Belgian Nagant Revolvers

     Notes: At the turn of the 20th Century, the Belgian military adopted a number of the revolvers designed by the Nagant Brothers (their company being called E&L Nagant).  For many countries in Europe, Nagant revolvers were the handguns to have in the late 1880s to early 1910s, and their designs saw much use during World War 1 (and in some cases, as late as just after World War 2); the Russians are well-known for their use of the Nagant 1895 revolver, which was a status symbol for officers into the 1960s.  However, by World War 1, most Nagant revolvers used by the Belgian military were well-used (but still perfectly serviceable due to their quality), as by 1900, Emile Nagant had gone blind and retired from weapons manufacturing and Leon Nagant had died.  Their sons preferred to go into the automotive business, and did not continue the E&L Nagant firm, and by 1914, manufacture in Belgium had essentially stopped except for some small batches made under license.  Most Nagant revolvers are essentially standard-type revolver designs, which are unremarkable except for their good quality and some unusual design “quirks” common to most Nagant revolvers.

     The M-1878 was the first of the “modern” Nagant revolver designs.  It had many of the features that are associated with Nagant designs, including the large spur-type hammer, reloading through a reloading gate instead of a hinging cylinder, and an ejection rod with a large disc at the end to aid in quick case ejection.  The M-1878 (also known as the Officer’s Model, as they were issued almost exclusively to Belgian Army officers) used a fluted cylinder, a solid steel frame, and an octagonal 5.5-inch heavy barrel.  The M-1878 was withdrawn from official Belgian service just before World War 1, but still saw some use in that war.  The M-1878 was replaced in 1886 by the M-1878/86 version (also called the M-1886); this version is essentially the same as the M-1878 for game purposes, though the grip shape allows the M-1878/86 to sit better in the hand.  The M-1878/86 was used by the Belgians until 1940, though after World War 1, the primary user was the Belgian Customs Service.  In 1883, another version of the M-1878 was also produced, the M-1883.  The M-1883 was a simplified version of the M-1878, using single-action instead of double-action operation, and some other design simplifications such as a non-fluted cylinder.  The M-1883 was primarily issued to NCOs, artillery troops, and vehicle drivers, though again after World War 1, it was used by the Belgian Customs Service until 1940.  In 1886, the double-action lockwork was returned to M-1883, producing the M-1883/86; the model’s history is similar to that of its kin, being used until 1940.  The M-1878, M-1878/86, and M-1883/86 are identical for game purposes; the M-1883 is identical for game purposes except for its single-action operation.

     The M-1893 was used by Argentine forces and built for them by Suhl in Germany; it is based on a large-framed prototype of the Belgian M-1878, but much larger, chambered to fire the 11mm German Ordnance round (which was the standard German revolver round at the time).  It is double-action and used the same octagonal 5.5-inch barrel.  Due to the much-larger cylinder (to hold the much-larger cartridge), the M-1893 is a rather large weapon.  The Balkan Republics, before World War 1, also used this revolver; some can still be found in civilian hands today.

     Though the Norwegians used a copy of the Belgian M-1878 revolver from 1883 to about 1940, some officers were also issued a smaller version, the M-1887/93, starting in 1887 and continuing use until also 1940 (though by then replaced for most purposes by copies of the Colt M-1911A1.)  These had a shorter, though still octagonal, 4.5-inch barrel, and chambered for a much smaller cartridge.  It was of the handiest Nagant revolver versions ever produced.  The Swedes also adopted this version in 1887, but used it until 1947, in dwindling numbers, and ending up in police departments in a few cities.  They were also used by Yugoslavia, who acquired them between World Wars 1 and 2; there was some Nazi use, but most were not thought worthy of use by Nazi soldiers or their allies and simply confiscated.  After World War 2, they were handed back out, then were used in dwindling numbers, until now, where the survivors are primarily found in civilian hands.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

M-1878

9mm Belgian Nagant

0.94 kg

6 Revolver

$165

M-1883

9mm Belgian Nagant

0.94 kg

6 Revolver

$161

M-1893

11mm German Ordnance

1.11 kg

6 Revolver

$215

M-1887/93

7.5mm Norwegian Nagant

0.79 kg

6 Revolver

$136

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

M-1878

DAR

2

1-Nil

1

4

Nil

13

M-1883

SAR

2

1-Nil

1

4

Nil

13

M-1893

DAR

2

1-Nil

2

4

Nil

15

M-1887/93

DAR

1

Nil

1

4

Nil

9

 

FN Barracuda

     Notes: The Barracuda was FN’s only revolver design (though they later built Manhurin revolvers for the short period in the early 1990s that Giat owned FN).  The Barracuda was a high-quality weapon designed for police forces that preferred revolvers to automatic pistols; unfortunately, at the time of the Barracuda’s introduction in the late 1970s, police departments were overcoming their trust of automatics, and production stopped in 1987 after nearly a decade of poor sales.  For the most part, the design of the Barracuda was conventional, though it is one of the few revolvers with a trigger guard designed with a shaped trigger guard for the supporting hand.  The hammer spring had tension adjustable to one of four settings.  A replacement cylinder could be used to change the caliber to 9mm Parabellum, with star-shaped insert allowing the use of an inserted 9mm cylinder.  Speedloaders and half and full-moon clips may be used. Barracudas were built only with a 3-inch or 4-inch barrel.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Barracuda (3” Barrel)

.357 Magnum and .38 Special and 9mm Parabellum

1.05 kg

6 Cylinder

$278

Barracuda (4” Barrel)

.357 Magnum and .38 Special and 9mm Parabellum

1.1 kg

6 Cylinder

$288

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Barracuda (.357, 3”)

DAR

3

1-Nil

1

3

Nil

4

Barracuda (.38. 3”)

DAR

1

Nil

1

3

Nil

4

Barracuda (9mm, 3”)

DAR

1

Nil

1

3

Nil

6

Barracuda (.357, 4”)

DAR

3

1-Nil

1

3

Nil

7

Barracuda (.38. 4”)

DAR

2

Nil

1

3

Nil

7

Barracuda (9mm, 4”)

DAR

1

Nil

1

3

Nil

10