Heavy service revolver

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Brisbane’s Courier Mail, Tuesday 29 June 1937, reporting on Earhart's arrival in Darwin, Australia.
Not an inch nor an ounce is wasted inside the machine. The navigator's table, equipped with electric lamp, chronometer, and numerous gauges, is fashioned across the top of the additional fuel tanks which fill most of the cabin. The sextant is fastened beneath a window. The butt of a heavy service revolver pokes out from a holster near the door of the cabin.

Several have suggested that the flare pistol may have been mistaken for a "service revolver."