• Radom P-35(p) [Pistole Modell 645(p)]

    Radom P-35(p) [Pistole Modell 645(p)]
    Polish designation = Pistolet wz. 35 Vis

    (Mfg by Fabryka Broni w Radomu, assembled by Steyr-Daimler Puch A. G.)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Caliber: ........................ 9mm Parabellum
    Rifling & Twist: .............. 6 groove, right-hand twist
    Barrel Length: ............... 4.72 in. (120mm)
    Overall Length: ............. 6.93 in. (176mm)
    Weight: ........................ 2.5 lbs. - 1.123 kg (loaded), 0.950 kg (unloaded)
    Magazine Capacity: ....... 8 rounds
    Qty Mfg: ....................... Approximately 400,000

    Source: .... www.gunsworld.com", Vis (weapon) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Radom VIS35

    (16 picture virtual tour)
    Observations: (by "Claven2")
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of Milsurps.com member "Claven2".

    Borrowing design characteristics and features of pistols designed by John Browning and Dieudonne Saive such as the M1911 and the Hi-power, the Radom wz. 35 VIS was first tested in 1931 in Poland. Originally referred to as the WiS (an acronym of the Polish designers' names), the pistol was renamed VIS, meaning "power" in Latin. The wz designation being used with all Polish arms, standing for wzór (model).

    At the time, the VIS was generally regarded as one of the best military pistols available when series production started at the State Armory in Radom in late 1935, while the following year it was adopted as the standard weapon of Polish infantry and cavalry officers. Early guns were milled in the mainspring housing to accept a shoulder stock that though designed and prototyped, in practise was never issued.

    Before the 1939 Invasion of Poland (by Nazi Germany), approximately 49,400 (out of 90,000 ordered) were delivered to Polish forces. After the Polish defeat that same year, the Germans took over the Radom factory and continued production of the gun, assigning it the standardized name of 9 mm Pistole 645(p) which is often referred to as the P 35(p). Up to 1945, between 312,000 and 380,000 were produced for the German Reich, where they were issued primarily to the SS, the Fallschimjager (paratroopers) and police.

    Soon after occupation of factory, the Germans moved production of P35(p) barrels to the Steyr works in Austria in an effort to prevent complete pistols from falling into the hands of the Polish resistance. As a result, resistance forces were obliged to manufacture crude barrels in underground shops - ultimately several hundred VIS pistols were smuggled from the factory, fitted with barrels, and provided to the Home Army for use in the Warsaw Uprising.

    In 1944 as German forces were in retreat to the advancing Soviets, all production was moved to the Steyr works in Austria where the VIS remained in production until April 1945.

    Pistols made after 1939 (under German occupation) were manufactured in three distinct variations, each with small modifications to simplify production. Generally, the wartime German-produced VIS pistols were of much lower quality than the pre-war Polish made guns. By the end of the war, quality dropped off rapidly and the pistols became very crude, though still functional.

    Poland did not restart production after the war. The country had fallen under the Soviet sphere of influence and forces in Poland adopted a Polish-built version of the Tokarev TT-33 to serve as the issue sidearm.

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. When looking at acquiring a Radom VIS for your collection, it is wise to first determine wha variant you are looking for and whether the available piece will match your expectations or not. As mentioned in the Observations write-up, there are really four distinct variations out there.

    The first pistols, made before the German takeover, were marked on the left side of the slide with a fairly large Polish eagle. On either side of the eagle are two line markings - F.B.Radom over the date on the left side, and "VIS-wz 35" over a patent number on the right side. These pre-war guns (at the time of this writing in 2008) can (and do) bring upwards of $3000 in North America, depending on condition. The same gun with legitimate German markings added (indicating it was captured at the factory or depot level) can bring even more, if in top condition. These Radoms are commonly referred to as "Polish Eagle" or "Polish Eagle, Nazi capture". Some Polish references call these two "pre-war" versions "Group One."

    The guns bearing a single line rollstamp on the slide without the Polish eagle was manufactured during the period of Nazi occupation. There are three recognized types of occupation-made VIS pistols (The Polish reference material designations are in brackets); Type I (or Group 2) has the slide stop , decocker (on the slide) and the takedown lever(on the frame) and is sometimes referred to as a "three lever gun". These also have the mainspring housing milled for a shoulder stock which, to the best of my knowledge, was never issued in service.

    Type II (Group 3) pistols have the shoulder stock cut eliminated and some other changes, including elimination of the grip screw bushings. The depicted pistol is a Type II.

    Type III (Group 4) pistols have the takedown lever eliminated. Instead of using the lever to lock back the slide for disassembly, the decocker is pushed down so its tail rests in a notch in the hammer. There are many other minor changes to speed up production, including much sacrifice in fit and finish. Type II and III guns are by far the most commonly encountered variants, though Type II, being better made, are generally more sought after.

    After the Soviets over-ran the Radom factory, Type III Radom production was moved completely to the Steyr works in Austria. Most of this late-war Steyr production run was issued with crude wooden grips. Fully Steyr-produced guns are rarer and more valuable than production at Radom under Nazi occupation, and a few VERY rare pieces marked with the "BNZ" in lieu of the Radom rollstamp are worth even more. The BNZ code (as used on Steyr made K98k rifles) was only applied to less than 1000 pistols while the machinery used for slide rollstamp was undergoing installation at the Steyr Works. The standard slide rollmark was then used until end of the war.
    .......... (Feedback by "Claven2")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Radom P-35(p) [Pistole Modell 645(p)] started by Badger View original post
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