Nauman Afzal is a Pakistani based writer, and writes at his own very successful blog, My Random Ramblings as well. This is his first article for Silah Report.
In our part of the world, weapons have always followed a rather strange evolutionary path, if we talk about their development only. Darra Adam Khel or as I would like to call it, “Our Wild West” is the place where one can get a copy of almost any weapon made, at a price. The evolution of weapons here has always depended on the type of ammunition being used. In other words, it was the availability of a particular caliber of ammunition that dictated its development, unlike other places. That is akin to making cars on the availability of a certain kind of fuel. So in the 1960’s and 1970’s .32 ACP and .32 S&W Long were available in wide abundance throughout Pakistan. And one could either buy a foreign made weapon, which off course was expensive (as it is still today) or a Darra made revolver, which were available and still are being produced.
This particular piece is around 40 years old and is quite well made and kept. In those days many a “Khan” could be seen wearing this type of revolver across their chest with a dozen or more rounds inserted in the very belt holding it in place. Semiautomatic pistols were expensive and rare, so the de-facto choice was a Darra made wheeler, in .32 S&W Long, made to perfection. The local gunsmiths (who now have improved to the extent that they can and are in fact making copies of CQA the Chinese equivalent of AR15) perfected their skills to make excellent quality revolvers.
This little piece is an exact copy of the .32 Webley and Scott (Mark IV precisely), a top-break, seven shot revolver, single as well as double action brass hammer, a brass trigger and safety.
Caliber: .32 S&W Long
Weight: 720 grams approx
Cylinder Capacity: 7 shots
Barrel length: 3.5”
Front and Rear Sight: Fixed
Top Break: With extractor for removing cartridges from the cylinder
Safety: Manual, Lateral Safety just behind the hammer
A dozen screws all along the body hold it in place, grips included. This revolver has its fair share of brass used in it; the hammer, trigger and the rear sight plate are made out of brass which gives it a shiny look when polished. The hammer, as well as the top-break lever, are knurled for a better grip.
Observe the Mark IV 32 marking over the left side on top of the cylinder, which is quite reminiscent of the original Webley & Scott. Other than this there are no markings or writings on the body. The hammer itself is pointed much like a nail or needle quite unlike the original Webley.
The revolver weighs 720 grams approximately, and in this size it is a good choice for a carry weapon, even nowadays. I have seen a few newer versions of this revolver selling for around Rs. 1500 that makes it around $ 15 plus or minus few today. (But off course .32 S&W Long is expensive here. ) The newer versions lack brass and hence give it a finish that appears quite dark in texture.
Frankly, I never tried disassembling one recently, but since everything is held in place by screws taking it apart is not an issue. But then there is not much point in taking apart a revolver. This particular piece has its grips changed, the original ones are made of poor quality plastic. The wooden grips were custom made for $3, both sides. Marking 32 on the inside the cylinder indicates its caliber.
These revolvers are known to stand out in reliability, a testament to the good quality workmanship in Darra. Since the advent of semi-auto pistols and the craftsmen ability to make good copies Revolvers are less in demand, still one can find them in the market. Somehow people tend to think that revolvers are inferior in performance as compared to semi-auto pistols.
This particular piece has been in my family and has passed hands from one generation to another, with no more than a hundred rounds fired through it. It now has an emotional value attached to it, and is held in much reverence amongst gun enthusiasts.