Vis – the most famous pistol in Poland

Even though for Tigers the only have Vises, Warsaw boys are still the best – the patriotic Polish song is stating. Tigers are obviously, German tanks from Second World War – model Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger. And Vises? That’s one of the most famous pistol created in Poland. And although it would surely lack firepower, when competing with heavy artillery, this weapon is still respected and considered world-class achievement.

When did Vises emerged? After the Independence Day in 1918, radical rebuilding and repairing was needed in vast variety of life in Poland. Repairing the one hundred years of slavery was a daunting task. That applied to the army as well, created out of formations functioning during annexation. Identical problem emerged in weaponry. In times of II Commonwealth, army was equipped mainly with leftovers of their service under other countries. Magazines were restocked thanks to quick purchases, however that was far from a good development project. 

Creating a good, functional system to manage Polish armies was a priority of Polish Ministry of Defense. It was planned to buy a license for a CZ wz. 1928 pistol, created in Czech Republic, but specialists decided that the price is too high, considering the quality of said weapon. The idea of own solution emerged quickly after, when Piotr Wilniewczyc presented his project of a pistol. After first acceptance, he started to work on the prototype and he performed first tests of his invention. Between 1930 and 1931 he was ready to provide full technical project with documentation, created by himself and Jan Skrzypiński. The name of the weapon derives from their initials: W&S.
On the 8th of February 1932, patent number 155567 was licensed to them. After creating the first prototype in Warsaw’s factory, ballistic tests were performed. They have proven that this polish pistol has a great accuracy and efficiency. After few additional corrections, which even further improved the quality of the weapon, the pistol was bestowed to Weapon Factory in Radom.

After that, the name of the weapon was slightly changed from W&S to Vis, which means “strength” in Latin. Finally, after another tests in 1936, the factory in Radom started to mass-produce Vis pistols. First three thousand copies were created with alloy steel, later production was based on carbon steel. From the beginning, Vises were planned as a personal weapon for the officers of Polish Army. 

It was planned to produce ninety thousands of those pistols. Until the World War Two, only a half of that number was produced. After conquering Poland, Germany continued to produce Vises, recognizing the weapon’s high quality. During the occupation, 312 thousands of those pistols were created. Obviously they are not signed by the Polish Eagle, yet they stayed a Polish invention. 

In the same time, when Vises were produced for German Army, workers were stealing parts to reinforce the fighters for freedom in Poland. In workshops of AK in Warsaw, they were produced and ensembled to fulfill that goal. Under the sight of greatest specialists, those illegal versions were the same in terms of quality that their counterparts in German army, however the scarce numbers were the issue.
Unfortunetely, after war, Vises were no longer manufactured.