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Semi-automatic pistol


The VIS was adopted by Polish military as a standard issue sidearm

Country of origin Poland
Entered service 1935
Caliber 9x19 mm Parabellum
Weight (empty) 1 025 g
Length 205 mm
Barrel length 115 mm
Muzzle velocity ?
Magazine capacity 8 rounds
Sighting range 50 m (?)
Range of effective fire ~ 50 m


   The VIS is a Polish semi-automatic pistol. It is named after its designers - Wilniewczyc i (and) Skrzypinski. The original name is WIS, however it was changed to VIS. Also the name "Vis" means strength in Latin. Development began in 1930. First prototype of this pistol was completed in 1931. Soon it was trialed by the Polish armed forces. The Polish Army adopted it in 1935 as the VIS wz.35. It became a standard issue handgun in service with the Polish military. This pistol was produced at weapon factory in Radom city. Some people incorrectly refer it as "Radom", due to a marking on the slide.

   In 1939 when the factory was captured by Germans, production of this pistol continued for the German armed forces. In the German military it was known as a P-35. It was issued to the German navy, paratroopers, police and SS units. The native Polish workers promptly began smuggling parts of the pistol out of the factory to arm resistance fighters. When the Germans found out about this practice, they executed a dozen plant workers. To stop sabotage, the Germans started making barrels for this pistol in Austria. At some point all machinery was carried-over to Austria where these pistols were assembled using original Polish made parts.

   Many different versions of this pistol have been manufactured since its introduction. The VIS is considered by many experts as one of the best WWII era pistols.

   In 1992 production of this pistol was restarted. A limited number of exact copies were produced for civilian customers and collectors.

   The VIS is a 9 mm clone of an M1911 pistol, developed by the legendary John Browning. At that time patents for the M1911 were expiring. However the Polish pistol is chambered for 9x19 mm ammunition. It also has some features of the Hi-Power pistol, that was also developed by the Browning. However both the VIS and the Hi-Power were developed during the same time frame and were both adopted in 1935.

   The VIS is a short-recoil operated weapon. The barrel locking system is similar to that of the Browning Hi-Power. The VIS has a single action trigger. This pistol has no manual safeties. There is an M1911-style grip safety. The lever on the frame is not a safety, but a slide retaining latch, that aids disassembling. There is a decocker switch on the slide.

   This pistol is well-made and robust. However quality reduced when the factory was taken over by Germans in 1939. As production progressed Germans simplified its manufacturing process.

   The VIS is fed from a single-stack 8-round capacity magazines.

   This pistol has simple iron sights. Effective range of fire is about 50 meters. The VIS is more accurate than a contemporary Soviet TT pistol, but looses in terms of penetration.

   Polish VIS pistols, produced between 1935 and 1939 had a grip mount for a shoulder stock.







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