WITU WIST-94 (Pyrit / Pyrite)
Semi-Automatic Service Pistol
The Polish-originated WIST-94 semi-automatic pistol arrived in number in 1999 and has gone on to see combat service in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The WIST-94 is a conventional striker-fired Double-Action-Only (DOA), 9mm short-recoil, semi-automatic service pistol originating out of Poland in the 1990s. Its design was headed by the Military Institute of Armament Technology (WITU) under the project codename of "Piryt" (translating to "Pyrite") and two distinct pilot forms - the rotary-locked MA01 and the tilting barrel-locked B01 - were tested beginning in 1992. After budget-induced delays, the B01 form was chosen for formal adoption and subsequent production under the designation of WIST-94. It officially entered service in 1999 with the army of Poland.
The WIST-94 is chambered for the ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum German pistol cartridge. A short-recoil action is used and feeding is from a 16-round detachable box magazine inserted into the base of the grip. On the whole, the pistol is of traditional design arrangement and function, borrowing tried-and-true elements from earlier John Browning designs (such as the tilting barrel locking mechanism). Internally, the barrel is octagonal, fitted over the recoil spring, and a single automatic firing pin safety system is used in which the strike is set in a near-cocked fashion for lighter trigger pulls of subsequent shots. Mixed construction is used to maintain rigidity but keep a lightweight form - the slide is of steel and the frame is of polymer. The magazine can be released from its well by way of a protruding button near the trigger unit - this button can be reversed for left-handed shooters.
All other qualities of the gun are as expected - the slide is ribbed at its aft-end for gripping, the pistol grip is ergonomically-shaped, iron sights are fitted over the slide (front and rear), and the curved trigger assembly sits within a thick trigger ring.
The WIST-94L is a variant offering integral laser sighting devices for low-level light work by special infantry units.
The handgun has seen combat actions in both the Afghanistan and Iraqi theaters of war.