Sunday, December 26, 2010

AEK-919 K "Kashtan" submachine gun

AEK-919 submachine gun was developed at the Kovrov Mechanical Plant in the mid-1990s for Russian Army and special law-enforcement forces. Initial design was based on Austrian Steyr MPi-69 submachine gun, and was not withouth a certain flaws. After initial testings design was improved - overall lenght was decreased, cross-bolt safety switch was replaced by the rotating fire selector/safety swithch; ergonomics also was improved. Resulting design was named AEK-919K "Kashtan" and probably is used in small numbers by different special forces of the Russian Army and Law Enforcement units.

AEK-919K, latest version, fitted with the "red dot" sight and a silencer

AEK-919K is a simple blowback operated, selective fire submachine gun. It featured a "sleeved" bolt which, in forward position, encloses the rear part of the barrel. AEK-919K is fired from the open bolt, and fed from the two-column magazines that hold 20 or 30 rounds. Receiver is made from the stamped steel, pistol grip with triggerguard and a heatshield are made from the plastic. Cocking handle is located at the left side of the receiver and does not move when gun is fired. AEK-919K featured an "L"-shaped open rear sights marked for 50 and 100 meters distance, it also can be equipped with laser aiming device and "red dot" sight. Barrel of the AEK-919K featured polygonal rifling and threaded muzzle, so a silencer can be quickly installed if required. Retractable stock is made from the steel, with rubberised buttplate.

AEK-919K, left side view, with stock extended

AEK-919K is a compact and handy firerarm, and the only drawback i found when holding that gun at one of the exhibitions is in the placement of the safety/selector switch. When gun is in the "safe" mode, it is almost impossible to switch the gun into "fire" mode withouth the weak (non-firing) hand or withouth rotating the gun in the palm. In all other respects AEK-919K is reported to be accurate, reliable and comfortable to fire, even from off-hands. A currently advertised along with AEK-919K "red dot" sight is a little bit cumbersome but it allows for much faster target aquisition; any other, more compaqct "red dot" sight also can be installed withouth getting into much (if any) trouble.

AEK-919K, rigjht side view, with stock collapsed

Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov
Weight: 1.65 kg with empty 20 rounds magazine
Lenght (stock closed/open): 325 / 485 mm
Barrel lenght: 167 mm
Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds
Effective range: 100 meters

Monday, December 20, 2010

PP-90 submachine gun

The PP-90 represents the abortive attempt to copy the concept (and probably some design ideas) from unsuccessful American Ares FMG (Folding Machine Gun) weapon, produced by Ares Defense company in mid-1980s. PP-90 had been developed in early 1990s by KBP design bureau in Tula, otherwise known for highly efficient and successful weapons, from submachine guns and up to tank and naval guns. Both Ares FMG and its PP-90 clone were intended for concealed carry, and folded down to relatively compact, plain looking metal box. When needed, these guns were to be unfolded into ready to fire position in 3 - 4 seconds. I'm not sure about Ares FMG, but the PP-90 became a failure - resulting design was somewhat unreliable and totally uncomfortable. Initially issued to some police and security forces in Russia, this gun now destined to collect dust in farthest corners of the armory rooms, due its terrible ergonomics and poor handling characteristics.

PP-90 submachine gun in ready to fire and folded positions

PP-90 submachine gun - unfolding into ready position

Caliber: 9x18mm PM
Weight: 1.83 kg w/o magazine
Length: 485 mm in ready to fire position; folds down to 270 X 90 X 32 mm (length X height X width) box

Rate of fire: 600 - 800 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Effective range: 50 meters

The PP-90 is entirely made from stamped steel, and folds around the point just behind the barrel breech face. PP-90 is a blowback operated, automatic only weapon (selective fired in PP-90M1 version).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kedr PP-91 / Klin PP-9 submachine gun

The Kedr submachine gun had been originally designed by the Evgenij Dragunov (the designer of famous SVD sniper rifle) in the early 1970s as the PP-71, on request from Soviet Army. But then project was shelved and revived only in early 1990s, when Russian police felt the need for increased short-range firepower. PP-71 was slightly modified and then manufactured in limited numbers and issued to various law enforcement forces across the Russia. It was soon discovered that the original 9x18mm Makarov ammunition was not powerful enough, so new type of ammunition had been developed. This new cartridge, 9x18mm PMM, while retaining same dimensions, had slightly lighter bullet and heavier powder charge, which increased its performance. Basic Kedr design was slightly strengthened by 1994 for this new ammunition, and appeared as the Klin submachine gun. Both Kedr and Klin are used in limited numbers by various Russian police and security forces. It must be noted that for safety reasons use of PMM ammunition has almost ceased in Russian law enforcement, and most units are issued standard 9x18 PM ammunition. Therefore, only Kedr version is currently manufactured for police use.

Kedr submachine gun, right side, with 20-round magazine and butt folded

Klin submachine gun, with butt opened

Kedr PP-91 submachine gun is blowback operated, selective-fired weapon. It fires from closed bolt for enchanced accuracy, and features traditional hammer unit. Safety / fire mode selector lever is located on the right side of the stamped-steel receiver and permits for single shots and full automatic fire. The only difference between Klin and Kedr is that Klin is slightly strenghtened and has radial grooves in the chamber, to slow down wxtraction of the more powerful 9x18 PMM ammo. Kedr PP-91 submachine gun is fitted with top-folding steel butt, and can be equipped with detachable silencer. Standard sights are of open type, with L-shaped rear blade that automaticaly flips over to "short range" setting when butt is closed and to "long range" setting when butt is opened. Feed is from detachable box magazines holding 20 or 30 rounds.

