Webley Self-Loading Pistol

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Webley Self-Loading Pistol Mk. 1
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1910–1942
Used by United Kingdom
Wars World War I
Production history
Designer Webley & Scott
Designed 1910
Manufacturer Webley & Scott
Produced 1910–1932
Weight 1.13 kilograms (2.5 lb)
Length 216 millimetres (8.5 in)
Barrel length 127 millimetres (5.0 in)

Cartridge .455in W&S Auto
Caliber .455 in (11.55 mm)
Action Short Recoil
Muzzle velocity 236 metres per second (770 ft/s)
Feed system 7-round detachable box magazine

The Webley Self-Loading Pistol was a design in early magazine-fed pistols. The gun was designed in 1910 by the Webley & Scott company. The Mk. 1 entered police service in 1911 in a .38 ACP model for the London Metropolitan Police. The .455 version was adopted by the Royal Navy in 1912 as the first automatic pistol in British service. The pistol was also adopted by the Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Flying Corps.[1] Its predecessor was the unsuccessful Mars Automatic Pistol.


The pistol's original cordite cartridge left a lot of residue in the barrel causing frequent jamming. This was resolved in 1914 with nitrocellulose instead of cordite in the .455 cartridge. This new cartridge for the Mk.1 was called the Mark Iz. Among other things, the pistol was awkward to hold due to its bulk and awkward grip.[2]

One generic problem with semi-automatic pistols, especially among the earlier types, was increased mechanical complexity which created a higher probability of mechanical failings. This was a problem partially caused by cartridge and propellant design issues, and partially caused by the extreme pressure put on small parts after constant use. Another problem with this type was the extreme fouling caused by the original propellant which provoked frequent stoppages.[3]

Improvements and variations[edit]

The first models of the Mk. 1 had the safety on left side of the hammer. This was later moved to the left side of the frame, where it could lock the slide. Service versions were also outfitted with a grip safety.


  1. ^ McNab, Chris (2009). Firearms. Bath, UK: Parragon. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-4075-1607-3. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Kinard, Jeff (2004). Pistols: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-85109-470-7. Soon after World War II the major powers all but abandoned the revolver for standard issue 

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