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The Nagant M1895 was a Russian seven-shot revolver and one of the first firearms to successfully use a suppressor.

The revolver used a complicated "gas-seal" system that fired telescoped cartridges with the bullet flush with the case mouth. When the cylinder was cocked, it moved forward to seal itself against the base of the barrel. This prevented gas loss and raised the bullet's velocity.

It had a fixed frame instead of a break-open cylinder like the Smith & Wesson Model 3 it replaced. The cylinder was fixed in place and could only be loaded or unloaded one at a time by a gate in the back of the cylinder. It originally came in single-action Non-Commissioned- and double-action-only Commissioned-Officer models. After the revolution in 1918 it was made in a general-issue double action model. All earlier-production Nagants were later converted to double-action, making single-action Nagants very rare.

The revolver was used alongside the Mauser C96 and Tokarev TT-33 and was not retired until after World War Two. It was popular with cavalry troops, who carried braces of Nagants and dual-wielded them "Cossack-style" from horseback. It was praised for its sturdiness, with one veteran commenting that you could "fix it by hitting it with a hammer". The Soviet military sought to replace it with the more modern Tokarev but the war soon pressed it back into service.

After the war the Nagant and Tokarev were replaced by the Makarov in the 1950s. The pistol was still issued to security guards at courthouses and the postal service until the early 2000s.

Silenced Nagant

From 1931 a variant model was mounted with a Maxim-type silencer called the BRAMIT device (BRAtya MITiny - "Mitin Brothers"), from its inventors V.G. and I.G. Mitin. The seal allowed it to be used effectively, which would be impossible with a normal revolver. It was issued to reconnaissance troops and scouts to eliminate pickets and sentries. The rubber baffles were found to crack in cold weather. (This was later remedied in 1942 by using aircraft-tire rubber procured through the American Lend-Lease program.)

Trivia

  • The Nagant's 7.62mm ammunition was dubbed "Type R" for Револьвер ("Revolver"). This was to separate it from the rimless 7.62mm "Type P" (Пистолет > Pistolet, or "Pistol") ammunition issued for the Tokarev and PPSh. It came in cartons of 14 rounds, equivalent to two reloads.


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