This book provides a convenient reference to the history and characteristics of the self-loading pistols that were adopted by the military forces of the nations involved in the two World Wars. It presents a selection of nineteen self-loading pistols - and the firms engaged in their manufacture - during this period, together with a technical appraisal of each weapon. For each pistol a history of both manufacturer and pistol is provided, along with a colour photograph and cutaway views of both the pistol and its breech operation. Details and cutaway views are also provided for the cartridges used by these pistols. All of the weapons illustrated are representative of the pattern issued to the military, and in many cases they continued to be produced for the commercial market.