The M1879 Reichsrevolver, or Reichs-Commissions-Revolver Modell 1879 and 1883, were service revolvers used by the German Army from 1879 to 1908, when it was superseded by the Luger.
The two versions of the revolver differ only in barrel length (The M1883 had a 5-inch barrel). Although the design was dated, the weapon was extremely robust, and they were still used through World War I. The M1879 is referred to as the "cavalry model" and the M1883 as the "officer's model," by collectors, which were not official designations.
Both models were single-action, solid frame, non-ejecting six-shot revolvers. The caliber was an indigenous 10.6×25mmR with a medium-length cartridge case, comparable to the contemporary .44 Russian round in size and power. Loading was via a gate on the revolver's right side, and the cylinder was released by pulling the hammer to half-★★★★. Removing empty cartridges could be done by removing the cylinder by withdrawing the axis pin, and then removing the casings by hand, but in actual practice a separate small rod (stored in the ammunition pouch) was used to push the casings out without having to remove the cylinder. A unique feature among these revolvers was the safety lever, which was often applied with the hammer resting in the half-★★★★ position.
Most revolvers came with a lanyard ring for attachment to the uniform.
German Ordnance Cartridge
The 10.6x25mmR German Ordnance cartridge, also called the 10.6mm Reichsrevolver, the 10.6mm Service Ordnance, or the 10.55mm German cartridge, is a pistol cartridge designed by the then newly formed German Empire for their first two official service revolvers the M1879 & M1883 Reichsrevolvers.
It is believed to have been influenced by, or developed from the .44 Russian cartridge, which had been developed by the American firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson for the Armies of Imperial Russia.
When they were adopted by Imperial Germany, both the 10.6x25mmR German Ordnance cartridge and the Reichsrevolver had already been surpassed by more advanced developments already in use by other nations and empires of Europe and the Americas. The 10.6x25mm German Ordnance cartridge would be slowly phased out and replaced in German service by the modern 9x19mm Parabellum round with the adoption of the Pistole Parabellum 1908 (more commonly called the Luger pistol) in 1908, and would be used alongside its successor, the 9x19mm Parabellum, in World War I, and would see minimal use through the period of World War II, before finally being completely phased out.
M1879 Cavalry Issue
M1883 Officers’ Issue