Staff Writer (Updated: 10/21/2014):
The Welrod was of a basic external design, appearing as nothing more than a relatively featureless steel cylinder fitting a vertical handgrip/magazine well with an integrated single-stage trigger and protective trigger ring. The cylinder measured in at 12 inches in length and was the heart of the weapon. Its shape was specifically designed to catch, and slowly disperse, the resultant gasses from a successful firing. This maintained all outgoing ammunition at subsonic levels and produced a sound pressure level of 73B, helping a given assassin maintain his/her covert status. The center compartment of the cylinder housed an expansion chamber while the major working components were held in the aft portion, this accounting for the bolt-mechanism, firing pin and the loading system. As a bolt-action weapon, the Welrod depended upon the user to manually operate the rear-set knob in order to cycle a new cartridge into the chamber making her a single-shot firearm. The knob was turned a quarter to the left and pulled, ejecting any cartridge in the chamber. Pushing the knob forward introduced a new cartridge from the magazine and delivered it into the chamber. During this action, the firing pin was cocked. A quarter turn to the right and the weapon was fully loaded and ready to fire. A basic safety mechanism was fitted to the weapon at the rear though this was the single safety the weapon maintained. Rudimentary front and rear iron sights were provided for ranged accuracy though the Welrod was designed from the outset for its short-range prowess - its cut-off muzzle made especially for pressing up against human targets. Effective range is thought to be out to 50 feet at best. The forward sight was actually set about midway across the top of the weapon. The cartridge ejection port was set directly above the magazine. Empty weight was approximately 2.65lbs (1.2kg).
Two versions of the Welrod were ultimately produced, these differing only in their caliber. One was designed for use with the 9mm Para cartridge while the other for the .32 ACP cartridge. Depending on the caliber model, the weapon could hold six (9mm) or eight (.32) rounds of ammunition in a single-stacked magazine column. The magazine effectively made up the pistol grip so, for improved portability, the component could be detached from the cylinder receiver (via a release under the trigger found inside of the trigger ring) and carried about in a pair of compact pieces. Once at a target area, the two components could once again be assembled to form the complete functional Welrod.
Incidentally, the interesting "Welrod" name comes from the designation system adopted by all of Station IXs clandestine products. As Station IX was based in Welwyn, all of its developments took on the first three letters within their product names - "WEL-rod". The Welrod can also be known under its more descriptive moniker, the "Assassin's Pistol".