The Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon Revolver was manufactured in Hartford from circa l847 through to 1850 with a total of about 15,000 produced. A .31 caliber weapon, this baby held five shots in its cylinder.
In order to cut back on the weight of the gun, the loading lever was removed from under the barrel and the front sight was scaled down to a tiny bead. This also helped make the gun more “snag-free”, meaning it was less likely to catch in the lining of the pocket or purse when drawn. Rather important if you wanted to get the drop on a bad guy.
The one on the left has no loading lever; the one on the right does. See it, under the barrel?
The five-shot Baby Dragoon was a scaled down version of the large dragoon revolvers, and were manufactured with barrel lengths of 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″ and a distinctive square-back trigger-guard. The 3” and 4” are reasonable for a pocket revolver, but a 5 or 6” barrel, plus the cylinder and polished wood grip–not exactly a miniature weapon.
The “Baby Dragoon” pistol was more accurate and more powerful than earlier pocket guns, and their lighter weight made them the weapon of choice for Pony Express riders, and the Wells Fargo Company.
Want more info? Check out Colt’s Pocket ’49: Its Evolution, Including the Baby Dragoon & Wells Fargo by Robert M. Jordan & Darrow M. Watt. The book is out of print, but you might be able to find a copy through your local library.