Klin submachine gun, partially disassembled

Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov (9x18mm PMM - Makarov Modernized for Klin)
Weight: 1.55 kg empty
Length: 539 / 305 mm (butt open / folded)
Barrel length: 120 mm
Rate of fire: 800 rounds per minute (1050-1200 rounds per minute for Klin with PMM ammo)
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds box
Effective range: about 50-100 meters for Kedr; up to 150 meters for Klin with PMM ammo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AT-4 (Spigot) / 9M111 Fagot Anti-Tank Guided Missile

The AT-4 Spigot wire-guided anti-tank missile system has been improved over the years since its initial introduction in 1970.

The AT-4 Spigot anti-tank wire-guided missile system is similar to the French-made MILAN system, though smaller in size. It fires the wire-guided SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command to Line-of-Sight) anti-tank missile. The system was designed in 1962 by the Tula Machinery Design Bureau and entered production in 1970.

The AT-4 was developed as an infantry and vehicle-mounted tank killer, making up a pivotal component of Soviet anti-tank crews. The weapon system weighs in at just over 25lbs. The initial muzzle velocity at launch is 80 meters per second while this increased to 186 meters per second in flight. Since this is a wire-guided system, the operator has to continually point the sighting device at his target.

Launchers for the 9M111, 9M111-2 and 9M111M missile are the 9P135 (base launcher), 9P135M (Spigot and Spandrel missile systems), 9P135M1 (updated/improved 9P135 system), 9P135M2 (updated/improved 9P135 system)), 9P135M3 (with thermal imaging night sight) and the 9S451M2 (with night sight).

The AT-4 is in service with a myriad of countries world wide - many being former Soviet-friendly states and nations.

The AT-5 "Spandrel" is a similar weapon system developed alongside the AT-4.

Specifications for the AT-4 (Spigot) / 9M111 Fagot
Action: Semi-Automatic
Cartridge: 120mm
Feed System: 1
Muzzle Velocity: 610ft/sec (186m/sec)
Maximum / Effective Range: 6,562ft (2,000m; 2,187yds)
Sights: Scope

Overall Length: 1200mm (47.24in)
Barrel Length: 875.00 (34.45in)
Empty Weight: 11.50kg (25.35lbs)

Monday, December 13, 2010

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun

The OTs-02 Kiparis (Cypress) submachine gun had been developed by designer Afanasiev during the 1970s on request from Soviet army at the Tula Central Sporting and Hunting Arms Design Bureau (TSKIB SOO). However, at the time the gun was not adopted, and design laid idle until early 1990s, when it was resurrected on request of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry, as a possible special purpose police weapon. It is adopted in 1995 by MVD and Russian police and issued to various special troops, including OMON and SOBR groups.

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun, fitted with optional silencer and laser aiming module

Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov
Weight: 1.57 kg empty
Length: 590 / 317 mm (butt open / folded)
Barrel length: 156 mm
Rate of fire: 600 - 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds box
Effective range: 100 meters

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun with butt folded; note different color of the plastic grip (early production model)

The OTs-02 is a blowback operated weapon of conventional design. It fires from closed bolt for enhanced accuracy, and thus has a conventional hammer unit. Safety / fire mode selector is located on the left side of the gun and permits for single shots and full automatic fire. Receiver is made from stamped steel, magazines are inserted at the front of the triggerguard. OTs-02 is fed using straight box magazines of 20 or 30 rounds capacity, steel butt folds up at to the front when not in use. OTs-02 can be fitted with detachable silencer and laser pointer. Despite the relatively high rate of fire, OTs-2 is claimed to be rather accurate in full automatic fire, and even more so in semi-automatic mode.

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun partially disassembled

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sudaev PPS-43 submachine gun

The PPS-43 (Pistolet-Pulemet Sudaeva, model of 1943 = Sudaev SMG) was born as an answer to the need for weapon that is more compact and mobile than PPSh-41, then in use by Soviet Army. PPSh-41 was somewhat too long to be used by tank crews and mobile recon groups and paratroopers, so lae in 1941 Red Army issued a request for new, more compact SMG. Designer Sudaev initially designed his new SMG in 1942, and it was adopted under the designation of PPS-42. Next year he refined the design and thus final model was designated as PPS-43. This SMG was manufactured in significant numbers (nearly 2 millions of PPS-43 weapons were manufactured between 1943 and 1946). PPS-43 is sometimes referred to as the best SMG of World War 2. After WW2, it was widely exported to pro-Soviet regimes around the world and widely copied.

Sudaev PPS-43 submachine gun

Caliber: 7,62x25 mm TT
Weight: 3,67 kg loaded, 3,04 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open): 615 / 831 mm
Barrel length: 250 mm
Rate of fire: 500-600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 35 rounds
Effective range: 200 meters

Technically, the PPS is a full-automatic only weapon, based on simple blowback principle, and is fired from the open bolt. The safety is located at the front of the triggerguard. The receiver and barrel shroud are made from stamped steel. Rear sight is L-shaped flip type and is marked for 100 and 200 meters distance, front sight is fixed blade type. The barrel is equipped with simple muzzle brake. The folding stock is made from steel and folds up and over the top of the receiver. Barrel was chrome-lined and thus very durable - average barrel life was 20,000 rounds.

PPS-43 used only one type of magazines - curved box magazines, which held 35 rounds. These magazines were externally similar to, but not compatible with box magazines of PPSh-41.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun

Early production Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun, with drum magazine and tangent-type rear sight

Caliber: 7,62x25 mm TT
Weight: 5,45 kg loaded with full 71 rds drum; 4,3 kg with full 35 rds magazine; 3,63 kg without magazine
Length: 843 mm
Barrel length: 269 mm
Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 71 rounds in drum magazine or 35 rounds in curved box magazine
Effective range: meters

Late production Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun, with box magazine and flip-up rear sight

The PPSh-41 (Pistolet Pulemjot Shpagina model of 1941 = Shpagin submachine gun) was one of major infantry weapons of the Soviet troops during the World war 2. Total number of PPSh's manufactured during WW2 estimates to more than 6 millions. The gun became one of the symbols of the Great Patriotic War. Retired from Soviet Army service soon after the WW2, the PPSh was widely exported to some pro-Soviet countries around the world, including China, Vietnam and many African countries.

