Poland’s 9mm 1911(ish) Powerhouse

Arising from the ashes of the old Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian Empires in 1918 – countries that had wiped Poland off the map in 1795 – modern Poland was born immediately into war, having to fight the Bolshevik Reds to the east and remnant German Freikorps to the west well into 1921. With its military armed via a curious mix of surplus weapons – including Mauser, Mosin, and Steyr rifles for instance – and its larger neighbors only growing stronger, the Poles sought to form a domestic arms concern, Panstwowa Wytwornia Broni (PWB = roughly, State Weapons Plant) in 1922.

Polish troops arrayed against the Reds in 1919-1920, armed with a U.S.-supplied Marlin/Colt 1895. What a great example of oddball armament the force used.

Formed in the city of Radom, which at the time was almost as deep into the Polish interior as could be, the facility inherited the machinery from the old Prussian Royal rifle plant at Danzig (Gdansk today) and the old Deblin military small arms repair depot, by 1927 morphing into the Fabryka Broni (FB= roughly, Arms Plant). There, FB would make assorted Mauser 98-style rifles and carbines on the old Danzig machines, but when it came to handguns, they were stuck with making the Nagant revolver.

The Poles came across a liquidation notice from the Nagant brothers in Belgium whose factory was under receivership, and they got the whole works including machines, templates, plans, and parts for a song. It made sense to put in a bid on the concern, as the Poles had inherited a large stockpile of Tsarist-era Nagants and were making their own 7.62x38mmR gas-seal rounds for those captured guns already. Between 1931-37, some 17,000 Polish “Radom Nagants” were made for state police and security forces. They were dubbed the wzór (model) 1930 in Polish use. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Then came Piotr Wilniewczyc…

I do love a good VIS 35.

More in my column at Guns.com.

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