The success of the original Colt Model 1851 Navy (sold in 215,000 examples) provided the foundation for the Model 1862 Pocket Navy percussion revolver. Dimensionally smaller, the Model 1862 Pocket Navy appeared with barrel lengths of 4.5, 5.5 or 6.5 as required by the customer. Unlike the larger Model 1851, the Model 1862 featured a five-shot ammunition cylinder chambered for the .36 cartridge. Only 19,000 of the type were produced by Colt Patent Firearms Company of Hartford, Connecticut.
Despite its formal name involving "navy", the Model 1862 Pocket Navy received the generic name from the Colt standard for .36 revolvers emanating from the original Model 1851 Navy which showcased an engraved naval battle along its cylinder sides. The Model 1862, however, depicted an engraved stage coach holdup scene instead.
Design-wise, the Colt Model 1862 Pocket Navy was not unlike its predecessor. It sported an octagonal barrel with a hinged loading lever underneath. The curved trigger was protected by a brass oblong trigger guard. The hammer was clearly visible and accessible by the thumb at the rear of the frame. The frame itself lacked the rugged bridge over the ammunition cylinder found in popular competing Remingtons. The pistol grip was elegantly curved downwards and flared at the bottom.
A solid gun by Colt standards, its low availability has made it something of a rare item today. The original Model 1851 Navy was no doubt helped by sales during the American Civil War. The new Colt Model 1862 Pocket Navy was utilized by both sides of the conflict.
The Colt Model 1862 Pocket Navy shared serial numbering with the Colt Model 1862 Police revolver, leading the latter to contain high serial numbers despite their actual production figures.