Original U.S. Spanish American War M-1892 Holster for Colt .38 Long Revolver by Lanz Owen & Co With M1896 Belt Loop Alteration

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a full-length 1892 pattern cavalry holster for the Colt .38 caliber revolvers. Both were issued to cavalry units and the 1881 pattern holster was provided with two holes in the flap to allow the angle to be changed to contain either revolver. These holsters were often shortened later for use with the shorter barrel Colts issued to all branches of service, but usually called the “artillery” model. This holster, however, is still full length and the body shows a wonderful, smooth finish with minor crazing and a visible US stamp on the front flap.

The belt loop has a six-rivet attachment that is characteristic of the 1896 belt loop alteration. The army discovered the old loops would not accommodate a filled double-loop .30-40 cartridge belt and sent out larger replacement loops to cavalry companies to be attached by post or company saddlers. They were instructed, unless otherwise directed by a company commander, to use three additional rivets along the bottom of the loop rather than disturb existing stitching by sewing on the new ones. The maker mark is still faintly visible on the loop and reads as:


Comes more than ready for further research and display.

Colt M1892

The M1892's counter-clockwise cylinder rotation tended to force the cylinder out of alignment with the frame over time, and this was exacerbated by relatively weak lockwork used to "time", or match individual chambers to the barrel. In 1908, Colt improved and strengthened the lockwork, and changed the cylinder rotation to a clockwise movement.

A Model 1892 revolver was recovered from the USS Maine after it exploded in Havana Harbor in 1898. It was presented to then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, who would later become President of the United States. Roosevelt brandished this pistol to rally his Rough Riders during the famed charge up San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898. This revolver was on display at Sagamore Hill and was stolen from there in 1963, recovered and then stolen again in 1990. It was recovered in 2006 and returned to Sagamore Hill on June 14, 2006.

This revolver was thought of as a decent handgun for its time, but complaints arose from the military concerning the revolver's cartridge chambering. Beginning in 1899, combat reports arose from the Philippines campaign regarding the poor performance of the M1892's .38-caliber ammunition. Specifically, users complained that the .38 bullet repeatedly failed to stop charging Filipino rebels at close ranges, even when hit multiple times. The complaints caused the U.S. Army to hurriedly issue stocks of .45 caliber revolvers, and played a central role in its decision to replace the M1892 with the .45 Colt M1909 New Service revolver in 1909.

In the rush to furnish arms to the rapidly expanding Army and Navy after the United States entered World War I, surplus stocks of these old Colts were inspected, refurbished as needed, and then issued to rear-echelon Army troops and Navy officers as a substitute standard side arm.

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