Initially it was named WiS (an acronym of the Polish designers' names), but later the name was changed to Vis, meaning "force" in Latin.
Military Service: 1935 - 1945
Cartridge: 9mm Luger
Action: Semi-Automatic Recoil-Operated
Magazine: 8 Round, Detachable
Significance: Widely accredited as the best sidearm of WWII. Many experts believe it
to be one of finest handguns ever made.
The Vis is a Polish hybrid that combines the best aspects of the m1911 and Browning Hi-Power. Due to the pistol's size, weight, and ergonomic triangular grip, most of the recoil from the 9mm Luger round is absorbed and not passed on to the shooter.
When production began in 1935 it was immediately adopted as the standard sidearm of the Polish Armed Forces. After invading, instead of shutting down production of the Vis and re-tooling to produce a German standard issue sidearm, the Germans continued production of the pistol for their own forces under the designation P35(p). The majority of these pistols were issued to German paratroopers, police, and the Waffen SS.
After the war ended, due to political considerations and logistic concerns, Russia abandoned production of the Vis in favor of the standard issue Soviet TT-33 pistol- considered then, and now, inferior to the Vis in every way.
Norway, May 1940. The pistol in the holster is a Vis P.35(p).