Guns for the Pope’s Police: Mazzocchi Pinfire Revolver

The revolver we are looking at today is a 9mm pinfire revolver adopted for the Papal Gendarmerie in 1868. At that time, the Papal States controlled roughly the same amount of territory as Switzerland today, and had its own armed forced for internal security – the Papal Gendarmerie. The Papal States had previously adopted a 12mm Lefaucheux revolver for its army, but this was deemed too bulky for the Gendarmes. So in 1867, they went looking for a smaller new pistol. The Mazzocchi brothers in Rome had been official armorers to the Vatican for three generations (their shop was actually located in Castel St Angelo until 1850!), and they won the contract for the Gendarmerie with this revolver model. A total of 2500 were made in 1868 and 1869, at 50 Papal Lira each.


  1. Armaments, chapter two
    Verses nine to twenty-one
    And Saint Attila raised the hand
    Grenade up on high, saying
    “O Lord, bless this Thy hand
    Grenade that, with it
    Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to
    Tiny bit’s in Thy mercy”
    And the Lord did grin
    And the people did feast upon the lambs
    And sloths and carp and anchovies
    And orangutans and breakfast
    Cereals and fruit bats and large chu –
    “Skip a bit, Brother.”
    And the Lord spake, saying…

  2. On a practical note: pretty hard for me to tell if those cylinder stop teeth were inletted and pressed in or what. Had to be for that era but I don’t see much of a seam in the clip @ 9.25″
    Just curious if anyone knows how that bit was done

    • From the looks of it, the cylinder was cast, and those stops were part of the casting.

      Keep in mind that at that time, with black-powder ammunition, what we would regard as far too weak for safety (such as cast steel or even cast iron) was perfectly adequate for dealing with the relatively low pressures involved.

      clear ether


  3. The Papal lira was pegged to the Italian lira. Roughly equivalent to a shilling, mark, franc, or 20 U. S. cents. A hundred lira would have bought about an ounce of gold or kept a family for a month or two in poverty but not destitution.

  4. I have Bittner pistol 1893. I need any ammo and a clip.Will buy any parts for this gun or a parts gun. Thanks

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