It was effective, but somewhat crude weapon, reliable in combat but not without certain flaws. It has somewhat excessive rate of fire, and its drums were uncomfortable to carry and prone to feed problems once spring is weaken.

Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun partially disassembled

The PPSch-41 was designed as a cheap and simple but effective war-time weapon. It featured simple blowback operated action, and fired from open bolt. To decrease the recoil stress, gun was fitted with bolt buffer at the rear of receiver. The buffer was made from fiber and was attached to the return spring guide rod. The striker was permanently fixed to the bolt face. PPSh-41 was a select-fire weapon, with fire selector switch located inside the triggerguard, ahead of trigger. The safety was integrated into the charging handle and locked the bolt in forward or rearward position. The receiver and the barrel shroud was made from stamped steel. The front part of the barrel shroud extends beyond the muzzle and acted as a muzzle brake / muzzle flip compensator. Early PPSch-41's were issued with drum magazines with capacity of 71 round, similar to ones used in PPD-40.

Such high capacity increased the firepower but the magazines were too slow to refill and not too reliable, so in 1942 a curved box magazine was developed. This magazine held 35 rounds and was much more comfortable to carry in pouches. Early magazines were made from 0,5 mm sheet steel and were somewhat unreliable. Later magazines were made from 1 mm steel and were completely satisfactory. Usually, infantrymen carried one drum in the gun and some box magazines in the pouches or pockets.

Early guns featured elevation-adjustable rear sights, marked up to 500 meters; late production guns had flip-type "L"-shaped rear sights marked for 100 and 200 meters range.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Degtyarov PPD-34, PPD-34/38 and PPD-40 submachine gun

Degtyarov PPD-34 submachine gun

Degtyarov PPD-34/38 submachine gun, top and PPD-40 submachine gun, bottom

Caliber: 7,62x25mm Tokarev (7.63mm Mauser)
Weight: 3,23 kg w/o magazine; 3,66kg with loaded 25-round magazine, 5,4 kg with loaded 71 rounds drum (PPD-40)
Length: 788 mm
Barrel length: 279 mm
Rate of fire: 800 rounds per minute (PPD-34); 900-1000 rounds per minute (PPD-40)
Magazine capacity: 71 rounds drums (also 25 rounds box magazines in PPD-34 and PPD-34/38)
Effective range: 200 meters

The PPD (Pistolet-Pulemyot Degtyarova) had been developed by famous Russian small arms designer Fedor Degtyarov by 1934. It was formally adopted by the Red Army in 1935 and entered limited production as the PPD-34. Made in small numbers, it was mostly relegated for NKVD use, mostly for border guards. Slightly modified in 1938, it was then produced until 1939 in PPD-34/38 variation, with newly developed 71 rounds drum with long neck. After the Winter War experience (1940 war between USSR and Finland), new version of PPD has been rapidly developed, with the most visible change being the two-part stock, cut to accept new pattern of drums, which had no neck. This became the PPD-40. After the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War in 1941, it was soon been discovered that the PPD-40 is less than ideal for wartime production, so it was quickly replaced by the more efficient and inexpensive PPSh-41, which appeared in great numbers and was widely used by Red Army.

The PPD-34 was a conventional arm of its period, being greatly inspired by the Bergmann-Schmeisser MP28 submachine gun. All versions of PPD were simple blowback weapons and all fired from open bolt. Machined receiver and vented barrel shroud were of round cross-section. PPD were fitted with tangent type rear sights, rather optimistically marked up to 500 meters. Models of 1934 and 1938 vintage had single piece wooden stocks, while last model of 1940 had two piece stock with distinctive cut made for magazine housing. All versions were capable of semi-automatic and full automatic fire. Fire mode selector was located in front of the triggerguard; separate safety was built into the cocking handle and was used to lock the bolt either in cocked or uncocked (forward) position.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blyskawica submachine gun


Blyskawica submachine gun

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3,2 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 556 / 730 mm
Barrel length 197 mm
Rate of fire ~600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 rounds

Blyskawica submachine gun (Pistolet maszynowy Błyskawica in Poilish language; "Błyskawica" means "Lightning") was developed and built by Polish resistance groups that fought Nazi Germany during the WW2. The gun was based on the British Sten, but with certain modifications in regard to the feed, trigger unit and shoulder stock. About 700 Blyskawica submachine guns were built in 1943-45 by underground workshops, run by Polish resistance groups.

The Blyskawica submachine gun is a simple blowback operated weapon which fires from open bolt, in full automatic mode only. Feed is from double stack, single feed magazine copied from the British Sten, magazine housing is located below the gun. The manual safety is located inside the trigger guard, in front of the trigger. Gun is equipped with the bottom-folding shoulder stock, inspired by the German MP.40 submachine gun. Sights are fixed, with forward post and rear aperture.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PM-98, PM98S and PM-06 submachine gun


PM-98 submachine gun, buttstock retracted

PM-06 submachine gun, buttstock retracted, with optional red-dot sight

PM-06 submachine gun, buttstock collapsed

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 2.3 kg empty 2.5 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 405 / 605 mm 395 / 610 mm
Barrel length 185 mm 185 mm
Rate of fire 640 rounds per minute
770 rounds per minute PM-98S
640 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 15 or 25 rounds 15 or 25 rounds

The PM-98 submachine gun was developed in Poland as an improved version of the PM-84P Glauberyt submachine gun. The PM-98 shares same internal design, but features redesigned polymer handguard and charging handle. The magazine release catch was relocated to the base of trigger guard to faciltate faster reloading, and therefore magazines are not interchangeable between PM-84P Glauberyt and PM-98 submachine guns. The PM-06 is the latest version of the same line-up, and differs from the PM-98 submacine gun by having different buttstock (with three adjustable reatracted positions), improved front sight protection and a Picatinny rail on the top of receiver as a standard feature. A semi-automatic version of the PM-98 is manufactured for police and civilian (where legal) markets as BRS-99, in carbine (with buttstock) or pistol(without buttstock) form.

