Whilst Westley Richards has always been a manufacturer of its own guns and rifles, during the heady days of Empire there was a huge requirement for general sporting and military type arms for personnel serving in the armed forces. To fulfil their needs (and budgets) and to capture its share of the market Westley Richards often turned to other manufacturers including Mauser, Mannlicher, Colt, Smith & Wesson, etc.
One of the more interesting firearms sold by the company was the Mauser C96 ‘Broomhandle’ semi automatic pistol in 7.63mm calibre. Retailed exclusively by Westley Richards between 1899 – 1904. It was one of the most deadly weapons of its day and found favour with officers serving in the British Army due to its rapidity of fire. One notable user was W.L.S.Churchill who used one during the battle of Omdurman and the 2nd Boer War.
As you would expect with Westley Richards several improvements were made including an interchangeable wind gauge peep and v sight for fine shooting, along with a new bullet called ‘the all range destructive’.
Examples of the pistol can still be found today bearing the ‘Westley Richards & Co’ name on the left hand side of the action. Many came supplied with a walnut holster which doubled as a clip on stock for long range shooting. I have always wondered how many saw active service fighting the Germans in WWI, the ultimate irony!