SOLD FOR: $3710
Make: Chicago Firearms
Model: The Protector
Serial Number: 704
Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1890s, Designated Antique by ATF (https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/undefined/curios-and-relics-list-2018/download)
Caliber: .32 Extra Short Rimfire
Action Type: Double Action Only Radial Revolver
Markings: The removable sideplate is marked “CHICAGO FIRE ARMS CO. / CHICAGO. ILL.”, the fixed sideplate is marked “THE PROTECTOR / PAT.MCH.6.83.AUG.29.93”. The inside of the receiver housing, the inside of the sideplate and the cylinder are each marked “704”. The receiver housing and barrel have bands of decorative engraving.
Barrel Length: 1 5/8”
Sights / Optics: None.
Stock Configuration & Condition: There are checkered black hard rubber discs on each side with finger grooves integral to the front of the housing and a checkered black hard rubber panel on the firing paddle. The discs and panel show light handling wear with a small nick on the right disc. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Excellent condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Nickel
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 97% of its metal finish. There are only a few scattered minor marks and faint operational wear. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Excellent condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is a safety lever at one of the finger grooves by the barrel which must be depressed in order to fully engage the lever/trigger. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: Originally developed by a French inventor named Jacques Turbiaux, the “Le Protector” pistol is a fascinating little machine. Turbiaux made some in France, but soon licensed the design to Peter Finnegan who produced them at his Minneapolis Firearms Company which was then moved and became the Chicago Fire Arms Company which sub-contracted production to the Ames Sword Company. Like many other manufacturers and inventors of the time, Finnegan hoped to take advantage of the Chicago World Fair in 1892 to sell a huge quantity of his Protector palm-pistols, contracting for 15,000 to be made. There were only about 13,000 made, taking some 12 years to sell all that were produced from 1892-1898.
While the pistol may look a little odd, it is quite ergonomic and manages to pack seven rounds of .32 Extra Short into its radial cylinder. The mechanism is essentially that of any other double action revolver, except that the trigger is a lever on the rear which is engaged by the palm of the hand and the cylinder is radial, rotating around an axis perpendicular to the bore with the cartridges pointing away from the axis of rotation. The sideplate can be removed by rotating it and then the trigger can be depressed slightly to remove the cylinder for loading and unloading.
This example is in just about the best shape we’ve seen. It retains nearly all of its original nickel finish, strong mechanics, serial matching parts, and the bore condition indicates it has seen very limited, if any actual firing. This fascinating little gun will make a great addition to a collection of pocket pistols and is sure to be a conversation starter with its unique appearance. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud