Gun of the week number 6: Russian Nagant M1895 Revolver


I admit, I have a fondness for Soviet guns.  I currently own 3 Ak’s, 2 Nagant Pistols, 6 Tokerov models and 5 Makarov caliber pistols and a few Mosin Nagant rifles. But the first Soviet weapon that I bought was The Nagant Revolver. It was the first guns I bought when I got my Curio and Relic Federal Firearms License. This license enables me to buy any gun over 50 years old or guns deemed of a historical nature by the ATF. When I bought these guns, the first one was $99 and the second one was $120. I think they are a little more expensive, but they still can be purchased cheaply, although the prices seem to be rising lately due to short supply.


This gun is over 50 years old and it is historic. I actually have two of them now in the family. One is fine and I bought one for my son a few years ago for Christmas. I just love the look of this gun. The fact that is was designed in 1895 makes it more an interesting artifact.  This gun was designed so soldiers in the field could fix most problems with a hammer and a screwdriver/chisel. One of mine is dated 1940 and the other one is dated 1938.  Loading the gun is interesting, you pull a level down and then you have access to the cylinder so you can load 7 bullets. Then you push the level back up and you are ready to go.  Once the gun is fired, you must again pull the leverl down and this is a rod in front of the gun that you push in to eject each spent casing. It is not a very fast gun to reload.


The M1895 started to be replaced by the Tokarev semi-automatic pistol in 1933, but was still produced and used in great numbers during World War II. Despite being supplemented after 1930 by the Tokarev, it was never fully replaced until the arrival of the Makarov pistol in 1952, Even after that these guns were still sometimes still given to loyal Communist Party members as reward for their loyalty.


Firing the Gun

This is the most inaccurate gun that I have ever fired. If you want to hit the side of a barn at 20 feet, you might get better luck throwing the gun at the barn instead of shooting it. In the War this pistol worked best when you were firing it within a few feat of your target. It works in bought single and double action. The single action is normal. This gun requires a great deal of force in Double Action mode.

The ammo was hard to fine until about a year ago. Last time, I bought some ammo it was 14 surplus soviet cartridge for about $7.  One advantage of the round, if proper brass can be found, is that it leaves the chambers totally clean, and there is no need to scrape lead and powder residue out.


7.62x38mmR (7.62 mm Nagant) cartridge, left, shown next to a .32 S&W Long Cartridge and a .22 LR cartridge for comparison.

The projectile is seated below the mouth of the cartridge, with the cartridge crimp sitting just above the bullet. When fired in the Nagant revolver, the crimp expands into the forcing cone, completing the gas-seal and ostensibly increasing muzzle velocity by approximately 23 m/s (75 ft/s).

The 7.62 mm calibre was chosen, in part, to simplify the tooling used in barrel making and manufacture of projectiles—the Russian service rifle of the time—the Mosin Nagant M91 featured an identical bore diameter, being chambered for the 7.62×54R rifle cartridge.

Description from Wikipedia

Nagant 77

The Nagant M1895 Revolver is a seven-shot, gas-seal revolver designed and produced by Belgian industrialist Léon Nagant for the Russian Empire. The Nagant M1895 was chambered for a proprietary cartridge, 7.62x38R, and featured an unusual “gas-seal” system, in which the cylinder moved forward when the gun was cocked, to close the gap between the cylinder and the barrel, providing a boost to the muzzle velocity of the fired projectile and allowing the weapon to be suppressed (an unusual ability for a revolver)

Technical characteristics

The on-gas seal revolvers have a small gap (known as a flash gap) between the cylinder and the barrel; the small gap between the cylinder and barrel is necessary to allow the revolver’s cylinder to revolve, presenting a new, loaded chamber for firing. This necessitates that the bullet jump the gap when fired, which may have an adverse effect on accuracy, especially if the barrel and chamber are misaligned, and also presents a path for the escape of high-pressure and high-temperature gases from behind the bullet. Expensive revolvers such as Korth and Manurhin are hand-fitted, keeping the gap to a minimum. Mass-produced revolvers such as Smith and Wesson may have a gap as large as .25 mm. The M1895 has a mechanism which, as the hammer is cocked, first turns the cylinder and then moves it forward, closing the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. The cartridge, also unique, plays an important part in sealing the gun to the escape of propellant gases. The bullet is deeply seated, entirely within the cartridge case, and the case is slightly reduced in diameter at its mouth. The barrel features a short conical section at its rear; this accepts the mouth of the cartridge, completing the gas seal. By sealing the gap, the velocity of the bullet is increased by 50 to 150 ft/s (15 to 45 m/s). This feature also eliminates the possibility of injury through the dangerous expansion of gases from the cylinder behind the barrel, which are easily capable of severing a finger if the user holds the gun incorrectly (with a finger positioned in front of the cylinder during fire) – a noted safety-issue in conventional revolvers.[5]

History and usage

The M1895 revolver was used extensively by the Russian Imperial Army and later by the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution. In Russian service, it was known for its extreme sturdiness and ability to withstand abuse. As one former Imperial Russian officer stated, “if anything went wrong with the M1895, you could fix it with a hammer”.[citation needed]

It was widely employed by the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, as well as its Soviet successor agencies, the OGPU and NKVD. In the police role, it was frequently seen with a cut-down barrel to aid in concealment by plainclothes agents. Despite the advent of the more modern Soviet TT pistol, the M1895 remained in production and use throughout World War II.

11 thoughts on “Gun of the week number 6: Russian Nagant M1895 Revolver

      • Ran into a couple of those when on patrol, in the streets.
        But then again, I am jaded and partial to the S&W Model-10 heavy 4″ barrel service revolver. I’m still here.

      • I agree. Revolvers to the Bolshevik Russians, are more of a “room” gun, and fired only at someone standing in the same room as you are.
        The one with the moving cylinder towards the forcing cone, was a bit cheesy. I considered the Russian revolvers in the same class as the “Saturday Night Specials”.

      • I am a bigger fan of the Makerov Pistol. I have carried both a Bulgarian and a East German Makarov pistol in the past and every now and then. I can be very accurate with this pistols. Limitation is the 8 rounds vs the Beretta’s 15+1. I have 6 Tokerev’s. They shoot a pistol round that can be pierce armor, but I don’t find them as accurate.

  1. There was one that impressed me. It was an East German semi-auto, I forgot the caliber, but closer to a .380, but an oddball. The gun was made nice and cycled like butter. Then I took my evidence scribe and scribed my name and number all over the frame, slide, magazine, photographed it, and sent it to Ballistics Lab for testing.

    • Makarov is 9X18. The East German ones only were 9X18, but there were some Russian Commercial models imported to the US in Both 9X18 and .380. The East German ones worth about $500 in the US Market these days. Actual Russian Military ones are over $1000 these days. Russian commercial hardly worth $225

      • Must have been the commercial one, because as a rule, military grade weapons are not given detailed attention or tuned so sweetly. Gray phosphor finish.

  2. We must be living parallel lives! After my son started my interest in guns, I’ve developed a penchant for interesting firearms and a collection almost identical to yours. Not as many, but the same ones… spooky! It’s a bunch of fun though. When I got my first Mosin revolver I actually bought two and gave one to my son as a birthday present. Interesting to hear from a fellow soul mate interested in the same things.

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