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Polish Radom VIS35

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Polish Radom VIS35

#1 Post by lamontagne0527 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:28 pm

I just bought a polish vis35 and have some questions about it. It's missing the P designation but has all of the eagle proofs and markings showing Nazi service. The serial number is in the C production block. What year would this roughly come out as date of manufacture? If it's a pre-war does that make it more rare or significant as opposed to a wartime production vis35P?

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#2 Post by RWS » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:20 am

Not an easy question to answer without photos. The short answer is that there were pre-war "Polish Eagles". Also Nazi occupation Type I, Type II, and Type III VIS-35 pistols with earlier Type III's being made at Radom in Poland and late-war Type III's being made at Steyr in Austria.

There are two "C" block series. The Nazis manufactured VIS-35's in 10,000 block units, starting at S/N 0001-9999 with no prefixes, then adding an "A" prefix to the next 10,000, followed by "B" to the next 10,000, etc. When they finished out the "Z" block series they simply started over with an "A" prefix again (known as the 2nd "A" block) and made it all the way to the 2nd "K" block before the war ended.

So... bottom line is you need to know whether your VIS-35 is a first or second "C" block. Also, the manufacturing records were reconstructed after the war but can only place manufacturing dates to the nearest quarter.

First C-block series pistols with S/N C0001-C1062 were manufactured in the 3rd quarter of 1941. S/N C1063-C9999 were manufactured in the 4th quarter of 1941.

Second C-block series pistols S/N C0001-C8550 were manufactured in the 1st quarter of 1944. C8551-C9999 were manufactured in the 2nd quarter of 1944.

Yours will almost certainly NOT be a pre-war Polish Eagle pistol. They can be identified by the Polish Eagle crest on the slide and commercial grade polishing and bluing. They bring huge money when one becomes available on the market. Below is part of an article I wrote several years ago for an on-line gun magazine that helps identify Type I, II, & III VIS-35 pistols:

Vis-35 pistols produced under Nazi supervision are usually separated into three major categories or “types”:

Type I Vis-35’s retain the slotted backstrap for a shoulder stock, and they have the takedown catch, making them 3-lever pistols. The Nazis stamped their own marks, or waffenamts on each pistol manufactured under their control. Type I Radom pistols have an eagle-over-WaA77 waffen stamped on the frame and frequently appear with the number 625 inspection/proof mark. The very first pistols produced under Nazi control were made up of pre-invasion parts, and some of these early occupation examples can be found with both the Polish Eagle and German inspection waffenamts on the slide. The serial number range for Type I Vis-35’s is 0001-E8000. Around 60,000 Type I pistols were produced. Most, if not all, are believed to have been manufactured in 1940.

Type II Vis-35’s still retain all 3 levers but the slot for the holster/shoulder stock was eliminated. Another cost-cutting exercise on the Type II guns was to change the labor-intensive rust bluing to the cheaper salt-bluing process. The eagle-over-WaA77 waffen is still present up to serial number M8400. Around the start of the K-block (K0001) the trigger relief cuts (like those seen on the 1911A1 pistol) were eliminated. From S/N M8400-Z2000 the waffenamt was changed to eagle-over-77 (sometimes referred to as E/77). The Type II is the most frequently encountered Vis-35. Approximately 150,000 were manufactured from 1941 through late 1943.

Type III Vis-35’s really began to show the decline in workmanship and finish as the war deteriorated for the Nazis. Several sub-variations of the Type III exist as cost-cutting intensified. The most obvious change was the elimination of the takedown catch. Additionally, the waffenamt changed from E/77 to E/623 for the serial number range Z2000 through most of the second alphabetic K-block (some Radoms in this range have also been reported with E/WaA623 waffens). It is important to note that when the Germans got to serial number 9999 in the Z-block, they just started over with serial number 0001 and never missed a beat. This, of course, means that some early-war and late-war pistols have the same serial number. Grip color changed from black to medium brown to dark brown as the Germans began using sawdust and cardboard filler in the plastic resin used for making the grips.

In December of 1944, as the Russians closed in, the entire Radom factory was moved to a Steyr facility in Austria. Austrian Vis-35’s exhibit several unique features, among which was the change from bluing to phosphate as the finish of choice (some K-block pistols will be found with a blued finish). Although phosphating was initially implemented at Fabryka Bromi it appears that only a relatively small number of pistols received the new treatment before the factory was relocated. Brown plastic grips appear to be the norm for Steyr-produced guns, although the last 1,000 or so will be found with wooden grips and are typically marked with a bnz code.

The total number of Type III Vis-35 pistols produced at both Radom and Steyr is between 65,000 and 100,000 pistols, depending on which reference source you choose to believe. Part of this uncertainty lies in the fact that some letter prefixes were skipped in both the first and second alphabetic serial number series. Specifically, it is alleged by some experts that the letter blocks I, O, Q, V, X, and Y were not used during the first alphabet series. It is also believed by many that I and J were skipped during the second alphabet series. Incidentally, the last pistols produced before the end of the war in May, 1945 show the crudest manufacture but command some of the highest prices due to their relative scarcity. Many of these late-war pistols will be marked with Steyr’s E/623 or bnz code instead of the Radom eagle-over-77 waffen stamp. Experts cite that between 21,000 and 24,000 Vis-35 pistols were produced at Steyr, but less than 1,000 pistols are believed to have been produced with the bnz code.

Exact Vis-35 production figures are unavailable, but it some experts estimate that the total number of Vis-35s manufactured is between 300,000 and 400,000 pistols.


