Video: French Military Centerfire Revolvers

Today we’re look at the two main French military centerfire revolvers – the model 1873 and model 1892. These both served for many decades with French troop around the world, and they’re interesting designs. I may have been dubious at first, but I have to say that aside form the weak cartridge I wouldn’t object carry either one compared to any of their contemporaries.

We would like to thank Greg at Allegheny Arsenal for providing the model 1873 for this video. You can see Allegheny’s web site over on the sidebar, at – they have some great parts and accessories for older machine guns.


French Model 1873 revolver in 11mm with an assortment of ammunition
French Model 1873 revolver in 11mm with an assortment of ammunition


French Model 1892 revolver in 8mm with an assortment of ammunition
French Model 1892 revolver in 8mm with an assortment of ammunition


  1. What is the third from left 11mm cartridge? Seems like it’s rimless and it looks like a gauge rather than a cartridge.
    How is the far left 11mm cartridge being loaded into the cylinder (I guess it’s significantly longer)?

  2. The third from the left. is that a small shotgun shell? 🙂 more info on this one please! 🙂

  3. The 1873 is also an iconic movie weapon (for me at least) since Brendan Fraser prominently used two of them (bored and restricted to .45 blank) in ‘The Mummy’ (1998).

  4. Question. Is there a configuration of this pistol out there that can shoot our modern amo like 38 special. I think it’s a very cool piece of history. Thanks

  5. I have a Model 1873 French revolver. Where can I get
    11mm ammo for my revolver. Thanks for your reply in

  6. I recently got an 1892 revolver, 8mm, I think, that was taken off a German soldier by my father-in-law during WW2. He got it in 1945 and it shows a manufacture date on the barrel of 1894. It is in remarkable condition and will stay in my family as a part of our history. Pretty cool.

  7. Concerning the Markings in every piece of the Gun, it is a consequence of the Paris Commune of 1871 (
    In fact, there was clandestine weapon manufactures during the Commune. It was mostly urban Guerilla, and took place into narrow streets, so the use of heavy weapons by regular troops was very difficult, so the fight was. And at this point, citizens owned weapons freely.
    As a consequence, after these events, France adopted restrictive laws about weapon and a new classification… and it lasted more than one century.
    (I.E. 9mm is 1st category/most dangerous weapons, and .357 magnum, and 12 gauge are 4th category/moderate threat – An ammunition is classified as a first category if adopted by any existing army).
    Another example, you have to be listed in a shooting range and ask authorities (who investigates on you) permission to buy a pump action shotgun (for example a Remington 870), but if the barrel is riffled, is considered as a “carabine de salon”, like a .22lr rifle…
    And in order to buy a “Carabine de salon”, no permit required, you’re just required to be at least 18, and that’s it.
    This classification is now obsolete and has been replaced… this year, and it’s only because Europe strongly required harmonization.
    There was no politician to reform these useless laws because it would have been political suicide.
    But after the Paris Commune, politicians were paranoid aboput rebellions, so they made sure that every single weapon produced in France would be traceable.
    Nowadays, there’s about 2.1 millions of weapons, for 66 milions of inhabitants.
    Most of the weapons are hunting weapons.

    My opinion about all of these:

    The French revolution is always described as the people revolution, but this is crap (As many lies in history). The revolution was ignited by The french bourgeoisie.
    At these times, Nobles had the power, but no mmoney, and the Bourgeois had money but no power, and were well educated.
    The revolution was the rise of another arbitrary power. (It is very similar to the American revolution UK=Nobles and American Bourgeoisie = French Bourgeoisie)
    So long story short, it was also at these times that Nation -States arised, and at these times, leaders stuck the stupid idea in our head that war, was no longer a quest for profit led by Rich guys (Nobles and Lords).
    Now you die for a brand new thing! And be proud! The Prouder you are, the more you desire to die for your country!
    My country is the land I live, not an abstract idea that allows polititcians and shareholders to thrive.
    So why laws are so restrictive about weapons in France? Because politicians shit in their pants when there’s unarmed (without firearms) riots.
    I’m not so sure that, if there was riots like in Greece, and if citizens possessed weapons like in the USA, Police and Army would do anything to protect politicians. You see my point?
    Another example of my faith in mankind?
    Years ago, I saw articles about the ultimate lie detector. A team of scientists was maping human brain, and brain mechanisms. They discovered that, no matter what you think, you use specific and different areas when you lie, and when you tell the truth. It is physiological, so no cheating.
    I remember i was excited, it was the first step to the infaillible lie detector.. I was so naive.
    The laws are made by the same group of people whose interests are to be able to lie.
    Justice is not the same if you are rich/poor. It is the same thing in every country.
    You can’t choose who you want to represent people, it’s only a false and binary choice. You can choose between “rich guy number one” and “rich guy number two”.
    Mass medias make people stupid. Nobody really thinks by himself about country’s welfare.
    So, I could talk about mankind flaws for Hours, but my english is not that great.
    Next time you see politics, mute sound, and think about their own interest.
    What kind of guy I Am?
    (If I was from American)The kind of guy, If you ask him if he’s American, he answers “No, I’m from Kentucky”.

  8. I just purchase a 1892 Ordnance revolver dated 1897 and a 1874 (officers model) dated 1878 from difference people close to the same shape. I have noticed others also in excellent condition. Apparently the French were experts on keeping un-issued in beautiful condition a lot of ordnance revolvers… a lot of these pistols are darn near factory new. Of course I don’t know what they fought with…oh, yes, hundreds of thousands of Rubys.

  9. I have 14 rounds of professionally reloaded 11 mm pistol ammo. It is loaded with black powder. I would like $30 shipped for them

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