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Enfield/Webley .38 Revolver/Pistol 1942 - British Small Arms Training- Manual

Item #1018: $8.95
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Enfield/Webley .38 Revolver/Pistol 1942 - British Small Arms Training- Manual

16 pages, about 8" x 6", glossy soft-cover in full color. New re-print restored and digitally enhanced from a nice original. Printed on high quality 20# 97 bright acid free paper. Fully Illustrated.


The official service pistol for the British military during the Second World War was the Enfield No. 2 Mk I .38/200 calibre revolver,[11] but owing to a critical shortage of handguns, a number of other weapons were also adopted (first practically, then officially) to alleviate the shortage. As a result, both the Webley Mk IV in .38/200 and the .455 calibre Webley Mk VI were issued to personnel during the war.


There are three of these manuals, British, Australian and Canadian. The British and Canadian share some illustrations but are different. The Austrailian uses photos and is different still.

Contents - Index:

  • Pages: 16

Abby: This was taken from 'Handguns Of The World' by Edward C. Ezell, 1981, ISBN 0-88029-618-6 :-

Quote: Page 504 : The Inter-War Years.

"After the war, the British War Office announced that the revolver would remain the standard handgun of the army. In 1922,the development of a lighter revolver with a small calibre was approved, but the bullet had to have stopping power nearly equal to that of the .455 (11.5MM). Webley & Scott was commissioned to carry out these experiments, and over the next five years the firm produced a series of prototype models patterned after their .38 (9mm) Mark III - not to be confused with the Government Mark III- and the military .455 (11.5mm) Mark IV.

Unhappy with Webley & Scott's progress, Enfield took control of this project in 1926 and continued to modify the basic revolver design until an acceptable one was approved - Pistol,Revolver, .38 No.2 Mark 1.

This .38 (9mm) Webley Special calibre revolver fired a 13-gram lead projectile, which had a muzzle energy of 200 joules. To satisfy the Geneva Convention requirements, the British in 1938 substituted a 12 -gram nickel jacketed bullet for the lead bullet.

The .38 calibre (9mm) Enfield No.2, Mark 1 revolver was well received by most British Military users, with the exception of the Royal Tank Regiment. Officers of the armored forces complained that the hammer spur caught on the interior surfaces of their tanks when crew members tried to enter or vacate their vehicles. As a consequence, the pistol, the Pistol, Revolver No.2, Mark 1* was introduced on June 22 1938.

It was basically the same pistol as the N0.2, Mark 1, the thumb spur and single-action notch on the hammer were removed so that the pistol could be fired double-action only. The mainspring was altered so as to reduce the trigger pull from 6.5 to 7.5 kilograms to 5.5 to 6.5 kilograms. The Mark 1* had a new pattern grip plate to make the pistol easier to hold and fire. "
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I have several comments to make on this from my own active service experiences in Malaya, Korea and Kenya.
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World War II. 1939 to 1945.

"On 29 July 1942. the Mark 1**, on which the hammer stop had been omitted, was introduced in an attempt to speed up wartime production. In practice, this was a dangerous change, because without the hammer stop the pistol would go off when dropped accidentally. At the war's end, Mark 1** pistols were recalled and reworked to the Mark 1* pattern with the addition of the hammer stop.
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The article goes on to state:- "The Enfield No.2 Mark 1* revolver was the final evolution of the British Hand gun before the adoption of the Fabrique Nationale 1935 GP self-loader in 1957."
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'Small Arms Of The World', by the same author, gives much the same story but with one or two extra snippets of information on page 293:-

Enfield Revolvers
"As previously noted. the British Government and Webley & Scott parted company on uniformity of design in 1926 when the No.2 Mark 1 Enfield pistol was in prototype form. The No.2 Mark 1 had many of the best features of the .455 Webley Mark VI and in addition had a removable firing pin mounted on the hammer (all the earlier Webley government revolvers had a fixed hammer nose type firing pin) and a removable side plate. These features had appeared in the commercial .38 Webley Mark 111."
(Emphasis mine !).
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Personally I had always maintained that the .38 Mk III Webley Commercial Model was a much better finished and more accurate pistol in all respects. We had quite a few of them in Kenya Government Service.

Altogether the Webley .455 Mark VI was a much more accurate and superior pistol altogether. The rather puny .38/200 ammunition was only effective at very close ranges, i.e. room distance ! But it would not have been nice to have been hit by any .38 calibre revolver.

About the Royal Tank Regiment preference for de-spurred hammers. On active service I found that all British Military pistols carried a lanyard ring, it being considered undesirable to lose one's personal weapon in some excited dust up. The lanyard was secured generally under one's left shoulder epaulette. The webbing flap secured holster being fitted on the left side of the body with the pistol butt forward, i.e. normal cross drawing situation for a right handed person.

From experience I found that in upsets, such as disembarking from a vehicle in somewhat of a hurry in an ambush situation, said lanyard invariable tangled around the jeep gear levers and other vehicle projections. Once when slammed into a Padi rice field from a 350 cc military Matchless motor cycle by a large truck fleeing an ambush in Johore, my lanyard got caught in the handlebars as I bailed out in the mud, drawing my .455 S & W, and slamming it under my chin! I could see, and feel the scar for years afterwards when shaving. That indeed was caused by the hammer spur.

Another time in the sometimes more primitively equipped Kenya, I was standing up in the stirrups hauling back on a runaway iron mouthed Police Horse, when the right stirrup leather snapped. I landed on my right hip on the off side, luckily with a tight grip on the reins the horse stopped immediately, as I literally bounced to my feet. Once again the lanyard retained my revolver, but with a hellish bruise on my right hip bone.

About a year later I had to conduct the military funeral for one of our young Kenya Police Inspectors, who also came off a runaway horse, but got his foot trapped through a stirrup and was dragged to his death.

Pistols, Horses, Jeeps, Motor Cycles, Small Boats, Parachutes, Airplanes, and the odd terrorist with a gun, or similar attractive nuisances, can be quite lethal to the young and unwary, or just the habitually unlucky.

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Well there you are, all my Pistol anecdotes as promised.

Harry James
03/05/10