“Le Formidable” Pre-WW1 Pocket Revolver at the BUG Match

“The Formidable” was the name given to one of many different civilian pocket-carry revolvers made by the French Manufrance firm in St Etienne. This particular model was introduced in 1895, although it went through a significant redesign in 1902. The example I have here is the later pattern, which was sold until 1916 (when arms production completely shifted to military weapons). It is a 5-shot, swing-out cylinder double action revolver chambered for the 8mm French Ordnance (aka 8mm Lebel Revolver) cartridge. The double action trigger pull is very heavy at about 17 pounds, and the hammer is bobbed to prevent snagging in a pocket.


  1. If I identified it correctly in Alfa weapons catalog 1911 this weapon was also available chambered for Nagant revolver for same price, following variants are known to said catalog:
    – 5 shots Colt ejector, steel barrel, horn grip, black, 440 g, price 31.00
    – same as above but case hardened, marbled, blued cylinder, price 31.50
    For comparison 7-shot Nagant service model price was 30.00

  2. Horrid grips, hammer, capacity, sights and trigger pull but some plates went down and the gun in your hand is better than the gun you left at home!

  3. A completely fun gun for casual plinking similar to the S&W Chiefs Special in .38 Special which also has only five rounds, but a significantly lighter trigger pull and more visible sights.

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