So... if your VIS-35 is missing the P designation and has no trigger relief cuts then it is probably a 1944 second C-block Type III pistol. Hope this helps.

-Bob

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#3 Post by lamontagne0527 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:30 am

lamontagne0527 wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:28 pm
I just bought a polish vis35 and have some questions about it. It's missing the P designation but has all of the eagle proofs and markings showing Nazi service. The serial number is in the C production block. What year would this roughly come out as date of manufacture? If it's a pre-war does that make it more rare or significant as opposed to a wartime production vis35P?
Attached are the 2 photos i have been able to wrangle from the seller. She looks to be in good condition, In the research i have done since i bought it. It looks like its a nazi type 1 with pre-war polish parts likely already made but not assembled.
Attachments
UGH111291 Radom top.JPG
UGH111291 Radom left.JPG

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#4 Post by lamontagne0527 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:38 am

she looks like she has the relief cuts but is simply missing the P. I'm all but lost right now, too many variants for 1 pistol over the years. She's a 3 lever gun so my best observation is she is a Type 1 overall

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#5 Post by RWS » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:44 pm

Well, the frame is definitely a Type I. What we don't know is whether the slide and barrel are original to the gun. Early VIS-35's, up to the first E-Block (according to Berger's book) used a mixture of new production and left over pre-war Polish parts so your slide could be absolutely correct or it could be a replacement/mismatched slide. Big difference in price/value between those two.

The serial number (or the last 3 digits) should be on the underside of the slide and the seller should at least remove the slide to verify the serial number. The serial number should also be on the barrel lug as well. And the grip safety, mainspring housing, and hammer as well.

Seller needs to remove the slide and barrel to verify that each of those S/N numbers match the frame. If no match it's just a parts gun. Still worth about $500 as a mixmaster. If they match, sellers often ask in excess of $1,000 for a clean Type i pistol.

"The Radom Pistol" by Robert Berger is a good inexpensive source of info. Currently there is a used paperback format copy on Amazon for $20. Worth every penny of it, IMHO.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing ... dition=all

-Bob

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#6 Post by lamontagne0527 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:27 pm

was the P35P actually stamped on the firearm or was it just the paper designation for the firearm in the supply chain? The shop i bought it from has another one for sale in alot harsher condition that has the takedown lever as well so a type 1 but it also is missing the P designation.

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#7 Post by RWS » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:38 am

You're talking about the second "P" in P35P, right? That second P (again, according to Berger) was indeed initially stamped on the slide but went away shortly after the first 10,000 units were made. It supposedly stood for "Polen", or "Poland" in English. Also, most if not all of the VIS-35 pistols that had that second "P" had a 2-line stamping on the left side of the slide. I believe the Germans went to a 1-line stamping about the time they dropped the 2nd "P", and I also think that more Type I's will be found without the 2nd "P" than with it.

Overall, most VIS-35 pistols you will find do NOT have that 2nd "P" so the absence of it should not be a cause for concern unless you are really interested in acquiring a very early specimen, in which case the absence of the 2nd "P" would be a cause for concern.

-Bob

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#8 Post by lamontagne0527 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:19 pm

RWS wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:38 am
You're talking about the second "P" in P35P, right? That second P (again, according to Berger) was indeed initially stamped on the slide but went away shortly after the first 10,000 units were made. It supposedly stood for "Polen", or "Poland" in English. Also, most if not all of the VIS-35 pistols that had that second "P" had a 2-line stamping on the left side of the slide. I believe the Germans went to a 1-line stamping about the time they dropped the 2nd "P", and I also think that more Type I's will be found without the 2nd "P" than with it.

Overall, most VIS-35 pistols you will find do NOT have that 2nd "P" so the absence of it should not be a cause for concern unless you are really interested in acquiring a very early specimen, in which case the absence of the 2nd "P" would be a cause for concern.

-Bob
Much appreciated, not cause for concern at all. Its just incredibly more complicated than i expected for this pistol. A lot more to these pistols than i initially thought. I'm sure it will be a great example for my collection. I've always been fascinated by the Nazi capture firearms of WW2. with this in my collection i now have an artillery luger, 1944 AC marked p38 and with this addition a nazi marked polish vis35.

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#9 Post by RWS » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:41 pm

All the German occupation weapons (called "Fremdengerate") are complicated by the fact that there are few records and the Germans, particularly late in the war, used whatever parts they could get without regard to what 21st century collectors' concerns. Not to mention that we bombed as many weapons plants as we could.

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#10 Post by lamontagne0527 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:51 am

Obviously a very comprehensive collecting area of world war firearms. Once the VIS clears RCMP transfer and i get it in my possession i will check to see if the numbers are all matching and do a thorough cleaning and strip of the internals to make sure the parts are all in good shape.

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#11 Post by lamontagne0527 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:16 pm

So i finally got my Radom in the mail and i am pleased to say that it is all matching where the parts are numbered, no mis-matched parts on the pistol and i was wrong initially. It is in fact a VIS P35(P). The stamping was just too faint for me to see on the photograph. I paid just under 1150 Canadian for the pistol. Considering the condition I'm very pleased with my purchase since the store i bought it from has a much uglier and rougher looking 3 lever for 1200 before 13% tax and shipping charges. Its a beautiful piece and am wicked excited to have her talk again at the range

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Re: Polish Radom VIS35

#12 Post by lamontagne0527 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:45 pm

What parts of the pistol (particularly the type 1) were serial numbered, so far i know the barrel, slide, frame, main spring housing, grip safety and hammer match. Is there anything else i should disassemble and check or did i nail all the spots?

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