William Whiting was an engineer who spent his entire adult career with the Webley company, and was responsible for all of their in-house self-loading pistol designs. This work initially focused on a behemoth of a pistol, the Model 1904 intended for military contracts. The gun proved insufficiently attractive to the British military though, leaving Webley with a large R&D outlay with nothing to show for it. The solution was to scale the system way down and look to the civilian market with a pocket automatic in .32ACP.
The first version of this commercial pocket pistol was this model 1905 design. It proved to be a popular concept, and the gun was revised to address a few shortcomings and opportunities for simplification. In its final version, the Model 1908 would prove to be Webley’s best-selling automatic pistol, and it is still a relatively easy gun to find today. However, its 1905 predecessor is far scarcer, and it is interesting to examine the changes made between the two models.