Having previously read and quite enjoyed Gordon Bruce’ Evolution of Military Automatic Pistols, I was looking forward to checking out his much more in-depth volume on the Webley semiautos, appropriately titled Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols. Webley automatics don’t seem to very widely known here in the US, despite being an important part of semiauto pistol development. They are really all the work of a single man, William Whiting, and Bruce’ book does a good job of giving a reader insight into the man’s career and achievements. Whiting’s pistols almost certainly allowed Webley & Scott to remain in business during the slow periods between military revolver contracts, and he is to be commended for the amount of effort he put into the somewhat Sisyphean task of developing a reliable military semiauto pistol around a rimmed revolver cartridge.
Ultimately, he was able to produce a number of successful civilian and police pistols, and did manage to achieve the golden egg is firearms design; a prestigious military contract (in his case, with the Royal Navy). Unfortunately the timing of that contract was beyond his control, and his pistol was basically abandoned by the Navy when World War I broke out and new developments were suddenly relegated to the back shelf.