The PM-98 submachine gun is a simple blowback operated weapon that fires from closed bolt. Submachne gun features internal hammer unit and a rate-of-fire reduction mechanism (which is absent in the PM-98S version). Gun can fire in single shots or in full automatic mode, thanks to the combined fire mode selector / safety switch, located on the left side of receiver. It also features a bolt hold-open mechanism, with bolt release lever located in front of the safety / selector lever, above the grip. The single charging handle is located on the left side of the gun (as opposed to the PM-84). The polymer forend is hollowed at the front to provide installation point for a tactical flashlight or a laser aiming module. The buttsock is retractable, with dual stamped steel struts. The rear sight is adjustable for zeroing and is set for 75 meters range.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SCK-65 submachine gun


SCK-65 submachine gun. in ready to fire position

SCK-65 submachine gun; butt folded, magazine removed

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 4 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 501 / 762 mm
Barrel length ?
Rate of fire 550 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds

The SCK-65 submachine gun was developed during early 1960s by Japanese company Shin Chuo Kogyo (SCK), and subsequently adopted by Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Due to strict Japanese laws, this submachine gun was never exported out of Japan, and thus is rarely known. The SCK-66 submachine gun, which appeared a bit later, was externally similar to Model 65 but had lower rate of fire.

The SCK-65 submachine gun is a simple blowback weapon which fires from open bolt, in full automatic mode only. The gun is somewhat unusual as it has ejection port on the left side of the gun. The ejection port is fitted with dust cover, which must be manually opened before the gun can be loaded or fired, as it has a small projection on its underside which locks the bolt when cover is closed. This manual safety feature is complemented with automated grip safety in the form of a lever, located at the rear of the extended magazine housing. Tho disengage this automated safety, operator must grip the lever with his left hand and push it firmly forward, against the magazine housing. The cocking handle is located on the right side of the gun and does not move when gun is fired. The barrel is enclosed into the tubular jacket, which, surprisingly, has no cooling ports or slots. The side-folding shoulder stock is made from thin steel tubes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

INDEP Lusa submachine gun


INDEP Lusa A2 submachine gun

INDEP Lusa A2 submachine gun

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 2.8 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 451 / 584 mm
Barrel length 159 mm
Rate of fire 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 28 rounds

The Lusa submachine gun was developed during early 1980s by Portuguese arms manufacturing company INDEP, which at that time manufactured under license the HK G3 automatic rifles of German origin. To save on manufacturing costs, Portuguese designers utilized same manufacturing techniques (steel stamping) and some parts of the G3  rifles. Compared to another submachine gun which is also based on G3 rifle, the famous HK MP5, the Lusa is significantly simpler and thus cheaper to manufacture, mostly because it uses simple blowback action. For some time Lusa A2 submachine guns were manufactured in portugal and used by Portuguese armed forces and police, but in 2004 INDEP sold all manufacturing documentation and dies to a group of American inestors, which established an American company to produce improved versions of this submachine gun, as well as a civilian-legal semi-automatic version of the same design. The company, known as LUSA USA, offered the Lusa submachine guns and carbines for several years, but recently the production in USA was ceased pending the sale of the company.

The Lusa submachine gun uses simple blowback action, firing from closed bolt in single shots and full automatic. It utilizes hammer-firing trigger unit with 3-position safety / fire mode selector switch, similar in design to those of G3 rifle. Receiver is stamped and formed from sheet steel and then welded. The magazine housing is extended below to form a grip for non-firing hand. Charging handle is amde in the form of dual sliders, located above the barrel. To charge the gun, user must grip those sliders with fingers and pull them rearwards, and then release. The Lusa submachine gun is fitted with short polymer forend, and with retractable metallic buttstock. Sights are adjustable only for zeroing, rear sight is of diopter type.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Type 100 submachine gun


Type 100 submachine gun, early "paratrooper" version with side-folding butt, bayonet adapter under the barrel and adjustable sight

Type 100 submachine gun, late war version (made in 1944-45), with fixed rear sight and simplified bayonet lug

Type 100 submachine gun, late war version (made in 1944-45). Top view showing curved box magazine in place

Caliber 8x22 Nambu
Weight 3.8 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 889 mm
Barrel length 228 mm
Rate of fire 450 rounds per minute (~800 for 1944 model)
Magazine capacity 30 rounds

The Type 100 submachine gun was developed by famous Japanese small arms designer, gen. Kijiro Nambu. First prototypes of this submachine gun were submitted for Japanese Army trials in 1939, and the new weapon was formally adopted in 1940 (2600th year in contemporary Japanese calendar). This submachine gun was initially produced in two forms, as a standard infantry gun with solid stock and as a paratrooper weapon, with side-folding butt. In 1944, following the decline in Japanese industry, the basic Type 100 submachine gun was simplified, and put in production in this form. Overall, several tens of thousands of Type 100 submachine guns were manufactured in Japan by Nambu company and Nagoya and Kakuro arsenals between 1940 and 1945. The gun was of more or less conventional design, but towards the end of the war it was severely plagued by poor quality of materials and workmanship, as well as by marginally powerful ammunition, also of dubious quality (especially during the latter part of the war). After the war it became obsolete in Japan, but some were encountered during latter local conflicts in the SE Asia region.

