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Book Review
The Webley Service Revolver
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book “The Webley Service Revolver” by author Robert Maze and illustrator Peter Dennis with series editor Martin Pegler.

body of the text

** Introduced in 1887, Webley’s first .455 service revolver was an embodiment of Victorian gunmaking prowess. Fifty years after the basic revolver concept had been proved, the Webley Mk I was simple, ingenious, and quick and true to point. It was the ideal sidearm for a nation at the height of its Empire, and about to face two world wars.

The big Webley was developed through six marks until perfected in 1915, and in all, served for sixty years. Its handling qualities, reliability and manstopping .455 round made it the classic British sidearm, beloved by soldiers from colonial battlefields to Western Front trenches. **

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released The Webley Service Revolver as Number 19 in their Weapon series. The Webley Service Revolver is by author Robert Maze and illustrator Peter Dennis with series editor Martin Pegler. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are colour and black and white photographs, colour illustrations, informational charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-803-9. As the title states the book examines and discusses the Webley Service Revolver.

the contents

- Introduction
- Development
- Britain’s modern revolver
- Use
- A sidearm for Empire and World War
- Impact
- The Webley legacy worldwide
- Conclusion
- Glossary
- Bibliography
- Index

the text

Robert Maze covers Webley Service Revolver from its development, to its introduction, to its use in The Boer Wars, World War I, World War II, and other conflicts as well as the Royal Irish Constabulary and others. Anyone interested in the development of the Webley Service Revolver its use and variations will find this book very informative and interesting. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.

the photographs

There are a total of 37 black and white photographs and 22 colour photographs throughout the book. The majority of the photographs are nice clear, centered and focused images. The majority of the featured photographs were new to me and I was pleased with this. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs as opposed to the same old over used photographs that many books tend to contain. The photographs range from factory photographs, to military training photographs to photographs taken during combat. Some of the photographs are staged for the photographer and others were taken as the events happened. The colour photographs show things such as close up details of the Webley Service Revolver. Also included are photographs of Enfield design department drawings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.

the illustrations

There are 3 colour illustrations by illustrator Peter Dennis and they are very well done. As with the photographs, the illustrations come with well written captions that provide detailed information about each illustration. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.

The colour illustrations are of the following:
- Battle of Omdurman, 2 September 1898
- Trench raiding, World War I
- Shanghai, 1925

There are also 3 black and white illustrations from the British Small Arms Training manual, Vol. II, 1924 and are of the following:
- The safe ‘ready’ position – Small Arms Training, Vol. II, 1924
- The ‘one-handed hold’ for instinctive firing – Small Arms Training, Vol. II, 1924
- The ‘two-handed hold’ for long-distance shooting – Small Arms Training, Vol. II, 1924

other weapons and equipment shown and discussed

There are other weapons and equipment from England as well as various nations shown, compared and discussed throughout the book. Some of these include:
- 1840s English pepperbox pistol
- Beaumont-Adams 54-Bore (.45in) revolver
- Pattern 1856 Enfield rifled .577in (24-bore) muzzle-loading pistol
- A “non-interchangeable’ five-shot Adams Mk I .450in Boxer revolver
- Mk II Adams revolver
- Multi-barreled .450in Boxer pistol
- Tranter ‘non-interchangeable’ Commercial Model 1867 revolver
- Enfield Mk I revolver
- Enfield Mk II revolver
- Webley .442in Royal Irish Constabulary Model revolver
- Model 1895 7mm Mauser rifle
- Webley ‘WS’ target revolver
- German 7.63mm C1896 ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser pistol
- John M. Browning Colt .38in ACP Model 1900 semi-auto handgun
- Pritchard-Greener bayonet mounted on a Webley Mk VI revolver

the captions

The captions are well written, are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. They detail things such as the weapon version shown, specific individuals and specific wars and locations shown. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.

informational charts

There are 2 informational charts provided in this volume. They are of:

- Comparison of police versus criminals killed
- Comparison of bullet weight (grains), muzzle velocity (ft/sec) and muzzle energy (ft/lb)


All in all I am very impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains many great photographs with accompanying detailed captions. It details the Webley Service Revolver very well. This book will prove helpful to the military modeller and the military weapons enthusiast and military weapons collector. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.


The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Ian V. Hogg
Saturn Books Ltd.

Arms and Uniforms
The First World War
Part 1 – The infantry of the Allies and the Central Powers, Tanks, Aircraft
Liliane and Fred Funcken
Ward Lock Limited - London

British Commandos in action
Combat Troops in Action No. 8
Leroy Thompson
Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc.

British Paratroops in action
Combat Troops in Action No. 9
Leroy Thompson
Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc.

Take a look inside the book at the Osprey web site:


Take a look inside the book at the Amazon web site:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Webley-Service-Revolver-Weapon/dp/1849088039/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347638672&sr=8-1&keywords=The Webley Service Revolver

Take a look at the Kindle Edition at the Amazon web site:

http://www.amazon.com/Webley-Service-Revolver-Weapon-ebook/dp/B008IUB9C2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347638672&sr=8-2&keywords=The Webley Service Revolver
Highs: A very nice history of the Webley Service Revolver and its variants Nice photographs and artwork Well written text and captions
Lows: Nothing to mention
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book of the Webley Service Revolver that is well researched and written and contains many great photographs with accompanying detailed captions.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-803-9
  Suggested Retail: US $18.95
  PUBLISHED: Sep 20, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review of this book, Randy. Well done.
SEP 20, 2012 - 02:51 AM
You're welcome Wayne. And thank you for the kind comment. I always like hearing that my reviews are appreciated and helpful. I always thought that the Webley was cool!! Randy
SEP 21, 2012 - 02:04 AM

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