WWI Shootout – Nagant vs. Webley MK VI
The top two double action military wheelguns face off
By Dennis Adler
As a collector and enthusiast of 19th century European firearms, I like to think of the late 1890s as the renaissance of European arms design. This was the beginning of the development and manufacturing of semiautomatic pistols, but it was also the beginning of significant advancements in double action revolver design. The Europeans were always ahead of U.S. armsmakers when it came to double action revolvers (and metallic cartridges), and this was equally so by the end of the 19th century when Webley & Scott had advanced the design of their .455 caliber topbreak single action/double action MK series revolvers to the MK IV model, and Russia had adopted the Belgian-designed 7.62mm, 7-shot, gas-seal Nagant revolver in 1895. By the end of the century the Russian government had purchased the rights to the Nagant revolver and begun manufacturing them at the state owned arsenal in Tula, and later at the Izhevsk arsenal. More than 2,000,000 Nagant revolvers were produced by 1945. It is going to take a lot of Gletcher CO2 models to catch up!