This revolver is a cartridge version of an earlier percussion model designed by Alexander Francois Le Mat, a French gun designer. The earlier percussion model obtained notoriety through its popular use by the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
The two unique design points about this weapon were its 9 round capacity revolving chamber and its second fixed barrel capable of firing a single shotgun style round.
Made in France around 1868, it was a somewhat complex design where the lower shot barrel, which is fixed to the center of the breech block, acts also as an axis pin for the revolver cylinder.
The lower frame of the upper barrel has a sleeve which fits over the lower barrel. An extension from this is screwed firmly to the lower frame, making what appears to be a good, rigid joint. The upper barrel and cylinder allowed the weapon to be used as a typycal single-action cartridge revolver, with a Colt style loading gate and a sliding ejector rod.
To load the lower shot barrel, it was necessary to first cock the weapon and then open the side-hinged breech block via the catch visible behind the cylinder. The breechblock has its own firing pin. To ensure that this was struck, a hinged block on the underside of the hammer was first turned downward. The action of opening the breechblock also activated a semicircular extractor which engaged under the rim of the cartridge case and pushed it clear.
This powerful weapon was used in French penal colonies in the second half of the 19th Century, but it does not appear to have been used for military purposes.