1 The origin of the MR-93: a short history of modern french revolvers The Manufacture du Haut Rhin (Manurhin) has produced handguns at least since the end of WWII. At the end of the war, it started producing Walther handguns (PP, PPk and P38) that the german company couldn't produce any more. For a very long time after the end of WWII, the french policemen had very poor handguns. Most of them had single action .32ACP Unique Pistols. Although they were adapted to concealed carry, their stopping power was much less than adequate and overpenetration was a major problem. The french police had several cases of innocent people killed by bullets after they touched their intended target . Although the policemen were aware of their problems, their administrative managers did not acknowledge it for several decades. The situation started to change when, at the end of the sixties, Mr. Raymond Sasia, then director of the french national police, visited the FBI. He became convinced that the .357 magnum revolver is the ideal handgun for standard police duties , where self defense is their primary use. The creation of a new french revolver started at the beginning of the seventies. It was a collaboration between Manurhin and the technical services of the french national police. The requirements for this revolver were: - high quality - Great robustness - Great accuracy So that the gun could be used both for service duties and ISU competitions. This study produced the MR-73. The gun was entirely made of high quality forged steel and it was a remarkable success: it statisfied all its requirements. Some MR-73 have been tested for durability. The test was abandonned after 170'000 full power Norma .357 were shot. So, the real lifetime of this revolver is not known. It is also the only revolver with a trigger which is both DA/SA and whose weight is adjustable. Its double action is also the smoothest of all revolvers. Its accuracy is match grade out of the box. Unhappily, this gun requires more than 12 hours of manual adjustments. This amount of handwork makes it very expensive. It was so expensive that it was only purchased for the special units of the french polices (and by civilians). Other units got some special order S&W 3" mod 19 and Some Ruger Security Six as a provisory solution. In the same time variations of the MR-73, specialized for ISU competitions and metallic silouette were created. The most famous are the MR-38 match (chambered in .38 MIDRANGE special wadcutter), the MR-32 match (in .32 SWLW), the MR-22 Silouette. A convertible model, chambered .38, .32 and .22 has also been produced. All the competition guns have special signle action only and adjustable triggers. In order to produce a more affordable handgun, Manurhin signed an agreement with Sturm Ruger. They got Ruger's investment casting technology and know how. They did also start the production of a new revolver. Although it had different names, it was finally known as the MR-88. Thisd revolver kept the cylinder and barrel of the MR-73, but the frame was the one of the Security Six. The french police was then issued this gun. After this gun was released, Manurhin started producing a new revolver truely on his own. they tried to create an entirely new gun, based on their knowledge of investment casting, machine tools and manufacturing. This new model would finally be called the MR-93. Pieces are all cast, except the barrel and the cylinder whixh are still the ones of the MR-73, although they are differently finished. The most interesting aspect of the manufacturing of the MR-93 is that, once it has been cast, each piece is machined on a specific CNC system, where tolerances are automatically checked with lasers, and maintained within 1/100 of milimeter. Then, it is stored. Revolvers are assembled upon the reception of an order, within four hours. This means that there is very little or no manual adjustment at all. The MR-93 was released in, you guessed it, 1993. It is selling well in europe. It is now becoming the ordnance pistol of the french national police. I got mine as soon as it was comercially available In Switzerland, so it is one of the earliest models. 2 Description The gun is sold in a large plastic box. It contains an excellent multilingual manual. It describes both the use of the gun and its complete disassembly. A set of modular front sights (and a fixed rear one) is also distributed in this case. More on this later. You cannot confuse the MR-93 with any other revolver. Its silouette is absolutely unique. Someone on the net qualified it as "cubist". I disagree with this adjective, but it is much more angulous than conventional revolvers (i.e. S&W and Colts). The triggerguard is squared, which is unique among revolers. More surprising, the cylinder release does not lie at the usual place. It lies on the crane, as with the Dan Wessons, but on the opposite side. The main consequence is that the cylinder can be released and open with a single hand, in a single, fluid gesture. Another