SILENCER SATURDAY #52: A Market For A Modern Welrod?

    Modern Welrod

    Good evening quiet readers and thank you for joining us once again for TFB’s Silencer Saturday, the only place where single shots can be more fun than select fire weapons. Which leads me into today’s topic: is there a market in the U.S. for a modern Welrod pistol? While many of today’s suppressor manufacturers focus on space age materials, full auto ratings and heavy abuse, I often wonder if a single shot repeating centerfire pistol purpose-built to be suppressed would have a large enough consumer market to be successful. Would the barrel need to be ported? Would the silencer need to be designed for wipes? Is the classic Welrod styling a must-have for buyers? Let’s take a look.

    Above: The PTR91 (G3K Clone) sporting The recently arrived AAC TiRAID 30 suppressor. Review underway.

    SILENCER SATURDAY #52: A Market For A Modern Welrod?

    What is it about the Welrod?

    Even though Wikipedia reports the original Welrod only produces 73dB with each shot – scientifically impossible at the muzzle or ear – I can only imagine that it is still the quietest traditional cartridge pistols ever produced. For me, that alone would push me to be a buyer. I do recognize, however, that my tastes differ from the average NFA owner. But with the added allure of WWII clandestine operations, I imagine there would be enough customers to make a production model worthwhile.


    Should the format include Stand Alone Pistol?

    If we work our way down the features lists, the first major question that needs to be answered is if a single shot magazine fed repeater is a firearm that would sell in the United States? Forget the silencer aspect of a modern Welrod for a minute, are there enough people that would buy a one-shot pistol with a threaded barrel? If the answer is yes, I believe that the suppressor design options will open up slightly.

    Answer: Yes

    Should the Barrel be ported?

    Is an internally ported barrel a requirement for a modern Welrod? Keeping all ammunition well below the sound barrier will be the key to a closed action pistol, but I’m not convinced that it is a requirement for the new Welrod. If the gun is chambered in 9mm, which would be my suggestion, there are enough options for heavy subsonic factory loads that a ported barrel is unnecessary.

    Answer: No

    A One Piece Upper Receiver/Silencer?

    Where the rubber really meets the road is the upper receiver and the silencer itself. For simplicity reasons, my first thought would be to produce a barrel/receiver/tube/silencer as one unit. The tube would be of fixed length and would use a monocore baffle design that would simply unscrew from the muzzle. One alternative would be a modular silencer, so allowing the new Welrod to be configured in different lengths. Another option would be to have the pistol be simply threaded with a typical pitch so that any silencer could be used.

    Answer: Maybe

    Should The Lower Receiver Be Based On a Current Firearm?

    Sometimes it is easier to take an already existing and successful design and adapt it for use on a new project. Other times, a ground-up build is easier, cheaper and quicker. Part of me thinks that using a Ruger  MKIV lower receiver is an option. Or maybe a fire control unit from an existing pistol would make for an easier design? The same goes for magazines – rather than spending weeks designing and building a box with springs, an off the shelf option would keep costs down.

    Answer: Probably

    What is a realistic price point?

    We could build a modern Welrod with up-to-date internals and a classic look that is very quiet, but no one would be a buyer because the price point might reach $4K. So what is a realistic price? Most modern 9mm suppressors range somewhere between $600 to $800. And modern semiautomatic pistols are $400-$500. If we use the MSRP of the SilencerCo Maxim 9 of $1,499, we may be able to predict a realistic price for the Welrad (relax, I’m just market testing some product names).

    Estimated price: $900-$1,000

    Other Considerations:

    • Optic Rail?
    • Accessory Rail?
    • Removable grip/magazine?
    • Sights
    • Caliber – Multiple with barrel change options?
    • Materials – Stainless, titanium, aluminum?
    • Outer diameter: larger than the original 1.25”?

    Credit: Wikicommons

    Credit: Wikicommons

    The Welrod takes the form of a 1.25-inch-diameter (32 mm) cylinder, about 12 inches (300 mm) long. The rear section of the cylinder contains the bolt, the middle section the vented (16-20 ports) barrel and expansion chamber for the barrel, and the front section the baffles (rubber) and wipes of the suppressor. There is a knurled knob at the rear that serves as the bolt handle, which unlocks when rotated 90 degrees. The magazine is also the grip and can be removed for easier conceal-ability. The exclusion of a pistol grip was apparently done to help conceal the weapon’s purpose and in some groups it was called a “bicycle pump” due to its innocuous look with the magazine/grip removed. – Wikipedia


    But you say that B&T has already developed and produced a modern Welrod? Very true and I have been dying to own one for years. Importation laws (points) have prohibited U.S. sales of the pistol itself. And while U.S. made versions of the VP9 exist, they have yet to make it to market. European versions are sold as a complete kit that includes two silencers and accessories, which might be costly in terms of a price tag and multiple tax stamps.

    B&T VP9

    https://www.bt-ag.ch/shop/eng/bt-vp9/bt-veterinary-pistol-vp9-suppressed-cal-9-x-19-bt-410000

     

    The VP9 is, as a repeating pistol in calibre 9 x 19 mm with an integrated suppressor, the most quiet pistol in this calibre on the market. The barrel, due to several holes in front of the chamber, slows normal (supersonic) ammunition down to subsonic speed, therefore the suppression is optimal.

    • Calibre: 9 x 19 mm
    • System: Bolt action
    • Operation: Single shot
    • Length: 285 mm
    • Width: 35 mm
    • Height: 114 mm
    • Barrel Length: 50 mm
    • Twist Rate: 250 mm / 10″
    • Weight: 900 g
    • Primary Sighting System: Open sights
    • Sight length: 100 mm
    • Charging handle: Rear
    • Magazines: 5 rounds, integrated
    • Also included:
      One spare magazine, training suppressor, mountable NAR-rail, 20 replacement discs for suppressor, toolkit, cleaning kit, case, manual

    So, what will it be: wait for the VP9 or start designing a Modern Welrod? Ideas welcome.

    Thanks to the TFB staff and our industry partners for their support and insight.


    TFB’s Silencer Saturday is brought to you by Sig Sauer

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    Special Thanks:

    Pete

    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]


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