Developed and manufactured in the United States in response to an Imperial Russian Contract, this particular Third Model Russian (aka the New Model Russian) has a particularly interesting history. Manufactured circa 1874-1878, it was sent overseas to Russia, where it was known as the Cavalry Model. The majority of these revolvers fell off the radar without a trace, but this one popped up over 125 years later in the hands of Taliban fighters during the American Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan. It is unknown exactly how and when this revolver wound up in Afghanistan, but it's a well known fact that a serviceable firearm would not be discarded for a penalty as minor as age in a country where the only available replacement may have been made by your neighbor out of a discarded shovel and five roofing nails. During the hostilities, this weapon was captured from Taliban forces by a officer of the Afghan National Army, who would then use it as a personal sidearm for a time before presenting it to one Major Andrew A. Vincent, United States Army. Major Vincent was in-country circa 2012-2013 as an Operations Officer with the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star in the process. Included with the pistol is an affidavit from Major Vincent (which identifies it as a Russian-made copy, but has the correct serial number), paperwork certifying the revolver as a legal war trophy taken in accordance with U.S. regulations, and a copy of the Bronze Star citation. The revolver has fixed sights, with the one-line cyrillic address on top and in three letters over "1874" on the back strap hump, distinctive large top strap screw, back strap hump and trigger guard spur, matching serial numbers on the frame, cylinder, barrel and latch, and smooth grips.
Fine, with traces of the original blue finish in the protected areas, showing a mixed gray patina with mild spotting and handling marks overall. The grips are good, with light scratches and dings. The barrel hinge pin may be a replacement part. Mechanically very good. A fine example of a cyrillic-marked Russian Contract New Model Russian revolver with what may be the oddest provenance we've ever assigned a Smith & Wesson.
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