Casimir Lefaucheux
Born(1802-01-26)26 January 1802
Bonnétable, France
Died9 August 1852(1852-08-09) (aged 50)
Paris, France

Casimir Lefaucheux (French: [kazimiʁ ləfoʃø]; 26 January 1802 – 9 August 1852) was a French gunsmith. He was born in Bonnétable, France and died in Paris, France.

Casimir Lefaucheux obtained his first patent in 1827. In 1832, he completed a drop-barrel sporting gun with paper-cased cartridges.[1]

Lefaucheux is credited with the development of one of the first efficient self-contained cartridge systems. This 1835 invention, featuring a pinfire mechanism, followed the pioneering work of Jean Samuel Pauly in 1808-1812. The Lefaucheux cartridge had a conical bullet, a cardboard powder tube, and a copper base that incorporated a primer pellet.[2] Lefaucheux thus proposed one of the first practical breech-loading weapons.[3]

In 1846, Benjamin Houllier improved on the Lefaucheux system by introducing an entirely metallic cartridge of copper brass.[2]

In 1858, the Lefaucheux pistolet-revolver became the first metallic-cartridge revolver to be adopted by a national government, becoming the standard sidearm of the French Navy.[2]

In May 1866, Ferdinand Cohen-Blind attempted to assassinate Otto Von Bismarck with a Pepper-box in Lefaucheux pistol

A 7 mm Lefaucheux revolver, used by Paul Verlaine to shoot and wound Arthur Rimbaud in 1873, sold for €435,000 at a 2016 Paris auction.[4][5]

It is thought likely that the gun with which the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh fatally shot himself in a field in 1890 was a 7 mm Lefaucheux pinfire revolver. The pistol was found, extremely corroded, in 1960 and is on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.[6][7]



  1. ^ Walter, John (25 March 2006). Rifles of the World. Krause Publications. ISBN 9780896892415 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c Kinard, Jeff (1 January 2004). Pistols: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781851094707 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact - Page 15 by James H. Willbanks [1]
  4. ^ "Gun that almost killed Arthur Rimbaud sells for €435,000 at Paris auction". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 30 November 2016.
  5. ^ "L'arme avec laquelle Verlaine a tiré sur Rimbaud vendue aux enchères 435 000 euros". Le 30 November 2016 – via Le Monde.
  6. ^ "The whole truth about Van Gogh's ear, and why his 'mad genius' is a myth". The Guardian. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Van Goghs ziekte, oor en zelfmoord voor het eerst uitvoerig belicht" [Van Gogh's illness, ear and suicide extensively discussed for the first time]. Van Gogh Museum (in Dutch). 12 July 2016. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.