Navy Side Arms
1851 to 1945

Colt 1851 Navy

Colt 1851 navy: The 1851 navy was quite a different shape gun then the 1861. The 1851 navy had an octagon barrel, squared back trigger guard and no front sight, it would be more similar in looks to the walker style weapons. The 1851 navy was also only produced in .36 caliber.

Colt 1860-1861 Navy

The Colt 1861 navy and 1860 army models used a round barrel with internal rifling, they came in both .36 caliber and .44 caliber for the navy and .44 caliber for the Army versions.

produced from 1861-1873 in .36 and .44 caliber. The gun weighed around 2 lbs 12 oz. It was a lighter handgun then the walkers and dragoons so was a favorite of both confederate and union troops during the war. The handgun had a naval battle scene engraved on the cylinder, if you look closely you can see two sailing ships in the scene. The ships are sailing to the right with large masts, the far ship on left of cylinder is only half a ship in this picture. Many waves and clouds can be seen as well in the photo.

Remington Beals Navy

Remington Model 1865

Remington Model 1867

Colt Model 1889-1892-95

The Model 1889, 1892-95 Colt "New Navy" revolver was the standard sidearm used by U.S. Naval personnel in the Spanish American War. The U.S. Navy began its search for a new handgun to replace the aging converted 1851 Navy revolvers in 1887. These revolvers had been converted to .38 cal. center-fire in 1873, but were still outdated. The Navy decided to replace the weapon with the Model 1889 .38 cal. Colt revolver, and ordered five thousand of them. The weapon did have a problem in that the cylinder did not have locking notches, which could lead to misfires. Most of these weapons were reworked to correct this problem. In 1892, a new model of the "Colt New Navy" was issued which no longer suffered from this problem. The barrel was also shortened. Minor improvements were again apparently made in 1895.  The major complaint against this weapon, once the cylinder locking mechanism was corrected, was the trigger rebound spring. Often, the spring would not pull the trigger back into position after the previous shot. The gun had a tendency to foul, and it quickly became difficult to force a round into the cylinder. The weapon was sturdily built however, and showed a good resistance to rusting, a major consideration for the Navy.

S&W 1899

S&W 1902

Colt Model 1909

S&W M&P .38 (1941)

 The U.S. Navy contract orders were for a total of 65,000. These were 2 individual orders with 1 of 20,000 and 1 of 45,000 while the second order was with military finish. The first contract date was March 2nd, 1942 for 20,000 revolvers and delivery was to Norfolk, Virginia and Oakland, California U.S. Navy depots. According to Charles Pates book the last Navy contract pistol was delivered in January of 1943.

S&W Victory Model (1942-1943)

The Victory model was so named for the "V" prefix which was placed before the serial number and represented "Victory" against the Axis powers in World War II. The pistol shown below is a 1943 production Victory model revolver in the .38 special configuration. S&W applied the U.S. NAVY mark on the left top strop. These Navy revolvers typically had no other proofing or acceptance marks. According to Charles Pates book the last Navy contract pistol was delivered in January of 1943. Another variation of the WWII .38 Special Navy can be found on this site, that variation has the property mark on the left side of the frame and is filled with red paint. Click here to see an example

Total of 352,315 .38 specials were ordered, of those the U.S. Navy contract orders were for a total of 65,000. These were 2 individual orders with 1 of 20,000 and 1 of 45,000 while the second order was with military finish.

Colt Model 1900

Colt Model 1911 (1912-1915, 1918)

Colt Model 1911A1 (1937, 1939, 1942)

1942: The U.S. Navy was shipped 3,982 1911A1s on July 24th, 1942. These guns where shipped to the Officer in Charge, Naval Supply Depot, in Oakland, Calif. and Sewalls Point, Va. This gun was shipped as part of the Virginia shipments. The U.S. Navy only received 3,982 pistols as DIRECT shipments during WWII.  After this first shipment, all pistols were delivered to Ordnance Stores (OS) at Springfield where they were disbursed. These direct Navy delivered pistols are seldom encountered due to their small initial number, their relatively high loss rate as all pistols were normally lost when a ship went down, and pistols aboard ship as well as in Navy shore installations were generally kept more securely than Army pistols. Therefore the number of Navy pistols that went home in duffel bags was far less than in the other services. Click here to see an example

Ithaca Model 1911A1 (1944) 29,000 pistols shipped

This Ithaca was shipped to the officer in charge, U.S. Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, California on 24 May 1944 in a shipment of 2,750 pistols.  This pistol was part of government contract W-740-ORD-2476.  Ithaca Navy pistols are rare as very few were shipped from Ithaca for Navy issue. This example has the ordnance inspectors flaming bomb acceptance mark in the recoil lug well and under the firing pin stop plate.

Ithaca started production in December of 1942 and was the only established firearms company to produce 1911A1s other than Colt. The total number of pistols produced by Ithaca was 335,466.

Remington Rand Model 1911A1 (unknown)