Secret Guns: Fully Automatic .22, Hip Mounted Pistol, Suppressed M1 Carbine

Recently we’ve been looking at a number of high-profile developments that came out of Special Operations Executive. Namely the infamous Welrod and Welwyn suppressed devices, and the Norm and Welgun experimental submachine guns. In this video, we take a look at some of the much lesser-known developments of the spy organization during the Second World War. A fully automatic .22 LR Colt Woodsman that had an excessive rate of fire, a hip mounted handgun that was designed to be shot while the user had their hands in the air, some fascinating cover stories that allowed the gunmaker John Wilkes Brothers to modify and repair small arms for SOE, and finally a highly modified and integrally suppressed M1 Carbine. Some of these small arms armed the agents parachuting into Fortress Europe and across lands captured by Imperial Japan, while others barely left the drawing board and served more as experiments of curiosity. However, all of these weapons were indicative of a time when the Allies were willing to throw any amount of effort at even a half-baked idea that would get Hitler or Tojo to surrender their empires quicker.

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Transcript ….

[coming soon]



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


  • georgesteele

    What video?

  • gunsandrockets

    Okay, about a 12 length barrel on that suppressed M1 carbine?

  • Paul Epstein

    The suppressed M1 Carbine just doesn’t make any sense to me- it probably won’t function, or honestly be any use at all if it did, with subsonic ammunition, so you’re stuck with the loud supersonic crack. It has lower capacity and no automatic capability compared to a Sten or M3 Grease Gun, while being larger overall and hard to conceal. Still not accurate enough, or long enough range, to be useful for a sniper’s weapon.

    And I was under the impression that the ONLY place to get .30 carbine during the war would be from the US supply chain, which can’t get into the places you’d be sending SOE operatives. At least with 9mm in a subgun German caches could be raided for additional ammo- and maybe the Germans or resistance would have a supply of older American or British cartridges that they captured at some point, but they’re not going to have the new carbine round in any number. Why carry a gun deep into enemy territory that you’re going to have to toss once you run out of the ammunition you’ve carried on you?

    • Kivaari

      Brits issued quite a few M1 carbines.

      • Paul Epstein

        But were they manufacturing ammunition and did they have the capability to deploy it for their operatives? Because this is late war. Britain isn’t getting blitzed anymore, but the damage was extensive. In comparison, 9mm is absolutely everwhere. Used by all sides and manufactured all over Europe since well before the war. Remember that they already HAD suppressed Sten guns, in addition to the Wel guns.

        Switching calibers out to one that is less useful when suppressed, and is harder to get, is what strikes me as the bad idea. Even if it gets you some range advantage over a Sten, under what circumstances does that overcome all of the drawbacks?

        • Kivaari

          From what I understand all the ammunition was USA made. We issued the manually operated M3 suppressed carbine and green tipped soft point ammunition. It would make sense for the SAS units in Greece and Yugoslavia (I assume elsewhere as well) to have a desire for such a gun. With about 9 made, I doubt any were fielded even though a desire existed.