Having an incredibly short barrel at 2.5in (64mm) and overall length of 6 inches (or 152mm), the British Bulldog was easy to conceal, unlike other pistols and revolvers at the time. Furthermore, the weapon is double-action, has a solid frame and is chambered to fire the .44 Short rimfire.
The weapon, unsurprisingly, had fixed sights and being small, large numbers still exist, largely due to not being used or having very little use many being stored away in forgotten holes.
The British Bulldog was originally produced in Great Britain. However copies began appearing in the late 1800's, mainly originating from Belgium. Other copies were produced in France, Spain and the U.S.
Even smaller versions were produced, chambered to fire the .320 and .380 calibers, although these versions were not marketed as British Bulldogs. Little is known about these models.
The British Bulldog was originally chambered to fire the .44 short rimfire round. Quickly, however, the revolver was chambered to fit larger rounds such as the .442 Webley and .450 Adams. These were shot from a five-shot cylinder.
As mentioned previously, unmarketed British Bulldogs were able to shoot .320 and .380 rounds.
The British Bulldog became popular with plain clothed police officers and detectives throughout the British Empire, thanks to its small size. Although production ended in 1914, the weapon remained popular until the end of the Second World War.
Perhaps, most famously, a Belgian variant was the gun used to shoot United States President Garfield in the early 1880s.
The British Bulldog is a highly desirable collector's gun, the larger caliber variations being the most desired due to their ammunition no longer being in production. Many examples remain, mainly due to their lack of use.
- Ian V. Hogg - Illustrated Encyclopedia of Firearms, Modern Small Arms