910
    note untypical for modern center-fire cartridge flush base claims that Perrin Mle. 1865 revolving style carbine did used different cartridge than revolver and there existed version chambered for the standard French 11mm Mle. 1873

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.