This is a strong untouched example of a Colt 1889 revolver with the scarcer 3" barrel length in caliber .38 Colt. One thing that makes these short barrel Colts so interesting is that most people who purchased them had occupations that required a certain amount of discretion but were anticipating trouble, i.e. lawmen, detectives, bankers, outlaws, etc. This particular gun has been in one family for many years and comes with a verbal story about the original owner. Standard blued finish with checkered hard rubber grips with "COLT" at the tops of each panel...correct for the Model 1889. Since this is the short barrel variation, it has the condensed 3-line barrel address with correct 1884 and 1888 patent dates.
The Model 1889 was Colt's first Double Action Revolver with a swing-out cylinder; a landmark gun that became the basis for all modern American-made revolvers including Smith and Wesson. It's often hard for people to believe that this gun...with all its advances was actually produced during the 19th century. While Colt introduced several subsequent model DA's in the form of the Models 1892, 1894, 1895, etc., the Model 1889 is easy to spot from other Colt DA's due to the long cylinder flutes...collectors love the look of these but the trade-off was there were no safety notches to lock up the cylinder. Instead, the cylinder rotates and gently locks up on the ratchets of the star located on the rear of the cylinder face. Colt produced the 1889 for only five years before it was finally supplanted by the Model 1892 which was basically the same design but with cylinder stops...which resulted in short cylinder flutes. One interesting aspect of these guns is that towards the end of production, both Models 1889 and 1892 shared the same frames...as you'll find late 1889's with empty slots in the bottom of the frame for a bolt to engage the cylinder stops. Over the years, we've seen several of these and this is just such a gun. The serial number is in the high 31,000 range which makes this one of the last ones built in the year 1894.
Overall condition is NRA Excellent with 80% original blue that is starting to tone brown in places. Sides of hammer still retain most of their original bright polish with 50% fire blue on rear face of hammer and trigger. Very Good screws overall...and still retain respectable amounts of their original fire blued finish. Hard rubber grips are in excellent shape with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Nice action with a fine bore.