Model 1889-1895 Colt "New Navy" Revolver
By Patrick McSherry
The 1895 Colt revolver with holster and cartridge box
(Photo courtesy of the Doug Howser Collection)
The Model 1889, 1892-95 Colt "New Navy" revolver was the standard sidearm
used by U.S. Naval personnel in the Spanish American War.
The U.S. Navy begans its search for a new handgun to replace the aging
converted 1851 Navy revolvers in 1887. These revolvers had been converted
to .38 cal. center-fire in 1873, but were still outdated. The Navy decided
to replace the weapon with the Model 1889 .38 cal. Colt revolver, and ordered
five thousand of them. The weapon did have a problem in that the cylinder
did not have locking notches, which could lead to misfires. Most of these
weapons were reworked to correct this problem. In 1892, a new model of
the "Colt New Navy" was issued which no longer suffered from this problem.
The barrel was also shortened. Minor improvements were again apparently
made in 1895.
The major complaint against this weapon, once the cylinder locking mechanism
was corrected, was the trigger rebound spring. Often, the spring would
not pull the trigger back into position after the previous shot. The gun
had a tendency to foul, and it quickly became difficult to force a round
into the cylinder.
The weapon was sturdily built however, and showed a good resistance
to rusting, a major consideration for the Navy.
Revolver Drill aboard the Battleship MAINE
||Revolver, double action, with a swing-out cylinder
||which rotated in the counter-clockwise direction.
||11.5 inches, two bands
|Length of barrel:
||2 pounds, 1 ounce
||.38 cal. long and short, and .41 cal. long and short.
|Weight of projectile:
||1,100 feet per second
||Knife-blade sight at muzzle, and V-notch in hammer.
||Barrel stamped with patent dates. The butt frame
||is marked "S.N. 38 D.A." with the model year.
Chapel, Charles Edward, The Collector's Handbook of Values. (New
York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1960).
Ezell Edward C., Handguns of the World. (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole
Gluckman, Arcadi, United States Muskets, Rifles and Carbines.
(Buffalo: Otto Ulbrich Co., Inc., 1948).
Howser, Doug, (pistol image)
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