Webley Self-Loading Pistol

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 .32 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.

Webley Self-Loading Pistol Mk. 1
Webley Self-Loading Pistol
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1910–1942
Used byUnited Kingdom
WarsWorld War I World War 2
Production history
DesignerWebley & Scott
ManufacturerWebley & Scott
Mass1.13 kilograms (2.5 lb)
Length216 millimetres (8.5 in)
Barrel length127 millimetres (5.0 in)

Cartridge.455 Webley Auto
Caliber.455 in (11.55 mm)
ActionShort recoil
Muzzle velocity236 metres per second (770 ft/s)
Feed system7-round detachable box magazine


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.

Had Webley invested in more research and development of its pistol and ammunition and new technologies, the result would have been a better firearm produced more quickly. Particularly given the increasing adoption of the semi-automatic pistol by foreign armed forces and the extensive testing and development data available from previous efforts by other manufacturers.[2]

Improvements and variations

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, The Illustrated Guide to Small Arms of the World. Bath, UK: Parragon. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-4075-1607-3.
  2. Kinard, Jeff (2004). Pistols: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 167; 397. 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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