Lebel M1892 Handgun
|Country of Origin||France|
|Barrel Length||114.000 mm|
Contributor: Alan Chanterww2dbaseThe regulation officers' handgun employed by the French Army through both World Wars was the Modele D'Ordonnance of 1892, more commonly known as the Lebel, which entered service in 1893 and was in continuous use until 1945. Of 8-millimetre calibre, the Lebel fired a long, but small and underpowered cartridge which (originally loaded with black powder) gave a relatively low muzzle velocity of about 750 feet per second.
The six-round cylinder could be swung out for loading, and the ejector rod usefully pushed all six cartridges out at once, thus permitting a rapid reload to be possible. Reasonably lightweight, weighing in at 1l pounds 14 ounces, the main complaint about the Lebel concerned the curved and rather thin pistol grip which was not particularly suited to a large hand and, made it a not very pleasing revolver to hold; nor was it as as well balance as many contempory handguns.
One unique feature of the Lebel, which has never been copied elsewhere, was the ability of the entire left side plate and trigger guard to be hinged forward for oiling or cleaning. Unfortunately, useful as this might be, also exposing the internal mechanism thereby allowing dirt and mud to creep in through gaps in the frame, and thereby causing possible reliabity problems in the field.
Nevertheless the Lebel was an accurate and well made weapon of which some 350,000 were eventually manufactured up to 1924 and which also saw service in with the Belgian, Czech, Monacan, Serbian, Spanish and Swiss armed forces.
John Weeks, Pistols 1914-18 (War Monthly) ww2dbase
Last Major Revision: Mar 2014
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