MANUFACTURER(S): Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de St. Etienne - France
OPERATORS: Belgium; Czechoslovakia; France; Monaco; Spain; Switzerland
ACTION: Single-Action / Double-Action Trigger
CALIBER(S)*: 8mm French Ordnance
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear
Detailing the development and operational history of the MAS Modele 1892 (Lebel Revolver) Six-Round Service Revolver.
Entry last updated on 2/26/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The MAS Modele 1892 revolver was selected by French military authorities to replace the aging MAS Modele 1873 revolver line. The earlier Modele 1873 became the first Double-Action (DA) revolver to enter service in the French Army inventory and fired the 11mm Mle 1873 cartridge from a six-round cylinder. Roughly 337,000 examples were produced by Manufacture d-Armes de Saint-Entienne (MAS) and many went on to see service throughout World War 1 (1914-1918) and even into World War 2 (1939-1945).
The Modele 1982 made use of the smaller 8mm French Ordnance round which originally appeared in black-powder form before evolving to a smokeless powder design. The revolver was a well-made, no-frills weapon with swing arm offering quick reloading by manual means. The cylinder was once again of a six-chamber-design and the hammer was left exposed at the rear of the frame. The frame itself was wholly solid with no weak break points along its length. The trigger was protected in an elongated ring under the cylinder and the handle covered in checkerboard pattern grips. A lanyard ring was featured at the grip's base. The weapon could be fired through a Single-Action (SA) or Double-Action (DA) operation, the former requiring the user to work the hammer while the latter requiring just a complete trigger pull.
The weapon was adopted in 1892 and made up the standard French Army officer's sidearm heading into World War 1 (1914-1918). The sidearm earned the nickname of "Lebel Revolver" despite no influence or relationship with French Army Colonel Nicolas Lebel (his name adorned the famous French Lebel service rifle series however). Production of the Model 1892 revolver spanned from 1892 until 1924 to which some 350,000 were produced and it remained in widespread circulation into the 1920s and 1930s - still in play at the time of World War 2 despite the French Army having moved on to semi-automatic types by then. French police continued use of the type until the 1960s, such was the respect for this fine weapon.
Operators beyond the French included Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland.