One of my all time favorite handguns is the Webley. The iconic British sidearm, Webleys had been made since the middle 1800’s. They served in all Britains Wars from that period on, and served on all the frontiers where Britain was involved, mainly India and Africa. They’ve dispatched their share of lions tigers and other dangerous beasts.

And dangerous human beasts, too. The .455 caliber marks were especially valued for their man stopping ability. After WW1, the British High Command lost it’s mind and decided that a 200 grain .38 caliber pistol would be just as good and the pistol would be smaller and easier to handle. The .38 Mark IV replaced the venerable Mark VI, but let’s just say the British didn’t throw their .455 guns away.

This gun is a 1915 Mark V, and had been extensively modified by some (probably) local gunsmith. This was kind of common work for gunsmiths in the 50’s and 60’s for guys with less than legal needs. The barrel was chopped to 2 inches, the grips were shaved down, the hammer spur cut off and the cylinder was modified to take american .45 auto bullets on a steel clip. The modification for .45 auto was common in this country due to lots of surplus laying around, and .455 has always been hard to get. The neat thing about the clip is you can reload this thing faster than any modern autoloader. The downside is the bullet. The .455 is a hollow base bullet that swells to meet the rifling, and the .45 is a flat base. This will tend to lose some accuracy, but with a 2″ barrel, who cares. Your not shooting a guy across the county!


It’s heavy, though, and harks back to a time when everything was heavy, and made out of steel. I appreciate the work that went into these guns, and the fact that this gun is ninety years old and still works good is a testament to their design. How good modern polymer guns are remain to be seen in another ninety years.