View Full Version : WWII Pistol?

Dean C
March 2, 2005, 09:44 AM
A friend of mine has this pistol. Believed to be a WWII German Officers carry. I offered to post it here to see what we could find out about it. Here is what I have:

Markings on side of slide “F.B.Radom VIS Mod. 35. Pat. Nr 75567”
It has a grip safety and the grips have been replaced with “Marilyn Monroe” pictures under clear plastic.
Also has a leather shoulder holster with an oval impression on the side at the top but I can’t see what it says. Only the fact it’s oval with something inside.

I’m not a pistol person so I’ve no doubt missed a lot of revealing features. Ask and I’ll check.

Just what does he have?


Jim Watson
March 2, 2005, 10:13 AM
He has a Polish Radom, model of 1935. It is an in-house design at the Polish Radom arsenal, mostly a Colt-Browning pistol with local ideas. The lever on the left rear of the receiver is not a safety catch, all it is for is a manual slide holdback for disassembly. The lever on the slide is a hammer drop, on a single action auto at that. The legend is that the famous Polish Cavalry was to carry the gun in Condition 2 and cock it for use by rubbing the burr hammer across the pommel of their saddle or down the stripe on their pants leg. (Which can be done, I have tried it.)

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939 they took over the local arms industry to supply their war effort. So a Radom may be a 1935-1939 gun used by the Polish Army, known as the Polish Eagle version from its national crest; a captured gun used by the Germans, or a gun made under German control of the factory.
A Polish Eagle is of commercial quality fit and finish, a really good looking gun. But quality steadily declined throughout the war as the Germans lost men and materiel. The last ones made had no disassembly lever, sheet metal action pins, and rough finish.

Clear plastic grips with cheesecake are probably post-capture US GI additions, and the holster with oval logo sounds like an American "tanker" shoulder rig.

We need a complete description as to features and markings. Pictures help.
The Blue Book breaks them down into six groups.
"Polish Eagle" guns and early production under German control have a slot for a shoulder stock. Actual shoulder stocks are scarce to nonexistent.
Polish Eagle - used by Polish Army
Polish Eagle, Nazi capture
Nazi Type I with shoulder stock slot
Nazi Type II without slot
Nazi Type III without takedown lever
Nazi Type III without takedown lever, parkerized, wood grips.

Dollar value varies a lot depending on version and, of course, condition. The grips are a neat folk art souvenir type thing but don't help the value, being non-original.

Dean C
March 2, 2005, 11:47 AM
Additional markings are the bird on the swastika just after the name and model number. Looks like a hand placed stamp since it looks randomly placed. Just past that is another mark that looks like an 8.3 with some kind of mark above it. There is a simple mark of what appears to be a stick figure bird as above but has the number 77 stamped below it. The 77 mark is stamped on the slide and one directly below it on the receiver. Under the lever on the right rear of the slide is a mark that almost looks like an XJ and the numbers 44166. There are other marks that are probably smith/machinist marks on the trigger, trigger guard and right side of the slide.

Generally, the machining is rough in non-sliding internal areas but the outside surface appears fairly well machined in easy to get to areas but not so clean when the surface transitions to other feature.

The oval on the holster has US in the middle.

Wow, the more I look at this thing under a microscope, the more little marks I see. I wish I were more of a military firearm aficionado, but I’m not.

Jim, thank you for your initial information. Based on this, do you have any more?

Thank you,

edit to add:
This gun has 3 button's/levers. 1. The magazine release just behind the trigger. 2. The lever on the slide. And 3. the safety on the grip.

Jim Watson
March 2, 2005, 03:14 PM
(Eagle)(swastika) is likely a German proof mark.
(Eagle) 77 is likely the German Waffenampt district acceptance mark.
44166 is likely the gun's serial number, dunno about the XJ unless it is either a prefix to the serial number or another inspection or proof mark. Sorry, I am not an expert on Radoms.

I am confused on your description of the controls.
You say the XJ44166 is "under the lever on the right rear of the slide" I don't recall a lever there. The lever on the left (shooter's viewpoint) rear of the slide is the hammer drop.
If the gun is complete there will be a slide stop lever on the left side of the receiver over the trigger, similar to a 1911. If it is a type II there will be a lever at the left rear of the receiver in the same location as the thumb safety of a 1911, but if it is a type III there will not be one.

As I thought, the GI who captured or traded for it just stuck it in his USGI holster.

It appears to be a Nazi type II or III and is worth several hundreds of dollars depending on condition.

Dean C
March 4, 2005, 12:56 PM
I guess I don't know my right from my left. The hammer drop is on the left. I did some more googling and found this:

"Polish military adopted the VIS MOD. 35 (Radom) pistol in 1935 by as their standard military sidearm. On September 1, 1939, Radom production was taken over by the invading Germans, at the time of the takeover all Polish markings were discontinued and a German numbering system was instituted. All Radom pistols manufactured after September of 1939 have German markings.
Because the decline in the quality of Radom pistols is much more evident than any other of the other German WWII procured pistols. Collectors have categorized them into 3 different types. Type I pistols were manufactured in the first part of the war, Type II towards the middle and Type III at the end.

Type I:
All parts except the recoil spring and recoil spring guide are blued with high quality commercial type blue finish. Barrel, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide are polished white. Grips are checkered hard rubber. A shoulder stock slot and a lanyard ring may or may not be present.
Slide Legend:
F.B. RADOM VIS MOD. 35 PAT NR. 15567 P.35(p)

Type II:
All parts except the barrel, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide are blued over an improperly polished surface. Barrel, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide are polished white. Grips are checkered black plastic, checkered brown plastic, fine checkered hardwood, or coarse checkered hardwood. Lanyard ring and disassembly lever are present, shoulder stock slot omitted.
Slide Legend:
F.B. RADOM VIS MOD. 35 PAT NR. 15567 P.35(p)
The " P.35(p)" was eliminated from the slide legend of late grade II pistols.

Type III:
The frame, slide, and magazine are parkerized. Rear sight, hammer, hammer release, magazine release catch, slide stop, and grip screws are blued over a roughly or poorly polished surface. Barrel, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide are polished white. Lanyard ring is present, shoulder stock slot and disassembly lever are absent. Grips are checkered black plastic, checkered brown plastic, fine checkered hardwood, coarse checkered hardwood, or grooved hardwood.
Slide Legend:
F.B. RADOM VIS MOD. 35 PAT NR. 15567 P.35(p) "

From this description, my friends gun is a Type II based on the Slide Legend, but a Type III based on both yours and the above description.

Anyway, it's missing a bunch of parts so I'm out looking for a diagram for identification and parts. If you have any suggestions about this, I'm all ears or eyes since this is a e-mail forum. Anyway, thank you for your help so far.

Jim Watson
March 4, 2005, 04:58 PM
The first place to look for parts is Numrich, like so:

The second place to look is Jack First.

There might be some specialty dealer after that but I don't know who.

James K
March 5, 2005, 08:33 PM
On the late guns without the slide holdopen, there is a trick not everyone is aware of. To position the slide for takedown, lock back the slide with the slide stop, move the hammer drop down, and then ease the slide forward until the lower arm of the hammer drop fits into the notch in the top of the hammer. This positions the slide for dismounting.

Either way the slide is locked back, the next step is to remove the magazine (if not out already), turn the pistol on its left side and pull forward on the protruding recoil spring guide rod. The slide stop will drop free.

In reassembly, pull the guide rod forward and turn it to the left to lock it forward. The slide stop can then be dropped in, after which the guide rod is released. (You can also just hold the rod forward, but that is a bit tricky for one person with no tools.)