The Type 100 submachine gun is a simple blowback weapon, firing from open bolt and in full automatic only. The curved box magazine was inserted horizontally from the left, with ejection to the right. Barrel was enclosed into the tubular jacket, perforated for better cooling, and fitted with muzzle brake - compensator. The Type 100 submachine gun was equipped with carbine-style wooden stock. Paratrooper version of this weapon had a side-folding stock, with hinge located on the right side of the stock, just behind the trigger guard. Early Type 100 submachine guns were fitted with adjustable rear sights, 1944-model weapons had fixed rear sights.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mendoza HM-3 submachine gun



Mendoza HM-3 submachine gun, original 1970-80's era model, butt folded, magazine removed

Mendoza HM-3 submachine gun, original 1970-80's era model, ready to be fired

Mendoza HM-3S semiautomatic police carbine, current production model

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 2.7 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 400 / 635 mm
Barrel length 225 mm
Rate of fire 600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 rounds

The Mendoza HM-3 submachine gun was designed by Hector Mendoza, son of the famous Mexican small arms designer Rafael Mendoza. This compact and modern weapon was subsequently adopted by Mexican military. Because of strict Mexican laws, it was never officially exported outside the country. In late 1990s Mendoza company began manufacture of an improved weapon, with modern polimer furniture and different cocking arrangements. This weapon still is known as HM-3 and is available in two basic versions - selective fire HM-3 for military use and semi-automatic only HM-3S for police and security use.

Mendoza HM-3 submachine gun operates on simple blowback principle, from open bolt. It can shoot semi-automatic or in bursts, with combined safety / fire selector switch being located on the right side of the gun, above the trigger.  Mendoza HM-3 submachine gun features "wrap-around" bolt which is exposed for the most part of its length, with cocking serrations machined on either side of the bolt in front of ejection port. Feed is from detachable box magazines, which are inserted into the pistol grip. Buttstock folds horizontally to the left side of the gun, and forms a forward grip when folded.

The Mendoza HM-3S semiautomatic carbine is different that it fires from closed bolt, has a polymer furniture and an U-shaped cocking handle (instead of the serrations) above the still exposed bolt.

Monday, October 25, 2010

FBP m/976 submachine gun


Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3.12 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 657 / 850mm
Barrel length 250 mm
Rate of fire 600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 or 36 rounds

The FBP m/976 submachine gun was developed in Portugal by arms-making factory Fabrica de Braco de Prata, and adopted by Portuguese military in 1976. This weapon can be considered as an evolution of the earlier FBP m/948 submachine gun, which it replaced in service.

FBP m/976 submachine gun is a simple blowback weapon that fires from open bolt, in single shots of full automatic mode, thanks to the combined safety / fire mode selector lever, located on the left side of the trigger unit, above the trigger. The bolt is of simple design, with large diameter return spring that requires no additional guides. Gun is equipped with grip safety which locks bolt in forward or rearward position. Barrel can be fitted with optional screw-on barrel jacket. L-shaped flip-up  backsight has settings for 50 or 100 meters. Gun is equipped with sliding, telescoping buttstock made of steel wire, which is patterned after US M3 submachine gun.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

FBP m/948 submachine gun


FBP m/948 submachine gun, with optional bayonet lug on the barrel

FBP m/948 submachine gun

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3.75 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 635 / 813 mm
Barrel length 249 mm
Rate of fire 500 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 rounds

FBP m/948 submachine gun was developed at Portuguese arms-making factory Fabrica de Braco de Prata, and adopted by Portuguese military in 1948. The FBP m/948 submachine gun was broadly based on two wartime designs - German MP40 (bolt and return spring setup, safety) and US M3 (receiver design, trigger and shoulder stock). FBP m/948 submachine gun was extensively used by Portuguese military and by some former Portuguese colonies.

FBP m/948 submachine gun is a simple blowback weapon that fires from open bolt, in full automatic mode only. The bolt and especially return spring and its external telescoping guide are patterned after the German MP40 submachine gun, although the bolt design is somewhat simplified. The safety, which uses an L-shaped cut in the cocking handle slot in receiver to lock the bolt in the open position is also based on MP40. The overall layout and design of the stamped steel receiver and pistol grip / trigger unit is patterned after American M3 submachine gun. Sliding, telescoping buttstock, made of steel wire, is also copied from US M3 weapon. The FBP m/948 submachine gun was sometimes fitted with optional bayonet lug on the barrel.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Minebea M-9 submachine gun


Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 2.8 kg / 6.2 lbs
Length 399 mm / 15.7"
Barrel length 120 mm / 4.7"
Rate of fire 1100 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 25 rounds
Effective range 50-100 meters

Minebea M9 submachine gun was developed by Japanese Minebea company to replace obsolete US-made M3 submachine guns in service with Japan Self-defense Forces (JSDF). JSDF adopted this weapon during early 1990s to arm secondary military personnel like tank, vehicle and artillery crews (M9 is issued as a personal defense weapon instead of the traditional pistol). Minebea M9 is based on Mini-Uzi submachine gun. It was produced under license from IMI (now IWI Ltd), and it seems that it is no longer made. Some sources in Japan suggest that JSDF is looking to replace this submachine gun (which has some dubious features) with German-made HK MP5 submachine guns.

