MANUFACTURER(S): Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield - UK
OPERATORS: Canada; United Kingdom
ACTION: Double-Action; Rotating Cylinder
CALIBER(S)*: .476 Revolver Mk II
SIGHTS: Rear Notch; Fixed Front Post
Detailing the development and operational history of the Enfield Mk I / Mk II Service Revolver.
Entry last updated on 4/13/2016.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Enfield Mk I/Mk II series of service revolvers appeared late in the 19th Century amidst a period of ever-changing firearms technology, becoming the standard sidearm of the British Army if only for a short while. Largely a conventional revolver, design and manufacture of the weapon were headed by the legendary Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) of Enfield. Design work began in 1879 while production spanned from 1880 to 1889. Users of the weapon eventually included Canada whose mounted police were issued the type and used them until 1911. The revolver appeared in "Mk I" and "Mk II" production forms.
The Enfield Mk series was chambered for the .476 Revolver Mk II cartridge in which six were fed (individually) into the cylinder chambers by way of a loading gate. The grip handle was curved and integrated into the frame's design in the usual way. The frame was of a "top break" design and hinged along a point ahead and below of the cylinder. The action was double-action though a limited amount of single-action examples were also produced. A lanyard ring was affixed to the bottom of the grip handle and a cylinder lock fit over the cylinder to prevent its rotation while holstered. Sighting was through a front fixed post and rear notch.
One of the key qualities of the Enfield offering was its Owen Jones "self-extraction" system which intended to remove spent shell cartridges for the operator while retaining ready-to-fire cartridges in the cylinder. The system involved the operator unlatching the barrel and forcing the assembly downwards along the hinge. With the barrel tilted forwards, the cylinder was positioned slightly forward to reveal enough of spent cartridge cases that they fell out of their chambers. In practice, the system was not wholly reliable.
Enfield Mk revolvers saw combat service with British forces in the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880) where, despite the British victory, their overall man-stopping power was deemed relatively weak. Their official replacement came in the form of the Webley Mk I revolvers in .455 caliber.
This Enfield revolver should not be confused with the "Enfield No. 2" revolver seeing widespread use in World War 2 and detailed elsewhere on this site. This particular weapon was chambered for the .380 Revolver Mk I/Mk IIz cartridge and not introduced until 1932.