The Welrod pistol used a manually operated rotating bolt. The knurled knob at the back of the gun would be rotated and the bolt pulled back to extract a fired case, and the pushed forward and rotated to lock a new cartridge in the chamber. The magazine was encased in a rubber sleeve, and formed the grip of the gun. The trigger mechanism was simple, but did include a functional grip safety. The Welrod was made in both 9x19mm and .32ACP calibers – this one is a 9mm example. The two types can be easily differentiated by the trigger guard – the 9mm model has one and the .32 does not.

The suppressor portion of the gun was very much a disposable unit, which would only last about 15 shots before performance began to decline quickly. Expected effective range of the gun was 8 yards at night, and 25 in daylight. This was a gun designed for a very specific purpose, and not intended to be used in general service. For example, the muzzle was made a bit concave, explicitly to improve sound reduction when pressed into a target.

They were used by British and American covert units (remaining in British service into the 1960s), and some were also airdropped to European resistance groups, primarily the Danes. For more photos and an excellent history of the weapon, I recommend Anders Thygesen’s excellent page on the Welrod.


  1. THANK YOU for these photos. Are they photos you took, or did someone send them to you? If you took the photos, I would greatly enjoy certain photos showing certain other details, if possible.

    In either case, these photos themselves are greatly helpful. Cheers!

  2. in 32 acp this is an excellent gun for indoor shooting while not annoying the neighbours
    by the way im looking for information on a wwII german silenced carbine in 9×19 mm using luger p08 magazines
    integrated in a wooden stock as i know there where build only a few prototypes for the german gestapo

  3. WELROD Silent Mk 1, Mk 2
    Birmingham Small Arms (BSA), England
    Mk 2: 9 mm Parabellum (9×19 NATO, Para, Luger),
    Mk 1: 7,65 mm Browning Short (7,65×17 SR, 7,8×17,5, .32 ACP – Automatic Colt Pistol .30 Browning)
    Welrod pistol was developed in UK by Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.), a government organisation which was tasked with intellegence, diversions and other special operations as well as support of the various anti-Hitler resistance movements in occupied Europe. Most of such operations were clandestine by nature and required special equipment, including special weapons. The ordinary silencers for semi-automatic pistols were well known and well developed by the WW2, but there still was the sound of the reciprocating slide during the discharge of the pistol, which was quite audible at night or in other ‘quiet’ environments. To solve this problem, British engineers decided to use manually operated action for the proposed gun. Early prototypes of the new silenced weapon were developed during second half of the 1942,

  4. Would someone please explain to me how you can make a ‘suppressed’ (because no gun is silenced) weapon in 9X19? Is the barrel so short that the normal muzzle velocity is not reached?
    Why did they not use the .45 ACP cartridge, which has much more power yet can be suppressed, as it was in the De Lisle carbine.

    • There are vent holes in the rear half of the barrel that bleed off gasses to limit muzzle velocity. Combined with a heavy bullet, it is not much trouble to make 9×19 subsonic.

  5. There is, or at least seems to be, a reference to the Welrod in the weekly report from SS chief in the occupied Netherlands, Hanns Albin Rauter, to his boss in Berlin, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. On september 27th, 1943, he writes about `the E-game droppings’ – i.e. the Englandspiel, in which the German secret service outwitted the British Special Operations Executive, which had dozens of Dutch agents dropped at night over the Netherlands, straight into the Germans’ hands. Not only the agents (most of whom were killed afterwards in Mauthausen) but also radio sets and weapons were captured by the Germans. `I presume’, Rauter writes, `you have already received the new pistol, which fires without a sound. I fired her myself. She is zeroed in on 60 metres. You can hit every breast at 60 metres, day and night. I regard this weapon as an extremely dangerous affair, which in the near future will be vigorously used for Kopfjägerei (assasinations).’
    The weapon described can hardly be anything else than the Welrod, although Rauters estimate of the pistol being accurate up to 60 metres seems highly exagerrated.
    Unfortunately, Himmler had not received the captured pistol yet and waited for its arrival in vain. On october 6th, he wrote Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Agency), that he wished to have `such things brought to my notice within 24 hours after they have been discovered, and, in important cases, they should be delivered to me by plane within another 24 hours. Please ruthlessly lock up those who are responsible in the Reichssicherheitshauptamt for three days and see to it that this bad communications system is altered fundamentally… It can’t go on like this, me as Reichsführer-SS always being the worst informed and the last to know.’
    We can’t be really certain that the pistol involved was a Welrod, and we don’t know whether Himmler received it in the end and what he thought of it. We also don’t know what happened to the hapless SS agents who had failed to inform their highest commander. Their fate cannot have been much worse than that of Himmler himself, who bit a cyanide capsule in 1945, or Kaltenbrunner, who was hanged at Nuremberg in 1946, or Rauter, who was executed by a Dutch firing squad in march 1949.

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