The Martin-Marres-Braendlin Mitrailleuse Pistol was an unusual pistol design featuring four barrels (like the more famous Lancaster Pistol). The "Martin Mitrailleuse" (as it became known) was designed by Abraham Martin and produced by the Birmingham based Braendlin Armoury.
As mentioned earlier, the most prominant features of the Martin Mitrailleuse were the four 6in long barrels that protruded from the frame. Each barrel chambered a single .476 calibre Enfield cartridge and its own, separate, firing pin. The firing pins were linked to the trigger via a simple single action system which meant that the trigger would need to be pulled for each shot, pushing the firing pins one at a time.
The Martin Mitrailleuse was breech loaded, with a break-barrel design (similar to the Lancaster) which meant that the barrels were hinged at the bottom of the frame. A single blade front sight, mounted in between the upper pair of barrels, fulfilled the role of the sights, while the grip was fitted with a saddle ring to allow the Martin Mitrailleuse to be clipped to the shooters belt.
The Martin Mitrailleuse lacked any real safety features with (British gunmaker) W.W. Greener suggesting that the Martin Mitrailleuse was "safe, insomuch as it can never be laid aside and cocked". One problem with the operating mechanism was the fact that the recoil energy could, accidently, set off a second pin and therefore fire a second shot without the user pulling the trigger.
The Martin Mitrailleuse, in an attempt to persuade British Officers to buy it, was chambered to accept the .476 Enfield cartridge, which had been adopted as one of the British Military's official sidearm cartridges. One .476 Enfield could be pushed into each of the barrels, giving the Martin Mitrailleuse a total capacity of four shots.
The Martin Mitraileuse was never a popular pistol, despite initial interest from British Officers, with total production figures thought to be in the hundereds. The main problem for the Martin Mitrailleuse was the issue previously highlighted (ie the accidental discharge through recoil) persuaded many potential customers that the Martin Mitrailleuse was not safe. This combined, with the fact that the Lancaster Pistol and Webley Revolvers had grown in popularity, prevented the Martin Mitrailleuse from becoming one of the most popular firearms.
After 8 years of production the Martin Mitrailleuse was largely forgotten, as the Braendlin Armoury company was closed in 1888 and, with production figures lower than 1,000, the Martin Mitrailleuse was lost to history as very few examples are known to exist.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Firearms - Ian V. Hogg