Commando’s Choice: The De Lisle Carbine

The De Lisle Commando Carbine has fascinated small arms enthusiasts since knowledge of it became widespread after the Second World War. Almost entering myth like lore, it is claimed to have been the quietest weapon ever issued and used by Allied forces both in the European and Pacific theaters of war. Only 129 are known to have been produced on a production line (there might have been more but we only have 129 recorded) and were mostly issued to Special Operations Executive (SOE), Royal Marine Commandos and in very rare cases some American special operations forces during the war.

Built using a converted Lee Enfield Mk.III* (No.1) attached to an enormous baffle tube and chambered in .45 ACP, the weapon used modified 1911 magazines and an 8 inch barrel to propel subsonic rounds downrange, mostly for assassinating purposes. Because it was a bolt action design users could neglect to cycle the action and thus not compromise themselves after firing the shot (which has hopefully been successful). From what we know the carbine was very effective in combat, but with only 129 production examples it probably saw very little service during the war. Some examples appeared to have survived the war and were rumored to have been use by British special operations and clandestine forces beyond the Korean War.

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Transcript ….
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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    “Because it was a bolt action design users could neglect to cycle the
    action and thus not compromise themselves after firing the shot..”

    Would a semi-auto be that much louder with the action and the shot happening at the same time? You wont always hit on the first shot and working the bolt would be just as loud and take longer…? Or am I crazy?

    • Drew Coleman

      Bolt actions are always going to be quieter than semi autos when suppressed.

      • Blake

        As are leverguns 🙂

        Which admittedly look pretty crazy, but they do the business just as well:

        • iksnilol

          Kinda hard to integrally suppress one what with the magazine tube.

    • CommonSense23

      Think how loud racking the slide or sending the bolt forward is, it’s a decent amount of noise. Especially on a quiet night. Look at some of the suppressed pistol designs that allowed you to lock the slide for that reason.

      • BattleshipGrey
        • PersonCommenting

          What is that?

          • SP mclaughlin

            XM9, Beretta 92FS that is manually cycled after each shot.

          • PersonCommenting

            Is that a clip on suppressor though?

          • PK

            Yes, exactly. Note that the QD silencer even has sights! It’s a slick setup.

          • PersonCommenting

            Very interesting. Wish more suppressors had this feature. The manual load thing is kind of weird on the beretta though…

          • Stephen Paraski

            All the gas vents through baffles.

          • I’m not certain if it is the original KAC Snap-On from the late 1980s, or its more-recent clone from AAC.

      • claymore

        The report of the bullet striking flesh and or any other surface is often louder than the suppressed shot itself. Much louder than racking a slide.

    • The point would be to silently walk away or stay still, retaining the spent casing within the carbine for E & E.

    • Matt Robinson

      Yes. It’s significantly louder.

  • BattleshipGrey

    I’ve obviously seen pics of these, but seeing one in the hand, the can seems a lot larger than I expected. I’ve been wanting to shoot one of those for a long time.

    • PK

      Although they are fairly bulky, they’re substantially lighter than an ordinary No1Mk3! The can is, of course, a whole lot of nothing, making for a fairly handy rifle.

      The DeLisle is about 1-1/2lbs lighter with the balance point toward the butt, lending a nice balance.

  • Blake

    I’ve posted this plenty of times before, but it bears reposting:

    For mere mortals, Special Interest Arms makes the 9mm Novem:

    It’s probably the least expensive integrally-suppressed bolt action available, & from what I understand, the conversion from the parent Armscor 22TCM is very well executed.

  • Isaac Newton

    Great history lesson, tho maybe leave out the dachshund headshot at 200 meters part out next time.

    • I heard duck, not dachshund. After all, they were supposedly shooting into the River Thames. But either way, I suspect this is a bit of a tall tale as it would be quite difficult to aim at such a small target at 200m with open notch iron sights, combined with the accuracy limitations of wartime .45 ball ammunition.

  • iksnilol

    At this point there’s probably waaaay more Delisle reproductions than actual Delisles were ever made.

    That’s sorta neat to think about.

  • claymore

    This is a firearms blog………. one does NOT need a “suppressor license or and a short barrel license” to own one (6:42 in video) There is no such animal as a suppressor and or SBR “License”.
    One must be precise and succinct when posting on a firearms blog and describing procedures to obtain ownership.

  • Martin frank

    Quietest gun ever!!!!!! Let me blab on at full voice over volume nonstop while i shoot it so you can’t hear how quiet it is at all!!! Still have no idea how quiet it was.

  • 22winmag

    Very effective? .45ACP can’t penetrate the hull of my flimsy made in China wheelbarrow.