Nagant Model 1877 Gendarmerie Double Barrel Rolling Block Pistol

Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on I’m Ian McCollum, and I am here today at the Rock Island Auction Company taking a look at one of the guns they are going to be selling in their upcoming June of 2019 Regional auction. Specifically this is a double
barrelled, rolling block style pistol. This is in fact a Belgian Model of 1877
Gendarmerie pistol. And it’s pretty cool. This is actually a product of the
Nagant brothers, Emile and Léon Nagant, and they were … Belgian gun makers
who set up shop in Liège in 1859, and started one of the major Liège
Belgian manufacturing companies. Now they did some inventing of their own, but
this wasn’t a business that was entirely based on creating their own guns. They did a lot of work
with patents that they obtained from other people and contracts that they made with
other people and other manufacturers. For example, the Remington Company.
The Nagant brothers at some point met one or both of the Remington brothers,
probably at one of the big world expositions, and they came to an agreement that would
last for 35 years, until right about 1900. This led to Nagant … manufacturing rolling
block rifles. Probably the best known are the rolling block rifles made for the Vatican Guards,
which came from Nagant’s shops. And this is also another example. So, … it’s
unclear exactly if they were paying royalties or if they had some other agreement by which
they were allowed to use the rolling block patent of Remington’s, but one of the guns that they
went about creating was this double-barrelled pistol specifically for the Belgian Gendarmerie.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at it. This was the first metallic cartridge
firearm used by the Belgian Gendarmerie, and by all accounts it was fairly successful, and it worked
nicely, and they liked it and it did everything they wanted. These weren’t actually replaced
until right about 1900 or 1901 when they were replaced with
the Browning Model of 1899, which was a semi-automatic .32 calibre pistol (which
would actually go on to be tremendously successful), but we’re talking 30 years, a little
more than 30 years, where this was the standard armament for the Gendarmerie. So we have two separate hammers, a single
breech block there that has both firing pins in it. We have a centrally mounted extractor, right there. By the way, the Nagant brothers did actually
patent some improvements to the rolling block, including an improved
extractor to use in the system. This was chambered for the Belgian 9.4mm
revolver cartridge, basically a small black-powder revolver cartridge. Similar to the 9.4mm
Dutch, although not interchangeable with it. So you get two of those,
close the breech block, and then the trigger is a single automatic trigger,
and you can’t fire both barrels at the same time. Pull the trigger the first time, it’ll drop one
hammer, you then have to release it, let it reset, then it will drop the other hammer.
If you only have one cocked, even if it’s the left hand one,
one trigger pull will fire that. After you’ve fired both then, of course,
you have to re-cock the hammers, pull that down, that will extract the two
empty cases, and then you can reload it. Presumably the Gendarmerie didn’t find themselves
getting in a lot of extended gun fights with these. The rear sight is actually mounted on the
breech block, which is a little bit interesting, and actually bigger sights than
a lot of guns of the period have. There are a couple markings on the side here. We
have what is, I believe, a government property marking. And we have ‘EM’, that’s Emile,
and ‘L’ for Léon, Nagant of Liège. Typical Belgian proof marks there. And then ‘Brevet Nagant’, meaning Nagant patent,
and a slew of serial numbers on all the relevant parts. And then another serial number
on the butt, along with this ‘W’ mark. ‘W’ is a letter indicating issue to the Gendarmerie,
Belgian arms at this point were marked by the unit, or the regiment, that they were issued to. And ‘W’ is
the letter that was assigned to indicate Gendarmerie. Total production of these was 2,000. So we’re towards the
end, but still well within the bulk of production here at 1466. Handling wise, the gun’s not bad.
This grip is kind of unusually long, but it doesn’t really cause any problems, but
it seems like it’s rather longer than it needs to be. It’s possible that this is the result of, like, carrying
these things in saddle holsters with a big covering flap, and this extra length to the grip may have been useful
to just get easy access to the gun out of the holster. If that’s not the explanation, I am not really sure what is. But the trigger pull’s not bad. The
hammers are quite heavy to cock, these have very strong firing pin springs in them. So I’m
sure that was part of why they were reliable and well liked. Well this is definitely one of the more
unusual actual police pistols out there. And when I saw it I just figured, do you
know what, that’s a neat story and a neat gun, and just really pretty cool, and I thought
you guys would probably enjoy it as well. If you would like to own this one yourself, of
course it is coming up for sale here at Rock Island. You can check out their catalogue page for their photos,
their description, their price estimate, all that sort of stuff. Any they have a nice system where you can
bid on-line nice and easily, if you are so inclined. And, of course, you can take a look at everything
else that’s in the catalogue for that sale as well. Thanks for watching.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *