When the French Army adopted the Mle 1892 revolver, it was a huge improvement over the previous standard from 1873. The new sidearm has a swing-out cylinder, simultaneous ejection, was lighter, and used a high-tech new small bore smokeless powder cartridge. With Army adoption came a tremendous interest for the civilian sector. Civilians heading off to live in the French colonies in Africa and Indochina, military officers and reservists, police agencies, and private security firms were all hot to get the fancy new weapon – rather like the civilian interest in the US Army’s new M17/SIG 320 handgun.
Civilian manufacture and sale began almost immediately, and in total about 88,000 civilian versions of the Mle 1892 were made (alongside 366,000 military ones). Copies were made in Spain and Belgium as well as within France itself. This example was proofed at the St Etienne proof house and sold by Manufrance – although it may well have been assembled from Belgian-made parts to reduce cost.