The service revolver model 1873 Chamelot-Delvigne was the first double-action revolver used by the French Army. It was produced by Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne from 1873 to 1887 in about 337,000 copies. Although soon replaced by the Modele 1892 revolver, it was nevertheless widely used during the First World War, and issued to reserve units in 1940. The Resistance made widespread use of it during the Occupation.
The model 1874, of which 35,000 were made, was an officer version. It differs from model 1873 by a lighter structure and a darker finish. Many civilians copies were made in France and Belgium.
Both the 1873 and the 1874 use a 11mm cartridge which proved to have an insufficient velocity. The weapons themselves were very reliable and resistant.
A Navy version was also produced. A more powerful cartridge was produced for this version, but production ceased and they turned to the regular ammunition when the stocks were depleted.