Security, North America
The best of the best—just not from the United States.
America has a long and storied reputation as a firearms innovator, but it is by no means the only place for fresh and original designs. Europe, fueled by centuries of continental warfare and colonialism, has consistently produced new arms and ammunition to suit a variety of roles. Worn by military officers, gendarmes, colonial frontiersmen and police, here are five of the best non-American handguns ever produced.
Lefaucheux Pepperbox Revolver
The Pepperbox, one of the earliest revolver designs, had not one but multiple barrels around a central axis. In other words, unlike later revolvers that used a single barrel and a rotating cylinder, a Pepperbox used six rotating barrels/cylinders. This made the Pepperbox very front heavy and difficult to aim. Unlike in other revolvers, which required manual turning of the barrels, a pull of the trigger fired the round and advanced the cylinder to the next round. This was a very early version of the double-action pistol operating system.
The Pepperbox was of limited military value, but was popular in Europe. It was also popular with nineteenth-century Gold Rush settlers in the American West who needed a compact, discreet weapon they could wear while working and still bring into action quickly.
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