I can’t explain it

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The French (historically) loved to put knives on revolvers. This is the Lefaucheux-type hybrid revolver, manufactured in France or Belgium c.~1860′s – no serial number.  Simply can’t explain why you’d want to mount what is essentially a pocket knife under a revolver in that period.

7mm pinfire six-round cylinder, double action with a 7.5cm folding blade attachment, ivory grip.
And true to its nation of origin, the weapon has a great deal of style.
During the same time period, the Baby LeMat was being produced by the Confederate States of America Navy – roughly the same size as the Lefaucheux.

It was the smaller cousin of the LeMat cavalry pistol, nine shots in the cylinder, chambered for .32 caliber (rather than the standard .42) and the central barrel is .41 caliber instead of .63 (and in this specific pistol, the central barrel is rifled, where they are normally smoothbore for a shotgun charge).
They weren’t as elegant from a bells-and-whistles point of view as their French counterparts, but had much more firepower and didn’t need a knife to get its point across.

9 thoughts on “I can’t explain it

  1. The French weren't the only ones to put a knife on a pistol. Here in the US we had the Elgin Cutlass pistol. While it was a one-shooter, it at least was a more substantial caliber and it had a larger blade.


  2. It makes more sense for a single-shot than it does for a revolver, in an age when the revolvers were becoming accurate and deadly.

  3. I don't understand the math. If it is .32 caliber, why does it have a .41 caliber barrel. And what do you mean by the central barrel?

  4. LeMat's had a multishot cylinder that revolved around a singleshot central barrel of larger caliber.

  5. The Naval LeMat (Baby LeMat) fired a .41 round through a rifled barrel. The Army LeMat, a larger pistol, fired the central charge (shot charge) through a smooth bore.

  6. My best guess is that they weren't terribly reliable guns (pinfire has a reputation, at least in modern times for that), and if it wouldn't go bang then a small knife is better than a small club.

    OTOH, maybe they all just thought they had lots of enemies, and couldn't carry enough ammo.

    No idea why knife + gun wasn't considered better than knife/gun hybrid, though.


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