Pistol with a revolving cylinder that provides multishot action. Some early versions, known as pepperboxes, had several barrels, but as early as the 17th century pistols were being made with a revolving chamber to load cartridges into a single barrel. The first practical revolver was not designed until 1835, when Samuel Colt patented his version. He established the standard of a cylinder with multiple chambers, each of which successively locked in position behind the barrel and was discharged by pressure on the trigger. In Colt's early single-action revolvers, the cylinder revolved as the hammer was cocked manually. Double-action revolvers, in which the hammer is cocked and the cylinder revolves as the trigger is pulled, were developed soon afterward, along with metal cartridges.
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