[Today’s Post is made possible by JTF Awesome Team Member Freedom Munitions]
Weapon Trivia Wednesday: Dutch East Indies Customs Revolver
Mike the Mook
Every now and then we find a firearm that defies everything we thought we once knew. Like revolvers equipped with manual safeties.
Most double-action revolver designs do not incorporate a manual safety. The heavy or long trigger pull is often enough to carry a revolver safely without fear of a negligent discharge. Then we found a 9.4 mm Dutch Revolver that differed from the norm.
This one was made in 1922 Safety lever be damned! We thought we found something special with a Bulldog looking revolver that had hand checkered grips, octagon barrel and a lanyard ring. Hell that was just made for shooting! Right?
Apparently Dutch police administrators decided that their East Indies customs officers should carry a blank round in the chamber to serve as a warning shot, followed up by a tear gas round in the second chamber for the “Stop or I’ll say stop again” command, followed up by three live rounds for when the fit would really hit the shan. Because they just had that constant threat of bootlegged wooden shoes flowing into Sumatra at the time, but at the same time did not want to kill the miscreant.
So how do you ensure that the blank round is in the correct chamber in the cylinder? How do you prevent Hans from blowing a hole in some loudmouth trying to smuggle tulips past the main gate who simply won’t shut up, even with a pistol pointed at his face, but might settle down after a deafening shot rings past his ear?
Easy-peasy. The cylinder is numbered “1” and “2” on the chambers in question. Corporal Woodenshoes could keep it from rotating on the draw, or from Sergeant Klaus finger banging his Roscoe, by adding a hook to catch the cylinder and lock it in place. Hence, you have the addition of the safety lever.
The KLM model 5 shot revolver had an octagon barrel. and resembled a Bulldog pattern revolver common to Europe at the time. It was never produced on the commercial market. Although largely replaced in the early 20th century by a Browning semiauto, it saw use as late as the 1940s. A number were captured and put to use by the Japanese during World War II. Apparently they hated them, too.
You have to load and eject brass one round at a time like a Colt SAA, but that is where the similarity to an actual revolver ends. The solid frame makes for a stout piece, but from what we’ve read on the 9.4 Nagant, it is about the same as throwing a hotdog in a hallway. The trigger pull is so atrocious that we have come to the belief that the customs office really hated to do paperwork after a shooting.
Modern ammunition is nearly impossible to find. You basically have a 9mm bullet and the closest you can get to the brass is by trimming and necking down 41 Magnum cases. We like to shoot 41 Magnum more so than any other revolver round, so the answer to that is “Ummm, no.”
Extremely questionable policing standards aside, these revolvers represent using engineering to address standards. They may not have played a key role in the development or evolution of the revolver, but they point out how engineering can suitably be applied to a bureaucratic decree that never should have been issued in the first place.
The Dutch marked the hell out of them, too.
They probably did not want to see this engineering masterpiece counterfeited.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: Mike “the Mook” Searson is a veteran writer who began his career in firearms at the Camp Pendleton School for Destructive Boys at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire life, writing about guns and knives for numerous publications and consulting with the film industry on weapons while at the same time working as gunsmith and ballistician. Though seemingly a surly curmudgeon shy a few chromosomes at first meeting, Searson is actually far less of a dick and at least a little smarter than most of the Mad Duo’s minions. He is rightfully considered to be not just good company, but actually fit for polite company as well (though he has never forgotten his roots as a rifleman trained to kill people and break things, and if you look closely you’ll see his knuckles are still quite scabbed over from dragging the ground). You can learn more about him on his website or follow him on Twitter, @MikeSearson.
The Mook doing his Boondock Saints thing (and accurately, perhaps not surprisingly).
More about Freedom Munitions:
Freedom Munitions is all about, well, ammunition. They’re aptly named, because in our minds the sound of freedom is best represented by the exuberant and well directed discharge of rifles. Freedom Munitions is part of Howell Munitions and Technology, as is their performance projectile line, X-treme Bullets. While they’re best known for remanufactured ammunition, they also have entire lines of new ammunition and perform OEM production for other companies. But more than that, they also make their own brass. They make their own projectiles. They package their own stuff. More than that, they make the machines that make the brass. They make the machines that make the projectiles. And they own their own trucking company. Be sure to check out Freedom Munitions online here, check out what they had at SHOT, or give them a follow on Facebook.