Tag Archives: .38 revolver

Webley .38 Revolver

The Webley .455 revolver had been the standard firearm of the British Army since 1887, with its powerful bullet designed to stop a charging native in his tracks. Following service throughout the First World War it was decided in the early 1930s to replace it with a smaller and lighter firearm firing a .38 cartridge which would be easier to train soldiers with as the recoil would be substantially reduced.imageWebley came up with a .38 version of their famous revolver and submitted it for trials, whereupon the British military took the revolver and gave it to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, who changed it enough to avoid infringing patents and the British Army adopted the Enfield made Revolver, No2 Mk1 in 1931. Webley sued and were awarded £2250. There the matter might have remained if not for the outbreak of the Second World War.

With the outbreak of the Second World War there was a massive shortfall in small arms for British Empire troops and manufacturers were encourages to maximize output, therefore Webley was officially contracted to produce their previously rejected .38 revolver for the British Army. This revolver was also classified as Revolver, No 2 Mk1 as were other .38 revolvers from the United States such as the Smith and Wesson Victory revolver. This led to the absurd situation where officially an armourer had a matching set of Revolver No2 Mk1 on stock, however they could be of four different patterns with no matching parts!

The gun itself is a top breaking revolver with a six cartridge capacity, it weighs 2.4lb unloaded and had an effective range of 50 yards. The manufacturers name is clearly visible moulded into the grips:imageThe revolver is undated, but is marked ‘War Finish’ on the frame indicating it was manufactured for the War Department.imageThis example has been deactivated by fitting a rod down the barrel, removing the firing pin and filling up the cylinder:imageOn the base of the grip is a ring for attaching to a lanyard to prevent the revolver being lost or stolen:imageThe Webley revolver was an iconic weapon and remained in service up until the widespread introduction of the Browning Automatic Pistol in 1963, many revolvers being in mint condition when withdrawn due to a lack of ammunition to fire!