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Military Revolvers

In colonial America, the military used muskets, which were expensive, cumbersome, unreliable, and high-maintenance weapons with poor accuracy. Muskets had no sights and soldiers were taught not to aim since they relied on volleys on crowded masses.

It wasn't until the 1840s, when Samuel Colt began perfecting the handgun, that the military was able to increase accuracy. Colt made his name with the Model 1860 Army revolver, a muzzle-loaded cap and ball .44-caliber piece used during the American Civil War. Later, the U.S. Army ordered 1,000 Colt revolvers for use in the Mexican-American War, and the gun went on to cement its place in government conflicts the world over.

While the British armed forces were outfitting their men with Webley’s Mark models of top-break revolvers, Colt armed the U.S. military for the Spanish-American War with new Model 1898 six-shot revolvers chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge. Colt's New Service line was used until 1946 during World War I, World War II, and numerous other conflicts in between. Military revolvers in all their forms hold a special allure for collectors and are often found at auction.


Quick Facts

  • In a 2014 Heritage Auction, an 1886 Italian Glisenti Brescia military double-action revolver with an octagonal barrel and walnut grip sold for a modest $812.50
  • In 2009, an iconic Serial No. 1 Colt single-action Army Peacemaker with a gold-tooled inscribed leather case custom made by Arno Werner Bookbinders sold at a Greg Martin Auctions event for $862,500
  • The first revolver produced by Samuel Colt, the 1836 Paterson revolver, sold at a 2011 Signature Arms & Armor Auction in Dallas for a whopping $977,500

Recommended Items at Auction

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Antique French Lefaucheux Brevettes 1858 Model Revolver, circa 1860-1865
Sep 22, 2:00 PM PDT
Antique French Lefaucheux Brevettes 1858 Model Revolver, circa 1860-1865
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $500- $1,000
$1001 Bid
An Austro-Hungarian 1870 Gasser revolver , 15" overall - obsolete calibre,
Jul 27, 2:00 PM BST
An Austro-Hungarian 1870 Gasser revolver , 15" overall - obsolete calibre,
by Michael J Bowman
Est: £0- £0
£201 Bid
PIETTA MODEL 1858 .44 CALIBER PERCUSSION REVOLVER
Jul 30, 11:00 AM EDT
PIETTA MODEL 1858 .44 CALIBER PERCUSSION REVOLVER
by Centurion Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1501 Bid
A 7.5mm (SWISS) M1882 SERVICE REVOLVER, serial no. P3446,
Jul 30, 10:00 AM BST
A 7.5mm (SWISS) M1882 SERVICE REVOLVER, serial no. P3446,
by Holts Auctioneers
Est: £180- £220
£1800 Bids
AN 11mm FRENCH ORDNANCE MODEL M1873 SERVICE REVOLVER SIGNED ST. ETIENNE, serial no. J477,
Jul 30, 10:00 AM BST
AN 11mm FRENCH ORDNANCE MODEL M1873 SERVICE REVOLVER SIGNED ST. ETIENNE, serial no. J477,
by Holts Auctioneers
Est: £300- £500
£3000 Bids
UNITED STATES ARMS CORP. MODEL 508
Jul 27, 10:00 AM EDT
UNITED STATES ARMS CORP. MODEL 508
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $500- $1,000
$2500 Bids
Four Antique Cartridge Revolvers
Aug 07, 9:00 AM CDT
Four Antique Cartridge Revolvers
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $900- $1,200
$8000 Bids
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Antique French Modele 1892 Revolver "Lebel Revolver"
Sep 22, 2:00 PM PDT
Antique French Modele 1892 Revolver "Lebel Revolver"
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $500- $1,000
$1000 Bids
NAVY ARMS CO MODEL 1851 NAVY .36 CALIBER REVOLVER
Jul 30, 11:00 AM EDT
NAVY ARMS CO MODEL 1851 NAVY .36 CALIBER REVOLVER
by Centurion Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$700 Bids
A GOOD 12mm (PINFIRE) LEFAUCHEUX PATENT REVOLVER, serial no. 69674, in a later case,
Jul 29, 10:00 AM BST
A GOOD 12mm (PINFIRE) LEFAUCHEUX PATENT REVOLVER, serial no. 69674, in a later case,
by Holts Auctioneers
Est: £300- £500
£3000 Bids
ARMI SAN MARCO MODEL 1851 NAVY 36 CALIBER REVOLVER
Jul 30, 11:00 AM EDT
ARMI SAN MARCO MODEL 1851 NAVY 36 CALIBER REVOLVER
by Centurion Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Military Revolvers


Holts Auctioneers

Holts Auctioneers

Centurion Auctions

Centurion Auctions

Michael J Bowman

Michael J Bowman