Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Enfield No.2 Mk I and Webley Mk4

Discussion in 'Allied Light Weapons' started by Jim, Dec 23, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Likes Received:
    via War44
    During World War I the standard British service revolver was one variant or other of the Webley 0.455-in (11.56mm) pistol. These were very effective pistols, but their weight and bulk made them very difficult to handle correctly without a great deal of training and constant practice, two commodities that were in short supply at the time. After 1919 the British army decided that a smaller pistol firing a heavy 0.38in (9.65-mm) bullet would be just as effective as the larger-calibre weapon but would be easier to handle and would require less training. So Webley and Scott, which up to that time had been pistol manufacturers of a virtually official status for the British armed forces, took its 0.455-in (11.56mm) revolver, scaled it down and offered the result to the military.

    The Enfield No.2 Mk I * revolver was the most widely used of all the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Firing a 0.38-in (9.65mm) ball cartridge, it was an efficient combat pistol but lacked any finesse or frills; yet it was able to withstand the many knocks of service life.


    To the annoyance of Webley and Scott, the military simply took the design, made a few minor alterations and then placed the result in production as an “official” government design to be produced at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock in Middlesex. This procedure took time, for Webley and Scott offered its design in 1923 and Enfield Lock took over the design in 1926. Webley and Scott was somewhat nonplussed at the course of events but proceeded to make its O.38-in (9.65mm) revolver, known as the Webley Mk 4, all over the world with limited success.

    The Enfield Lock product became the Pistol, Revolver, No. 2 Mk 1 and was duly issued for service. Once in service it proved sound and effective enough, but mechanical progress meant that large numbers of these pistols were issued to tank crews and other mechanized personnel, who made the unfortunate discovery that the long hammer spur had a tendency to catch onto the many internal fittings of tanks and other vehicles with what could be nasty results. This led to a redesign in which the Enfield pistol had the hammer spur removed altogether and the trigger mechanism lightened to enable the weapon to be fired double-action only. This revolver became the No.2 Mk 1*, and existing Mk 1’s were modified to the new standard. The double action made the pistol very difficult to use accurately at all except minimal range, but that did not seem to matter too much at the time.

    Webley and Scott re-entered the scene during World War II, when supplies of the Enfield pistols were too slow to meet the ever-expanding demand. Thus the Webley Mk 4 was ordered to eke out supplies, and Webley and Scott went on to supply thousands of its design to the British army after all. Unfortunately, although the two pistols were virtually identical in appearance there were enough minor differences between them to prevent interchange-ability of parts.

    Both pistols saw extensive use between 1939 and 1945, and although the Enfield revolvers (there was a No. 2 Mk I ** which embodied wartime production expedients) were the official standard pistols, the Webley Mk 4 was just as widely used among British and Commonwealth armed forces. Both remained in service until the 1960s and both are still to be encountered as service pistols in various parts of the world.

    The Webley Mk4 revolver was used as the basis for the Enfield No. 2 Mk 1 but was passed over in favour of the government-sponsored development. In time the call for more revolvers was so great that the Mk 4 was placed in production for the British armed forces and used alongside the Enfield pistols.


    Specification Revolver No.2 Mk 1* [​IMG]

    Cartridge: 0.380 SAA ball (9.65 mm)
    Length overall: 260 mm (10.25 in) Length of barrel: 127 mm (5 in)
    Weight: 0.767 (1.71b)
    Muzzle velocity: 183 m (600 ft) per second
    Chamber capacity: 6 rounds

    Specification: Webley Mk4 [​IMG]

    Cartridge: 0.380 SAA ball (9 65 mm)
    Length overall: 267 mm (10.5 in)
    Length of barrel: 127mm (5in)
    Weight: 0.767 (1.71b)
    Muzzle velocity: 183 m (600 ft) per second
    Chamber capacity: 6 rounds​

Share This Page