COLT NEW ARMY & NAVY COMMERCIAL MODEL
In 1889 Colt introduced the world’s first double action, swing-out cylinder revolver. This design was so revolutionary that every double action revolver designed since used Colt’s swing-out cylinder design.
The US Navy immediately bought the gun as the US Navy Model of 1889, and in 1892 the US Army also bought it in a slightly upgraded model as the US Army Model of 1892.
Colt also sold the gun as a commercial sales model, and it was immediately a popular gun with the public.
Colt put the new gun through a rapid series of design upgrades with each change getting a new model number.
These were the Models 1889, 1892, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1901 and the 1903.
Production stopped in 1907.
Finish on the military models was blue with smooth walnut grips.
Barrel length was 6 inches, and the caliber was the .38 Long Colt.
These Colt’s have extremely complex actions that get out of order or break easily. Due to a lack of usable parts and few gunsmiths willing to even attempt repairs, these guns should be treated very gently.
The New Army & Navy model is unique to Colt in that the cylinder rotates counter-clockwise, and the frame’s side plate is on the right side. In later Colt revolvers the cylinder rotation is clockwise and the side plate is on the left side of the frame.
The Model 1889 originally had no locking notches on the outside of the cylinder, using the hand that advanced the cylinder to lock it in place during ignition.
This system was a major weakness in the design, since when the action was at rest, the cylinder was free to rotate. This could cause the cylinder to rotate so a fired cartridge was struck when the trigger was pulled instead of a live cartridge.
This was corrected by rebuilding almost all US Navy issue guns to use the same double cylinder locking notches on the outside of the cylinder that were used on the upgraded Model 1892.
Commercial Model 1889 revolvers were not recalled for the upgrade, so these guns are recognized by the lack of locking notches on the cylinder.