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Lefaucheux M1858
Revolver Lefaucheux IMG 3108.jpg
Lefaucheux-style revolver made in Liège, Belgium, circa 1860-1865. On display at Morges castle museum.
Type Pinfire revolver
Place of origin France France
Service history
In service 1858–1865
Used by France, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, United States, Confederate States
Wars American Civil War, French intervention in Mexico, Franco-Prussian War
Production history
Designer Casimir Lefaucheux
Designed 1858
Manufacturer Various
Produced 1858–1865
Weight 600 grammes
Length 280 mm

Cartridge Pinfire
Calibre 12 mm
Action Double Action revolver
Muzzle velocity 168 m/s
Feed system 6-round cylinder
Sights fixed front post and rear notch

The Lefaucheux M1858 was a French military revolver, chambered for the 12mm pinfire cartridge, based on a design by Casimir Lefaucheux. It was the first metallic-cartridge revolver adopted by a national government.[1] It was first fielded in 1858 by the French Navy, and though never issued by the French Army, it was used in limited numbers by the French Cavalry during their 1862 deployment to Mexico.[2] Models were also purchased by Spain, Sweden, Italy, Russia, and Norway. Along with those countries, both the U.S. Confederate and Federal forces also used them in the American Civil War.


View of the opened hinged gate, with a pinfire cartridge partially ejected

The revolver was a six-shot open-framed design, which was loaded via a hinged gate on the right side of the frame, through which empty cartridges were also ejected via an ejector rod running along the barrel.

The American Civil War

During the American Civil War both sides fielded a wide variety of revolvers, including the M1858. The Federal forces purchased over 12,000 M1858 revolvers, primarily supplying them to cavalry forces in 1862. However, these pinfire revolvers were replaced in service later in the war as more Colt and Remington revolvers became available.[3] Among American troops, the pistol was often referred to as the "French" Tranter".[4]


  • The Danish military fielded the Lefaucheux-Francotte M1865/97 in 11.45mm centrefire.


A western style pistol along with bullets and other related items were recovered in the Japanese artificial island of Dejima, a Dutch United East Indies Company settlement in Japan. They were found outside the wall of the Kapitan’s quarters. The Kapitan/Captain is the Director of Dejima Factory.

"The pistol is 31 cm in overall length with a caliber of 1.3 cm, a revolver of the type invented in the mid 19th century by the Frenchman Lefaucheux."[5]


  1. Pistols: an illustrated history of their impact. Jeff Kinard. ABC-CLIO, 2004. ISBN 1-85109-470-9, ISBN 978-1-85109-470-7. Pg 110
  2. Kinard, 110
  3. The Guns that Won the West: Firearms on the American Frontier, 1848-1898. John Walter. MBI Publishing Company, 2006. ISBN 1-85367-692-6, ISBN 978-1-85367-692-5. Pg 98.
  4. Kinard, 110
  5. "Dejima Oranda Shōkan: Western style pistol and bullets, and related items"

External links

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