Features: The .38 caliber
revolver is a pistol in which a rotating cylinder
presents six loaded chambers to the barrel for
discharge in succession. There are several models
with 2-inch and 4-inch barrels in service. At
least one of each barrel length is made by Colt,
Ruger, or Smith and Wesson. The 2-inch barrel
weapons are used by CID and counterintelligence
personnel, and the 4-inch barrel weapons are used
by aviators. The 4-inch barrel models are by far
the most common in the Marine Corps.
All revolvers are
cylinder-loaded, exposed-hammer, selective
double-action, hand weapons. The revolving
cylinder with 6 chambers permits firing 6 shots
without reloading. The action of cocking the
hammer causes the cylinder to rotate and align
the next chamber with the barrel. At the full
cocked position, the revolver is ready to fire in
the single action mode by a "light"
squeeze on the trigger. If the hammer is not in
the full cocked position, the revolver may be
fired "double action" by a longer,
heavier squeeze on the trigger.
Background: Modern .38
caliber revolvers have been in service since
World War II (Colt and Smith & Wesson). Ruger
revolvers entered service during the 1970s.
During the mid-1980s, the M9 9mm semiautomatic
pistol began replacing revolvers.
POC: Headquarters Marine
Corps, Division of Public Affairs, 2 Navy Annex,
Washington, DC 20380-1775; (703) 614-6251.
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