Original Civil War Era Metropolitan Arms Co. Police Pocket .36cal Percussion Revolver - Matching Serial 2669

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Here we have a very nice "Police Pocket" model percussion revolver, made by the Metropolitan Arms Company of New York City. Established in February 1864, the company mainly manufactured copies of Colt Model 1851 and 1861 Navy Revolvers, as well as copies of Colt Model 1862 Police Revolver. Two of the firm's principle officers were Samuel and William Syms (formerly of Blunt & Syms) and it is believed that they were responsible for production. Almost all of the Metropolitan pistols were produced during 1864 to 1866 period, which coincides with the period that Colt was out of production due to a massive factory fire. Company itself was not dissolved until 1920.

In form and function, the Metropolitan Arms Pocket Police is so similar to the Colt Model 1862 Pocket Police that they are often confused for one another. Like the Colt, it is a "Navy Caliber" (.36) 5 shot .36 caliber percussion revolver, and was often purchased by serving Officers as a reserve handgun carried on the inside of their tunics. With the great need for arms, most likely the patent infringements were ignored, as the Union Army needed guns.

This very nice example is in choice condition, and has matching serial number 2669 on most parts, including the barrel, frame, grip, cylinder, barrel wedge, and trigger guard! This is a very nice "ALL MATCHING" example, without any parts swapped out during its service life. Unfortunately not much is known about the serial number system used, so it is not possible to give a definitive date of manufacture for the revolver.

Top of the barrel still has the original maker markings visible:


The revolver not only looks great but it is in tight fully functional condition, with a strong hammer pull, and good cycling. We did not notice any of the usual issues with cylinder lock up and indexing. The pistol metalwork retains much bluing, now faded to a gray patina. There is still a bit of the original plating on the brass grip frame, and the grips themselves are in very nice condition, with a lovely color. The bore has a mostly bright finish, with clear lands and grooves. There is only light oxidation in places.

Fully cleaned, ready to cherish and display!


Years of Manufacture: 1864-1866
Caliber: .36cal
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 4 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 9 1/2 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 5 Shot Revolver

History of the Metropolitan Arms Co. Revolvers:

The story of the Metropolitan Arms Company and their Colt revolver copies goes back to the unfortunately circumstances of the Colt Firearms Company in the late 1860s. This goes back to February 4, 1864, when almost the entire Colt manufacturing plant in Hartford, CT burnt to the ground. Theories abound as to the cause of the fire. Was it an accident or sabotage from Confederate sympathizers, etc. Whatever the cause, the conflagration left Colt's main building in ruins with its steam engines, parts, patterns, and tools belonging to various contractors destroyed. Millions of dollars were lost and thousands of employees put out of work. To make matters worse, the plant was only partially insured. Sam Colt's widow vowed to rebuild but it would be quite some time before the company was back on its feet and could once again claim its market share of the revolver business.

With the worst year of the Civil War still laying ahead and the demand for revolvers still high, Colt's sudden departure left a giant hole in the market for competitors to fill. This seems to be exactly when the Metropolitan Arms Company appeared on the scene. The company, located in New York, took full advantage of Colt's missing product line by producing near-identical copies of the Model 1851 Navy Revolver, the 1861 Navy Revolver, and the 1862 Model Pocket Police from 1864 until 1866...which coincidentally is the year Colt resumed full production. During that two year period, the company manufactured approximately 6,000 copies of the 1851 Navy, fewer than fifty of the 1861 Navy, and 2,750 of the Pocket Police Model.

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