In its basic design, Minebea M9 submachine gun closely resembles the Mini-Uzi. It has the same simple blowback action with bolt that telescopes around the rear part of the barrel. Firing is from open bolt (presumably), in full and semi-automatic modes. Unlike its prototype, Japanese submachine gun is fitted with additional front grip and a flash hider on the barrel. On the other hand, there's no shoulder stock, and this greatly limits the accuracy of fire, especially when firing in full automatic mode with such high rate of fire.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PM-84 PM-84P Glauberyt submachine gun


PM-84P submachine gun, with shoulder stock retracted and forward grip unfolded

Caliber9x18 PM9x19 Luger / Parabellum
Weight1.84 kg empty2.17 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open)354 / 560 mm375 / 575 mm
Barrel length165 mm185 mm
Rate of fire600 rounds per minute640 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity15 or 25 rounds15 or 25 rounds

PM-84 Glauberyt submachine gun has been developed in Poland during early 1980s, as a possible replacement for overly expensive PM-63 submachine gun of roughly same size and properties. However, PM-84 has been designed for less expensive manufacturing (using steel stampings instead of machining), and also in two calibers instead of one; the 9x18 version was destined for Polish use, while 9x19 version was obviously intended for export. With the fall of the Iron Curtain and dissolution of the Warsaw pact, Polish military and police switched over to 9x19 Luger caliber. To-day, onlye the 9mm Luger version is manufactured in Poland by ZM Lucznik factory, as PM-84P Glauberyt.

PM-84 is a blowback operated weapon that fires from closed bolt and has a separate hammer unit. The rectangular receiver is made of steel stampings, with the bolt reciprocating inside. Cocking handles are made in the form of two "ears" projecting from slots at either side of the receiver. It has a safety / fire selector switch located above the grip, on the left side. Double-stack magazines are inserted into the pistol grip, and have capacity of 15 or 25 rounds. Magazine release is located at the base of the pistol grip, just behind the magazine well opening. The Glauberyt submachine gun also features a bolt hold-open device, with bolt release lever located on the left side, in front of the manual safety / fire selector lever. Both front and rear sights were protected by wings; rear sight is of flip-up type with two range settings, for 75 and 150 meters. PM-84 submachine gun is fitted with folding front grip under front part of the receiver, and with retractable steel buttstock.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PM-63 Submachine gun


PM-63 submachine gun with front grip and buttstock folded; 25-round magazine is removed from grip

PM-63 submachine gun with front grip and buttstock opened for better control during fire; slide is cocked and gun is ready to fire

Caliber: 9x18 Makarov PM
Weight: 1.6 kg empty; 2.0 kg with loaded 25-round magazine
Length (stock closed/open): 333 / 583 mm
Barrel length: 152 mm
Rate of fire: 650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 15 or 25 rounds
Effective range: 100-150 meters

PM-63 submachine gun is quite interesting weapon, which is better described by its native name Pistolet Maszynowy wz.63 (machine pistol model of 1963). Indeed, it has layout of a large pistol, and can be fired single-handedly like any other pistol. On the other hand, PM-63 had folding buttstock and frontal grip (also folding), and had selective-fire capability. Furthermore, while it has a pistol-like slide which is integral with breechblock, it fires from open bolt, much like most submachine guns.

PM-63 has been designed by famous Polish gun designer Peter Wilniewczyc by 1963. First issued to Polish special forces in 1965, it also gained a name of RAK (Reczny Automat Komandosow - Commando handheld automatic [weapon]). Other than special elements of Polish army, PM-63 also was used by East German police.

PM-63 is a blowback operated weapon that fires from open bolt (slide). Return spring is located below the stationary but easily removable barrel. Front part of the slide is shaped like long spoon and acts as a muzzle rise compensator during automatic fire. It also can be used to cock weapon single-handedly, by pushing the compensator against the hard surface until slide is locked back by the sear. For more usual two-hand cocking slide is equipped with typical side serration at the rear. Fire mode (single shots or bursts) is selected by the trigger pull - short pull until first stop produces single shots, further pull on the trigger results in full automatic fire. PM-63 is fitted with inertia-type fire rate reducer, which is located inside the rear of the slide. After each shot in full-auto mode, reducer holds the slide in the open position for a fraction of a second, while inertia pellet cycles inside its channel under recoil. On its way forward, this pellet releases the slide to go forward and fire next round. Manual safety is located on the frame, just behind the grip, on the left side of weapon. Box magazines are inserted into pistol grip and could have capacity of 15 or 25 rounds. For better control during burst fire, or for more accurate single shots, PM-63 is fitted with folding shoulder stock made of stamped steel, and with folding front grip. However, mild recoil of 9x18 cartridge combined with sufficient weight of the weapon, allows it to be fired single-handedly at shorter ranges, even in full-auto mode. Sights are of open type, with blade front and flip-up "L"-shaped rear, which is graduated to 75 and 150 meters. PM-63 could be carried in special holster or using a loop belt, which attaches to a single swivel at the rear of the frame.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FNA-B 43 submachine gun


FNA-B 43 submachine gun (with 20-round magazine)

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3,7 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 526 / 790 mm
Barrel length 200 mm
Rate of fire 400 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 10, 20, 32 or 40 rounds

The FNA-B 43 submachine gun was designed and manufactured at the Fabbrica Nazionale d'Armie (National Arms Factory) in Brescia, with several thousands of guns made in 1943 and 1944. Despite its rather modern and compact appearance, it was built to pre-war standards of manufacturing and design. It had a delayed blowback action and a complicated trigger mechanism, as the gun fired from the closed bolt. Most of its parts were machined from solid steel, making it quite expensive to manufacture. Not surprisingly, its production was very limited in comparison to other contemporary submachine guns.

