What is this Welrod Silent Pistol?
The Welrod is a British bolt action, magazine fed, suppressed pistol devised during World War II.
If you’re a World War II historian or a collector, you should have a look at this pistol.
It was used primarily by the British SOE but was also used by the American OSS and Resistance forces.
This was a typical firearm of that period for espionage.
For that reason the Welrod is still well known even today.
Even though not in production there are limited ownership thats controlled by the ATF.
Yes, for the collector you can own this firearm with a suppressor.
The Welrod was a “sanitised” weapon, meaning that it had no markings indicating its manufacturer or country of origin; it was only marked with a serial number and some inscrutable symbols and letters. The Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA) confirmed that they manufactured some Welrod pistols, but that they put no markings at all on them, so it is likely that any markings were added by the British military after delivery.
The Welrod was used in Denmark during World War II, and is reported to have been used during the 1982 Falklands War, throughout The Troubles in Northern Ireland and during operation Desert Storm by British Special Forces. Welrod guns were also found in weapons caches from Operation Gladio.
The Welrod is a suppressed bolt action pistol that was developed by the British Secret Intelligence Service (SOE back then) around the middle of the Second World War.
It’s the archetypical firearm of that period of espionage.
Sound interesting? Good!
Originally, the Welrod was designed by Major Hugh Reeves, a British engineer who also originated other important espionage weapons, similar to the single-shot sleeve gun.
The Welrod was devised for use by resistance forces and other irregular military forces but was primarily used by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a World War II British espionage organization that was established in 1940 and disbanded shortly after the end of the war.
The Welrod was also used by the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the predecessor of the modern Central Intelligence Agency, by Danish special forces, and various Allied resistance forces.
Due to the secretive nature of the work that the Welrod was used for, most of the information was classified to the general public. This weapon may have been used secretly by other forces which didn’t make the history books.
Because it was designed to deceive, the Welrod was also known as “the Assassin’s Pistol.”
Whats incredible about the Welrod is the suppressor. The suppressor itself is effective compared to the modern suppressors.
However, this is at a cost of rate of fire and effective range.
When fired, the Welrod produces only 73db this is about the same volume as the average vacuum cleaner.
From the get go the appearance of the Welrod was designed for espionage.
When disassembled, the Welrod resembles generic industrial piping.
The gun is essentially comprised of a foot long cylinder with a diameter of 1.25 inches.
At the back of the cylinder is where the bolt and a knurled knob that functions as the bolt handle. The ported barrel and the suppressor’s expansion chamber located in the middle. The front houses the baffles and wipes of the suppressor.
Welrod also is known as the “bicycle pump” by its users.
When you attach the detachable magazine which acts as the pistol grip, it becomes clearer of its functions.
The Welrod’s ported barrel is the important piece that keeps the gun quiet; it slowly releases the gas into the suppressor and limits the bullet velocity to below subsonic speeds. The baffles and rubber wipes support the former function by slowing the gases even more.
One major flaw is that the wipes loses its effectiveness after 12 shots.
Not exactly what you want to storm Omaha beach with, but perfect for taking out an important person up close…
With the limited firepower, accuracy was the primary design goal for the weapon. Though the gun’s maximum suggested range is 25-yards, it was realistically used at point-blank range.
The Welrod was equipped with fluorescent sights for quick target acquisition similar to the modern day Trijicon sights used in low-light conditions.
The bolt-action design was chosen because it is quiet, but also fast and reliable.
However, since the Welrod’s original manufacturing, Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA) has come forward to confirm that they produced some Welrod pistols, but apparently not all of them.
Who else was involved in the production is as much of a secret as who and where the Welrod’s were used against.
Two different versions of the Welrod emerged, the MkII and the MkI.
According to history books MkII was actually the first version of the Welrod to be produced, and by far the more common, about 14,000 were produced.
The MkII was chambered for .32 ACP, a caliber that was used by the German, Italian an dJapanese pistols. This made it possible to use captured ammunition if needed.
this weapon was intended for close quarter one-shot kill, the magazine hel only 8 rounds of .32 ACP.
The MkI was a heavier gun with a lower maagzine capacity redesigned for the 9mm.
The length of the MkI is longer than the MkII by 2.2 inches and weighs 14 ounces more with a magazine only housing 6 rounds.
Historic documents shoed only 2800 were produced and were less popular than the first version.
The only positive side for the MkI is that it was reported to be used more in conflicts during post-World War II, due to being a 9mm.
Rumors also has it that the MkI is being used by Spec Ops forces today…probably just rumors.
Brügger & Thomet VP9
Theres a tranquilizer gun in the vetinarian world called the Brugger & thomet VP9. This tranquilizer resembles the Welrod, was designed to put down injured or dangerous animals without having to get close to the animal and without alarming nearby animals or humans.
Its also interesting that the VP9 documents does not say for “veterinary use only” this probably has opened up loopholes in its usage…
The VP9 works just like the Welrod, with a ported barrel to slow the flow of gas, but it’s not as quiet. Even with subsonic ammunition, the sound of a VP9 firing is 125 decibel, about the same volume as a pneumatic drill or a popping balloon.
The size is a bit more petite than the Welrod, weighing under 32 ounces and measuring about 11 inches in length.
Like the Welrod Mk1, the B&T VP9 is chambered for 9mm, but the VP9’s magazine only holds 5 rounds. The VP9’s magazine can be detached from the receiver, but the suppressor can also be separated.
Also like with the Mk1, there are rumors of the B&T VP9 being used in modern conflicts in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Any Truth in this?
Are there any truth to the use of the Welrod and VP9?
So far there isn’t any official documents stating that any military or intelligence forces using this weapon.
Maybe the Welrod is cemented in deep secrecy that it was never meant to be displayed.
On the other hand, there isn’t any evidence definitively disproving the claims and the Welrod is, of course, an espionage gun.
Considering the gun’s secretive history, who can really say for sure what the truth is?