I've finally gotten around to taking some decent photos of my WW2 firearms that I'll be posting over the next few months (I have a lot). I'll start off with my handguns. First up is a 1942 Radom Vis-35. Background: The Vis or Vis-35 (often incorrectly known as a Radom) is a 9mm single action semiautomatic designed in Poland in 1930. The pistol is based on the M1911A1, but has a decocker and uses a similar camming system to the Browning Hi-Power as opposed to the link used on the M1911A1. Chambered in 9mm, the pistol is thinner than the M1911A1 and the grip flares out at the bottom. It uses a single stack magazine that holds 8 rounds. It can be viewed as an interesting "hybrid" design between a M1911A1 and a Hi-Power, with the final design being thinner than both. I've seen it stated (although I haven't seen any primary sources) that the pistol was "one of the finest" combat handguns in the world. The Vis-35 was also slotted for a wooden stock, and in addition to a standard slide lock had a takedown latch to aid in disassembly. The Vis was adopted as the standard issue sidearm of the Polish Army in 1935 and production began at the state arsenal in Radom. An order was placed for 90,000 pistols but only 50,000 were delivered before the outbreak of war. Polish pistols were high-gloss rust blued and had the Polish eagle stamped on the side. Under German occupation, the Vis-35 was assigned the designation Pistole 645(p) and production continued until 1945. Approximately 350,000 were produced, and it is known that several hundred pistols were smuggled from the Radom factory to the Polish Home Army. The pistol was an issued weapon of the Waffen SS, and some also saw use by the Heer, Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe. These German-produced pistols were similar to the Polish model, but as the war progressed the design was simplified to speed production time. Generally speaking there are three variations, known as Type 1, 2 and 3. There's some disagreement between collectors (some recognize four "types"), but here is the rundown: Type 1 included all features of the Polish model (slide lock, takedown latch and stock slot). The finish is high-quality, although the pistol was salt blued instead of rust blued. Some of these have Polish-marked parts. This is the first "German" model. Type 2 omitted the stock slot, and has a generally lower-quality finish. Metal polishing was reduced, and the salt bluing was of lower quality. Type 3 omitted the slide lock, has very crude finish and some are phosphated. Many of these were made in Steyr, as the occupied Radom plant was evacuated there in response to the Soviet advance in late 1944. Production of the Vis-35 ceased in 1945, as the postwar Polish army was equipped with the Russian Tokarev TT-33. My Pistol: My Vis-35 is a "Type 2" model. Exact production dates are difficult to determine, but from what I know mine was produced in 1942. You can see how the finish is rough, and the bluing is thin. I believe this pistol saw little use, as wear to the finish is minimal. There is no pitting anywhere on it. All parts are matching. Overall this is a nice representative piece. The photos include two boxes of wartime German-production 9mm ammo and a Luftwaffe dress dagger. An SS dagger would be more appropriate, but I do not have one in my collection. A profile view. From left to right, the levers are the slidelock, decocker and the takedown latch. Note the grip safety and recessed hammer. Unlike the M1911A1 and Hi-Power, the hammer spur doesn't protrude much from the back of the slide. Waffenampts are clearly visible on the slide and frame. You can see the crude finish on the takedown latch. Its barely polished at all - the original machining and file marks are clearly visible. The salt bluing is thin -- note how it has nearly entirely rubbed off under the decocker. Interestingly, the grips are the exact same as the Polish prewar model -- with "FB" being the name of the state factory in Radom! Use of these grips continued until late 1944, when simple wooden stocks were used. How does it shoot? In short, excellent. It fits my hand well (its more comfortable to hold than any of my .45ACP M1911A1s since the grip is thinner and the flare at the bottom is a nice addition). The slide lock extends back far enough so that its easy to manipulate without having to adjust your hand. The decocker is a bit rough, but does the job. The sights are simple and are essentially the same as a USGI M1911A1. Being such a heavy gun chambered in 9mm, recoil is quite manageable. Here's a 20 yard target I shot with it using one full magazine. I make no claim that I'm an expert shot -- I'm a casual shooter (I'm usually only at the range on average once every three weeks) and have little interest in being the "most accurate" or "fastest shot" in the area.