Welrod Pistol

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Welrod pistol Mark II - .32 ACP. Bizarrely, the Mark II was the first version to enter production.
Welrod pistol Mark I - 9x19mm. The Mark I has a trigger guard and front sight halfway along the weapon rather than near the muzzle; it is somewhat longer and heavier, and has a 6-round magazine as opposed to the Mark II's 8. The lower shot shows the action pulled back after the knurled knob is given a quarter-turn to the left

The Welrod is an unusual British-designed bolt-action, integrally suppressed pistol designed for covert operations during World War 2. Designed by Major Hugh Reeves, the designer of the integral suppressor for the Sten Mk II(S), at the secret Special Operations Executive research and production factory, Station IX, located in an old mansion near Welwyn Garden City, its name takes the Wel prefix used by every device designed there, with rod coming from its shape. The weapon is known as one of the quietest ever designed, producing about 73 decibels, and even less if the gun was fired in contact with the target, something the cutaway muzzle was designed to facilitate. Effective range was given as about 25 yards, but it was generally used at ranges of 13 yards or less.

Two versions were produced: confusingly, the .32ACP Mark II was the first version, while the 9x19mm Mark I was the second. The latter version featured numerous alterations in addition to firing a different round: a wire trigger guard was added to make the weapon safer to carry while ready to fire, and the front half of the integral suppressor could be unscrewed to reduce the gun's length and make it easier to conceal or smuggle. Because of the latter, the front sight was mounted halfway along the barrel rather than at the end. In both versions, concealment was made easier by having the detachable magazine serve as the weapon's pistol grip: capacity was 8 rounds for the Mark II and 6 rounds for the Mark I. Spent casings are ejected upwards though an ejection port surrounded by a large recess.

A third design could also be called a Welrod derivative, the Sleeve Gun. This was a single-shot breechloading weapon with a simple screw-in breech plug using a Welrod-derived suppressor with a trigger near the muzzle, intended to be concealed inside the user's sleeve and used in contact with the target, with a maximum effective range of about 3 yards.

Due to the nature of the pistol, there is not a lot of information on who used it or when: as well as obvious use during WW2, it is known that British Special Forces were using the weapon during the Falklands War with some evidence of use as late as Desert Storm, and CIA SOG operators are known to have used the Welrod Mark II in operations during the Vietnam War. About 2,800 Welrods are known to have been produced.

The Brügger & Thomet VP9 is heavily inspired by the Welrod, though it is marketed as a "veterinary pistol" for humanely killing animals rather than a covert ops weapon.



(1943 - ? (possibly still in service))

Type: Handgun

Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum (Mark I), .32 ACP (Mark II)

Weight: 2.65 lbs (empty)

Length: 14.57 inches

Barrel Length: 11.97 inches

Capacity: 6 (for 9mm) or 8 (for .32)

Fire Modes: Bolt Action

The Welrod suppressed bolt-action pistol can be seen in the following films, video games, and anime used by the following actors:


Title Actor Character Note Date
Layer Cake Seen on a Gun Rack 2004


Title Actor Character Note/Episode Date
30 Cases of Major Zeman Radoslav Brzobohatý Pavel Bláha "Konec velké šance" (S02E04) 1977
Person of Interest - Season 1 Alan Dale Ulrich Kohl "Foe" (S01E08) 2011


Title Character Note Date
Gunsmith Cats Natasha Radinov Mark IIA 1995-1996

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Note Release Date
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun Mark II 2003
Sniper Elite V2 Mark I 2012
Enemy Front "Welrod MKII" Mark I 2014
Sniper Elite III Mark I 2014
Day of Infamy Mark II 2016
Sniper Elite 4 Mark I 2017

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