being the Latin word for Force
], also known as the Radom
, seems to be the first. Introduced in 1931/32, it’s a 1911-style pistol chambered in 9mm that has a de
lever on the slide (reminiscent of the Beretta 92F), AS WELL AS a manual safety placed like that of a 1911, which I assume is to carry in the “cocked and locked” manner should the owner wish – I have yet to get my hands on one. Piotr Wilniewczyc and Jan Skrzypiński are the de
signers who produced the Vis.
Now, the big question – why?
My best guess:
As Browning’s 1911 and Hi Power designs were starting to become popular, other manufacturers, in a bid to compete, decided to start producing auto loading pistols.
The Polish Army needed a new pistol, and in 1935 Wilniewczyc and Skrzypiński submitted the design they had been cooking up over the past 4 to 5 years. However, while designing it, they had patent issues to consider, and I think that’s what’s really behind what they came up with.
Browning was working on the Hi Power for FN (Fabrique Nationale) in the early 20’s. He’d sold the patent rights on the 1911 to Colt, and they weren’t due to expire till 1928. He was granted a patent for the Hi Power in 1923 – the Hi Power being his own bid to work around the patents of the 1911 which he no longer owned.
The 1911 and Hi Power both use the single action/double action, “cocked and locked” style mechanism, and we’re quickly becoming the most popular auto loading pistols of the day. In 1931 when the Radom appeared, the 1911 patents had expired, but the Hi Power patents were still in place.
Manufacturers wishing to compete needed something that would resemble that operating system, yet remain marketable and lawsuit free. Thus, the idea of “first press cocks the hammer, slide does the rest” was born. Of course, if one eliminates the “cocked and locked” aspect, a new problem arises – how do we get that hammer down without having an accident? Again, pure speculation on my part, but I’d venture to say that was probably only considered after the first accident with a prototype, or as an “safety improvement” to convert revolver shooters. Who knows?
What we do know is that after the Radom was adopted by the Polish Army FN assisted them with establishing a factory to produce it – so, the patents would probably have never been an issue.
Again, this is all pure speculation on my part, and perhaps some gun guru out there can produce a better lesson for us…
In the end, the history is academic and not important to our lives. What is important is understanding that these creatures exist and are not going away, therefore, we need to know how to run them!
With two different trigger positions and two different trigger weights, de-cocker equipped pistols require training and practice to master. Whether you own one, or not, a true operator will possess the skills. Come to class and we’ll bring you up to speed!
Quit looking for an excuse to lose. Find a way to win! – John Farnam