One piece of real-life spy gear that sounds like it was out of a James Bond movie was the British Welrod.
In 1940, the British set up a clandestine department knows as the Special Operations Executive.
The goal of the SOE was to assist resistance movements in occupied Europe.
The SOE weapons division was located in the small town of Welwyn, outside of London.
All weapons created in Welwyn were codenamed with the first three letters being Wel.
The Welrod was a pistol designed for clandestine operations.
It was a manually operated pistol that functioned like a bolt action rifle to reduce its noise.
It had a bolt on the back of the action that the shooter would turn and pull open to eject the spent casing.
Next, the shooter would push the action forward and rotate the opposite direction to load a new round.
The manual action meant that no parts were moving when the gun fired, which reduced the noise of the gun.
And the action allowed the shooter to reload in complete silence.
The Welrod used a modified Colt 1903 magazine that held five rounds.
So, even though it was manually operated the shooter had up to five rounds as long as they could load each round.
The magazine also functioned as the grip of the gun.
Resistance operatives in occupied Europe did not want to get caught with firearms.
So, the Welrod could be taken apart and was oddly shaped, making it difficult to identify as a gun.
For example, if you placed it in a bag with car parts it would blend in.
The Welrod was produced in 1943 as a .32 ACP, and about 15,000 pistols were distributed to clandestine forces around the world.
They were not the most accurate pistols. They had a difficult trigger pull and an awkward grip.
Yet, if you needed to operate in silence, this was one of your best options.
The .32 ACP is not the first caliber most folks think about when it comes to self-defense pistols.
But it doesn’t get enough praise for what it can do.
The .32 was first developed by John Browning. It was introduced in 1899 and became a popular pistol caliber in Europe.
The Walther PPK was one of the most famous .32 pistols.
And if you are looking for a pocket pistol, a modern .32 ACP might be worth checking out.
They are comparable to a .380, but have less recoil.
Which means the .32 is a very tame pistol.
And it’s a good choice for someone new to pocket pistols or who doesn’t have great hand strength.
So, here are a few .32 ACP pistols to check out…
Sig Sauer P230:
The P230 comes in .32 ACP or .380.
While the P230 s no longer in production, you can still find them on the resale market.
It has a grip-mounted decocking lever instead of a slide-mounted decocker.
The P230 has an anodized aluminum frame with a blued steel slide or it can be all made of stainless steel.
The P230 has a 3.6-inch barrel and a total length of 6.6-inches. It weighs 18.5-ounces. The magazine holds 8+1 rounds.
The pistol has a fixed barrel, straight blow-back configuration. It is often compared to the Walther PPK.
Beretta 3032 Tomcat:
The 3032 Tomcat is one of the more popular modern .32 ACP guns.
It has a stainless finish, a 7+1 capacity, a slide-mounted safety, adjustable rear sight, and uses a tip-up barrel design.
This means you don’t have to rack the slide. If you don’t have a lot of hand strength this could be a good option.
Unloaded the pistol weighs 14.5 ounces and is about five inches long.
The KelTec holds 7+1 rounds and is a hammer-fired, double-action pistol.
It has a 2.7-inch barrel and a total length of about 5-inches. It weighs 6.6-ounces. It is under half a pound, unloaded.
The KelTec P32 sells for $250 new.
Bottom line: the .32 ACP is a fun, underrated pistol.
And while it wouldn’t be my first choice for a self-defense weapon, if you want a pocket gun that is easy to shoot it’s a good option.