difference is that the cylinder is locked by a vertical pin under the barrel, plus the usual horizontal one at the rear end on the cylinder. The trigger is modular. In other words, it lies on a lateral plate, which can be easily removed (the manual explains how). It can then be tuned more easily. Manurhin claimed that it is preparing an additonal match grade trigger as an aftermarket piece. I don't know however wether they did ever release it. The barrel is modular too. As on the Dan Wesson, it is distinct of its casing. Space between the barrel and the cylinder is thus very easy to adjust. In addition, the barrel's casing can easily be fitted undependently so that the front sight lies vertically. Contrary to the Dan Wessons, changing the barrel requires that you send your gun to the factory. Barrels are made in 3", 4", 5.25" and 6" currently. I guess that some 8" or 10" barrels will be made for metallic silouette. Sights are modular too. The guns is delivered with an excellent adjustable rear sight and a triangular front one, with an orange insert. but you can change it with on of the other ones delivered with the revolver. A low profile fixed rear sight is also delivred with the MR-93, with the corresponding front sights. Although this idea is excellent, the front sights (and the fixed rear one) are made of two piece of cheap plastic. They are fragile and I cannot discard the risk that one be broken in the case of a close range fight. Another problem is that once a given front sight is fitted on the revolver, removing it breaks it. As a consequence, it is wise to have a few sets of front sights for this gun in reserve. Grips are modular too. Two types of grips can be fitted, and they are available in three sizes (small, mediuma and large). You can have a rather standard and conventional wooden grip or an orthopedic wooden grip made by Claudio Morini. The MR use a single grip which wraps around a skeleton containing the hammer and its spring, a la Dan Wesson. The cylinder is the one of the MR-73, but is is finished differently. Instead of being fluted, there are serrations at the places where you usually see the "fluting". The distance between the cylinder and the barrel is really small. It is the smallest that I have ever seen. Note that the cylinder rotates clockwise, i.e. "Colt Style". As the Rugers and the Colts, the MR-93 uses the Iver Jhonson internal safety. This means that it has a retractable transfer bar and that the firing pin is separate from the hammer and that it lies in the frame. The frame of the MR-93 is extremely strong and has a reinforcement just behind the cylinder. This revolver can be easily considered in the Super Strong class, with the S&W N frames, GP-100 and so on. The MR-93 is only supplied in a black matte finish. It is not the best feature of the gun. On my gun, in two places on the rear cylinder shields, it turned into some matte grey spots. The barrel casing is marked "made in France" on the left side, and "Manurhin" on the right one. The mark "Cal. .357 Mag." lies on the cylinder, between two serrated zones. Finally, the serial number lies on the top of the frame, on the right side. The serial number is well engraved. the marks on the barrel casing are quite well done, but the one on the cylinder is really superficial. the last letter is now almost invisible and the previous one is hard to see. 3 Manipulations and shooting When I take it in hand, the most striking think is how well, the Morini grips are adaptedt to my hand. The trigger is quite large, whith a smooth face. It is at the right distance of the grips and the trigger finger finds its proper position naturally. Although it is not as prefect as the one of the Mr-73, the double action of the MR-93 comes very close. Several shooters of the MR-73 who tried my gun were impressed by the quality of the DA. This is even more impressive when you notice how simple the trigger mechanism is. In DA, the course is absolutely smooth, and the force to exert on the trigger remains very constant on the whole course. In addition, the time where the cylinder locks and the time where the hammer falls down are closer than on a S&W, and that there is no significant change in the trigger's weight when the cylinder locks. All these factors combine to make the double action one of the very best. I have only found some better ones on tuned Pythons, on MR-73 and on Korths. Although it is good, the single action is not exceptional. It is a little bit less good than the one of my S&W 686, which is very close to the perfection. Anyway, it's still much better than the one of the GP-100. The barrel is surprisingly low, and the MR-93 points exceptionally well. The MR-93 is quite heavy and muzzle heavy too. This helps with hot loads. the gun does not raise as much as a 686. I do not have the ransom rest and the reloading experience that a serious accuracy testing requires. But I notice that, in my experience, this gun is extremely accurate. It is at least as good as any 