The FNA-B 43 submachine gun is delayed (retarded) blowback operated, selectively-fired weapon which fires from closed bolt. The delayed blowback action is achieved by using a Kiraly-type two-piece bolt with retarding lever, similar to that used in Hungarian 39M submachine gun. Since this weapon fires from the closed bolt, its firing pin has a separate spring, located inside the bolt, and a necessary linkage which releases the firing pin when bolt is fully in battery and the trigger is pulled. Fire mode selector is located on the left side of the gun, above the pistol grip. A separate safety lever is also located on the left side of the gun, above the trigger. Feed is from double stack, double feed magazines of the Beretta M38 pattern. The magazine housing is pivotally attached to the receiver and can be pivoted forward, so magazine would rest below the barrel and parallel to it – an useful feature when carrying a weapon with long 40-round magazine. The barrel of the gun is protected by a full length perforated jacket, made of steel, with integral muzzle brake – compensator at the front. The metallic shoulder stock folds down and forward, and rests on the right side of the gun when not required. The iron sights are fixed, with rear V-notsh sight factory zeroed for 100 meters range.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beretta M1918 submachine gun


Caliber 9x19 Glisenti
Weight 3.3 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 851 mm
Barrel length 318 mm
Rate of fire 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 25 rounds

The Beretta M1918 submachine gun (also known as Moschetto Automatico Beretta m1918) can be considered to be the first "conventional" submachine gun to be ever issued to the troops, as, according to some sources, its issue predates that of the more famous Bergmann / Schmeisser MP.18 submachine gun by several weeks. It was desinged on request from Italian army, which sought to improve on the cumbersome Villar-Perosa M1915 weapon. Beretta's designer Tulio Marengone took the half (one gun of the twin weapon) of the Villar-Perosa M1915 as a base, put it into the carbine-type wooden stock, and added rifle-type trigger unit. The barrel was lenghtened and fitted with integral underfolding bayonet, making this gun a formidable "trench warfare" tool. It was reported as durable and reliable weapon, and more than few Beretta M1918 submachine guns survived to see the action during early stages of WW2, mostly in northern Africa.

The Beretta M1918 submachine gun uses delayed blowback action, in which the delay of the initial opening of the bolt is achieved by rotation of the bolt, through the bolt handle that slides against the inclined part of the cocking handle slot. Firing is from open bolt, in full automatic mode only. Feed is from top-mounted box magazine, ejection is to the bottom. An ejection chute is added to the bottom of the stock to protect firer's left handle from hot spent cases, which are ejected from the gun with considerable force. The sights are offset to the left to clear the overhead magazine. The muzzle is fitted with integral folding bayonet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

SOCIMI Model 821 submachine gun


SOCIMI Model 821 submachine gun

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 2.45 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 400 / 600 mm
Barrel length 200 mm
Rate of fire 550 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 rounds

SOCIMI Model 821 submachine gun was developed in around 1982 as a joint effort between two Italian companies, the Societa Costruzioni Industriali Milano S.p.A. (SOCIMI) and Luigi Franchi S.p.A. This weapon was offered to all interested buyers until early 1990s, when the SOCIMI company finally folded. Some sales were reported in international literature, although exact details and buyers are generally unknown.

In its design the SOCIMI Model 821 submachine gun was heavily based on Israeli Uzi submachine gun, although it significantly differed in manufacturing techniques used to produce receiver and trigger housing - instead of stamped steel Italian engineers used aluminum alloy forgings. One interesting aspect of this weapon is that a special variant of the SOCIMI Model 821 submachine gun was designed especially to fire 9mm AUPO "caseless" ammunition, usually associated with experimental Benelli CB-M2 submachine gun. Appropriate version of this weapon was covered in US patent 4,895,064, issued to SOCIMI company in 1990.

SOCIMI Model 821 submachine gun is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon that fires from open bolt. Combined safety - fire selector switch is located on the left side of the gun, above the pistol grip. An automated grip safety is located at the rear of the pistol grip. Cocking handle is located above the receiver. Box magazine is inserted into the pistol grip. Gun is fitted with side-folding metallic buttstock, that folds horizontally to the right when not in use. The rear sight is of L-shaped flip-up type, with settings for 100 and 200 meters.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Villar-Perosa OVP submachine gun


Villar-Perosa M1915 twin-barrel submachine gun on the one-man portable "tray" mount, used by mountain troops. Photo from Austrian army museum, Vienna

Villar-Perosa M1915 twin-barrel submachine gun less mount. One (right) magazine is removed. Photo from Russian museum of Artillery, St.Petersburg

Villar-Perosa M1915 twin-barrel submachine gun in action, on light tripod and with armored shield (in light machine gun role). WW1 era photo.

Villar-Perosa M1915 twin-barrel submachine gun, fitted with wooden stock for off-hand use

Villar-Perosa OVP M1918 submachine gun (automatic carbine). Single-barreled hand-held submachine gun  produced from 1/2 of the original Villar-Perosa M1915 weapon

Villar-Perosa M1915Villar-Perosa M1918
Caliber 9x19mm Glisenti 9x19mm Glisenti
Weight, empty 6.5 kg (less mount) 3.6 kg
Length (stock closed/open) mm 902 mm
Barrel length 279 mm 279 mm
Rate of fire 2 x 1200 - 1500 rounds per minute 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 2 x 25 rounds 25 rounds

The Villar Perosa submachine gun is one of the most unusual weapons that emerged during the WW1. The name of the weapon comes from the name of the company that manufactured these guns, the Officine Villar Perosa (OVP in short). This gun was originally designed in 1914 by famous Italian small arms designer Bethel Abiel Revelli as an aircraft weapon. In this role it found no success, as it was designed to fire low-powered 9mm Glisenti ammunition, which was even weaker than dimensionally similar 9x19 Luger ammunition. In 1915 the Villar-Perosa was converted for ground applications, with introduction of variety of mountings, including light tripods or carrying trays (which were carried on shoulder straps or put on the ground for more stable position and less exposure to enemy fire). Later on, a wooden rifle-type stock was designed for Villar-Perosa, so it could be fired more or less comfortable from the shoulder, thus creating the first practical submachine gun in the world. After the war, some of the original Villar-Perosa weapons (which were actually assemblies of two similar guns) were disassembled into halves, and put into rifle type stocks, with addition of the rifle-type triggers. Such conversions were known as Villar Perosa OVP M1918 (when done by Villar Perosa). A slightly improved version of the same design was also produced by Beretta company, and it was known as Beretta M1918.

