Emiliano Zapata’s revolver

Emiliano Zapata is a Mexican national hero. He was a general in the Mexican revolution until being ambushed and killed by an opposing general who had claimed that he wished to surrender.

Paul, a reader of the blog, emailed me photos of a revolver in his collection that was once owned by Zapata.

Many more photos after the jump.

[ Many thanks to Paul for emailing me the photos. ] (more…)

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Jim

    Why did top break revolvers die off?

  • Chase

    I know a guy who’s crazy about the Zapatista rebels, I e-mailed him a link to this. That’s quite a find someone has out there.

  • Joe

    The actions are not strong enough for modern smokeless powder revolver cartridges. 38 S&W and the british .455 webley were about the max.

  • alex

    jim, i’ve been told it was because the hinge tended to be fragile and that, after awhile it would break.

  • Vak

    Apparently the russians, in their constant quest for somewhat practical but completely awesome design created the MP412. A polymer framed .357magnum top break revolver with a 4″ barrel.


    Sadly, none were ever imported, so the closest you will ever get from shooting one is in video games.

  • snmp

    The revolver look like a Belgian or Spanish (Eibar town) clone of the S&W n°3

  • Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve always been told that it’s because they are inherently weaker than a solid frame gun, guess it makes some sense but don’t ‘know’ if it’s true or just good sounding BS.

  • Jon Mac

    The hinges are pretty robust – it’s the lockup at the rear that’s the weak point. You could no doubt make a serviceable modern day topbreak, but it would need extra engineering and so would be needlessly heavy. The only real advantage of the system is speed of reload.

  • Cymond

    Re the decline of top break revolvers: I find it interesting that all of the Schofield(Beretta, Uberti) replicas are in .45LC and .38 Spcl, even though those companies make their Colt clones in .45LC and .357 Mag. It seems to me that the Schofield must be incapable of withstanding the pressure and recoil of .357 Magnum, even with modern materials and craftsmanship. Yes, a top break .357 could be made, but it would need to be seriously overbuilt.

    Re the Zapata revolver: I wonder how someone would verify something like that beyond the easily imitated engraving.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Actually, the russians have done it with their MP412 REX revolver. The Schofields clones are also designed for CAS. While I’m sure they can safely shoot full power .357 magnums, I don’t think its their regular diet. I sure as hell wouldn’t put some white hot blackhawk loads in one though.

  • Greetings from Texas,
    This is a wonderful post and great pictures. I can’t thank all involved enough.

    I have a Webley Mk. VI in .455, one of my favorite handguns. Weak isn’t a word I would use to describe that frame. Once it’s locked up I think it would be as stout as a solid frame. Perhaps not, but it just doesn’t seem like a weakness.

  • Paul Willsher

    Cymond, Its not easy to imitate engraving that’s nearly 100 years old.The grips from 1914 is when Zapata and Villa were in Mexico city at the palace. if you know more about this gun than I do, Please let everyone know. It was made in Spain, a replica of the S & W. that’s what was used in Mexico at the time. On the Underside of the barrel ( Not pictured ) it also has engraving that says LIBERTAD. There is a picture of Zapata wearing this Revolver. This gun was purchased at an Estate Sale in Texas. It will be available at a Firearm Auction Soon.

  • ¡Viva Zapata! ¡Vivas Las Zapatistas!

    Cool peace of history. Thanks for sharing Paul.

  • yes , it is a great piece of history , i wish i new someone that could appreciate it or use it as a museum piece , or something like that.

  • Museums in Mexico would likely be interested, or maybe some in the south west. Be sure to post the auction link if and when you sell it.

  • Anonimous

    I saw a friend (bernard planche) today he showed me one of zapata’s guns made with golden drawings that he got from an old friend’s grandfather who fought alongside to zapata. I’d like to send you some pictures but you should maybe ask bernard planche instead. (sorry i’m french!)

    • Anonimous, I would love photos If you can get them!

  • I would like to see them Too. Thanks

  • Anonimous

    Sorry but i can’t email you photos. It’s a private collection! Sorry again!

    • Anonimous, no worries.

  • yuehan allum

    Wait so what model and company revolver is that? is it Spanish copy S&W model 3,or a S&W no. 4 ? Also is this single or double action

  • instagram

    I related to him my name faith Zapata

  • Faith Zapata

    I’m on 11 but I’m proud of my great great great grandfather