6" S&W 686 or even better. Even with the hottest loads, recoils is more than managable. I guess that this is due both to its low barrel and to the orthopedic grips. I have been able to shoot some hot .357 (usually 125Gn) both quickly and accurately in DA. In other words, the MR-93 shoots very well and quickly. Its chambers are really tight. I am convinced that this improves accuracy. On another hand, I have pressure problems with the Remingon .357 125Gn SJHP. The three first cylinders are shot without any problem. But, during the later ones, I get a few cases where the primer is partially extracted after the shot. In many cases it blocks the rotation of the cylinder, which must be helped with the hand. I had one case of a half extracted primer, where the only solution was to open the cylinder (which was not easy). The strenght of the frame is such that there is however no safety problem. The Remington .357 110 GN SJHP did however not cause any problem. The firing pin is another source of problems: its course is a little bit short. There is a risk of failure to fire the round. Some brands of ammo (especially the cheap ones like MagTech) are especially vulnerable to this problem. I did however never have any firing problem with quality ammunition, like Remington, Winchester and so on. My conclusion is that Manurhin proved that modern manufacturing techniques are not reserved to cheap revolvers. they can be used to produce first rate ones. While Ruger is still producing revolvers which may be judged acceptable FOR THE MONEY, Manurhin proved that investment casting, CNCs, and so on can be used to produced true legends in a modern way. Its handling and shooting capablilites with hot .357 ammo are truely remarkable. On another hand, the MR-93 has a few minor mistakes which keep it from being the absolute winner it could be. The two ones which must absolutely be corrected are the cheap plastic front sights and the too short firing pin. 4 Accessories Accessories for french revolvers are much less frequent than ones for US made ones. The MR-93 is not an exception. In addition, the squared triggerguard makes it harder to find good holsters. The french company GK Productions makes a few excellent shoulder holsters compatible with the MR-93. On another hand, their belt holsters must be avoided at all cost: the triggerguard is not covered. Some holsters for the King Cobra may be ok for the Manurhin too, it depends on the was the triggerguard is covered. If memory serves me, there's a DeSantis which works well with it. SKS makes some speedloaders which work with the MR-93 It's the model 10. I did not hear of aftermarket grips for the MR-93. 5 Evaluation for traditional target shooting (ISU) The MR-93 is accurate enough for ISU centerfire shooting. It is quite muzzle heavy, which is good for the duel part. When you add an orthopedic grip contoured with your own hand, you get a near perfect ergonomy. On another hand, its standard trigger is not as light as the one of competition pistols and revolvers. Unhappily, I don't know what is the situation of the match trigger wich was previously announced. For formal ISU competition, I recommend the 5.25" configuration. It is barely shorter than a 6", yet it gives much more flexibility for the orthopedic grips. 6 Evaluation for IPSC For IPSC, the MR-93 is comparable to most other revolvers. Its release system is likely to accelerate reloading, but I don't know if it is important enough to have measurable effects. 7 Evaluation for personal defense For personal defense, be sure to select a brand of ammo which is both regularly available in your area and which works without any problem. The Remington 110Gn SJHP satisfies these conditions. It loses some stopping power over the 125Gn SJHP, but its more limited penetration, lower flash and noise makes it ideally adapted to urban situations. In addition, its stopping power is still more than decent. For home defense, I do no see any restriction to the use of the MR-93. For concealed carry, you should keep in mind that this revolver is big (it is service sized) and that the front sights are fragile. So, be sure to find an adapted holster. 8 Evaluation for more specialized uses Revolvers do not look any more adapted to special operations. Self loaders are usually preferred. The french special police units do however use the MR-73 as their standard sidearm. When I compare the MR-73 and 93, I do not see any reason why they could not replace the MR-73, which is no longer manufacured, with the MR-93, except, maybe, the fragile front sights.  Dominique Venner Les armes de poing de la nouvelle generation Jacques Grancher 1988James Bardwell adds: Century International Arms is now (6/95) advertising the MR73 revolver for sale in the USA, which is also mentioned in the article, and they are claiming they will now be importing the Manurhin line. The MR73 is around $1100 dealer cost, with a 6 inch barrel. It comes with a manual, an allen wrench, cleaning rod and a second front sight.