Nagant Model 1895 (M1895) Seven-Shot Service Revolver
Over 2 million copies of the famous Russian/Soviet Nagant Model of 1895 service revolver were eventually produced into 1945.
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The Nagant Model of 1895 was a seven-shot service revolver developed in Belgium and adopted by the Imperial Russian Army as its standard sidearm. The Brothers Nagant - Leon and Emile - had already lent their name to the famous Mosin-Nagant bolt-action service rifle also adopted by Imperial Russian forces back in 1891. The rifle utilized an integral magazine with repeat-fire capabilities and proved a huge upgrade to the old, single-shot Berdan series used by Russian infantry prior. The rifle utilized the qualities of a competing design by Sergey Mosin as well as features brought forth by the Nagants to produce the rather interesting "Mosin-Nagant" name. The Tsarist Army then moved to adopt a standard service revolver to further modernize its infantry forces and this became the Nagant Model of 1895 (or simply the "M1895") which went on to serve Russian forces well into the communist Soviet era. The revolver emerged from an 1894 patent granted to Leon Nagant.
Outwardly, the M1895 followed long-established design lines of revolvers the world over. There was a solid metal frame containing the internal working components. The revolving cylinder could hold seven ready-to-fire cartridges and sat under a bridge which strengthened the weapon by providing an upper support structure to couple with the support section running under the cylinder. The hammer lay exposed at the rear in the usual way and within easy reach of the thumb. The hammer held a rather long firing pin required of the weapon's rather distinct cartridge and accompanying action. The grip handle was covered over in a checker pattern for a firm hold while a lanyard loop/ring was mounted at the grip base. The trigger was underslung in the usual way and of a noticeably curved design, sitting within an elongated trigger guard. The barrel section just ahead of the cylinder featured an enlarged portion which assisted in the sealing of the cartridge during the firing action. This tapered to a standard section of barrel which was capped by a forward iron sight. The forward sight was paired with a rear notch assembly.
One of the more unique design qualities of the M1895 was its sealing ability intended to extract the maximum amount of energy from the resulting propellant gasses during the firing action. While most service revolvers made due with the gap required of the revolving cylinder against the barrel assembly, the Nagant M1895 was devised a mechanical solution in which the revolving cylinder was moved slightly forward when the weapon was cocked. In this way, a complete seal was attained between the firing chamber and base of the barrel assembly. To this was added a specially-designed cartridge in 7.62x38mmR chambering.
Another unique aspect of the M1895 Nagant revolver was its 7.62x38mmR cartridge which was specially designed for the weapon. In general appearance, the cartridge lacked the usual cone-shaped head of the bullet, the bullet instead seated within the cartridge case itself. This served to further seal the discharged gasses behind the bullet as it made its way down the barrel and out of the muzzle. In theory, this design approach allowed for a higher muzzle velocity which much of the energy being captured and used. The cartridge was visibly much longer than the comparable .32 Smith & Wesson (Long) and easily recognizable by its crimped head. It came known under several other names during its service life as well - the "Cartridge, Type R" and "7.62mm Nagant".