The Villar Perosa M1915 weapon was assembled from two guns of exactly same design and appearance, which were held together by the plate at the front of the receiver and by the twin spade grips assembly at the rear. Each gun has its own trigger, operated by a separate thumb button between spade grips. The guns themselves used delayed blowback action, in which the delay of the initial opening of the bolt was achieved by rotation of the bolt through the bolt handle that slid against the inclined part of the cocking handle slot. The bolt rotation, combined with separate firing pin, provided safety measure against premature ignition of the cartridge, as the firing pin was able to go forward and strike the primer only when bolt was in battery and completely rotated. Guns fired from open bolt, in full automatic mode only. Due to the lightweight bolt and powerful springs, the rate of fire was excessively high for the ground applications, being between 1200 and 1500 rounds per one gun (rising up to 3000 rounds per minute when both guns were fired at once). The feed was from detachable box magazines, holding just 25 rounds each, so one magazine was forth just one second of the continuous fire. Magazines were inserted into the each gun vertically from the top, ejection was to the bottom. Sights were located between the guns, with rear sight being built into the spade grip assembly and the front sight into the front plate that held both guns together.

The OVP M1918 submachine gun was made from one gun from the original M1914 twin weapon, with added shoulder stock and a new dual trigger setup, which allowed for single shots (rear trigger) and full automatic fire (front trigger). The cocking of the bolt was achieved by pulling back the knurled sliding sleeve, located around the receiver. Feed arrangement was similar to the original twin weapon, with top-mounted box magazine. The rate of fire was somewhat lower, making this gun somewhat more controllable and more useful in ground combat. A new set of sights was installed, with line of sight necessarily moved to the left to clear the magazine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TZ-45 submachine gun


TZ-45 submachine gun

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3.2 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 546 / 851 mm
Barrel length 229 mm
Rate of fire 600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 10, 20, 32 or 40 rounds

TZ-45 submachine gun was developed in Italy toward the end of WW2, by two brothers, Tony and Zorzoli Giandoso (hence the index TZ). Several thousands of the TZ-45 submachine guns were manufactured for Italian army in 1944-45, and when the war ended and demand for new submachine guns fell, production of this weapon has ceased immediately. During early 1950s the manufacturing license for TZ-45 has been sold to Burma, where it was put into limited production for Burmese armed forces as BA-52.

The TZ-45 submachine gun is a simple blowback operated weapon which fires from open bolt. It uses advanced primer ignition principle, and can fire in single shots of full automatic, thanks to combined safety / fire mode selector, located on the right side of the trigger unit, in front of the trigger guard. Additional automated safety is provided in the form of the lever, located just behind the magazine housing. When gun is at rest, the upper arm of this lever locks the bolt in open or closed position. To be able to cycle the bolt and/or fire the gun, operator must deliberately grip the magazine housing, pressing the lower arm of the safety lever forward, toward the magazine housing body. The barrel of the TZ-45 is enclosed into the slotted jacket, with muzzle compensator at the front. TZ-45 used same box magazines as Beretta 38 submachine guns. The retractable buttstock is made of steel wire. Sights are fixed, set for 100 meters range.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Benelli CB-M2 caseless submachine gun


Benelli CB-M2 submachine gun, with butt folded. Note the ejection port visible between the trigger guard and magazine housing.

Diagram from British patent (applied for in 1981) for basic bolt and ejection system of Benelli CB-M2 submachine gun.

Firing system of Benelli CB-M2 submachine gun.

Caliber 9mm AUPO "caseless"
Weight 3.4 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 450 / 660 mm
Barrel length 200 mm
Rate of fire 800-1000 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds

The Benelli CB-M2 submachine gun was designed by Italian small arms designer Bruno Civolani, who at the time (early 1980s) worked for famous Italian gun-making company Benelli armi. This submachine gun was developed in an attempt to create a weapon that would fire novel "caseless" ammunition. Work on this experimental weapon continued until about 1985, when it was dropped for apparent lack of progress and insufficient benefits, offered by this system over conventional ammunition. in fact, the 9mm AUPO ammunition, as it was known, was not caseless. It has a straight-walled brass case which was formed by extending bullet jacket rearwards. This "case" was permanently attached to the bullet and once fired, left the bore along with it. Case was open from the rear. Powder charge was held in place and protected from elements by hermetic but flammable seal. Ignition charge (priming compound) was located in the internal annular grove around the base of the bullet core (see diagram above).

The Benelli CB-M2 submachine gun utilized more or less standard blowback operation and fired from open bolt, but it also had some peculiar design features. First, to provide necessary obturation (gas seal) at the breech of the barrel, the chamber was bored much deeper than usual, so the bolt head was allowed to enter the rear of the chamber before discharge, blocking the release of the powder gases rearward and into the receiver. Second, as the gun still required some form of extraction and ejection (for example, to clear misfired cartridge), it had an ejection opening at the base of receiver, just behind the magazine port. The bolt head had a patented ejector hook which engaged the inward-facing rim, formed on the cartridge base. Once the ejector retracted the failed cartridge rearwards over the magazine, it can freely fall down and out of the gun through the ejection port. Third, the ignition system featured a special firing pin, which was located above the chamber and moved vertically downward when struck. It reached the wall of the cartridge through the channel, bored in the chamber wall, to hit the priming compound through the cartridge case once the bolt is fully in battery. Gun was equipped with polymer pistol grip and forend, and a top-folding metallic buttstock.


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