MP 40 "Schmeisser" German WWII Military Machine Pistol. Making its Mark.
In 1940, German arms manufacturer
GmbH, better known as Erma was at work on a submachine gun for the
German military, the Maschinenpistole Modell 40 better known as the
MP40. The German army was in need of a lightweight, portable
automatic weapon with low production costs to replace its earlier
models MP36 and MP38. The very simple model designations
corresponded to the year of production. Approximately 1
units were produced over the course of World War II. Use of
MP40 was not widespread among German troops. Most Wehrmacht
soldiers were using the Mauser Karabiner 98k bolt-action rifles, and
the MP40 was used mostly by paratroopers, SS and select squad or
platoon leaders. Towards the end of the war a few assault
were outfitted with MP40s, because of the success of Soviet units who
had prevailed with this tactic. There was a general shortage
MP40s owing to the lack of materials and other hardships encountered in
Germany, especially after 1943, when things really began to go downhill
for the Third Reich. The weapon was often referred to as the
"Schmeisser", after gun designer, Hugo Schmeisser, a nickname
mostly by allied soldiers.
The MP40 was a stripped-down version compared to its predecessors, but was lighter and more cost-effective. Many of the machined parts of the MP38 were replaced with metal stampings on the MP40, and the early versions of it did not have hand guards along the barrel. The weapon's 32-round dual-column box magazine was prone to fouling from dirt and debris, and could easily jam , especially if the shooter used the magazine as a handhold. The barrel was unshielded, and if the shooter didn't excercise caution, could get a burn from touching it. The MP40 was a basic, blowback-operated, open bolt fully-automatic machine pistol that used the 9mm Parabellum cartridge--a standard ammunition caiber in Germany--that had already proven itself in the military. Unlike the selective-fire MP36, the MP40 was full-automatic only, but due to its low rate of fire, a shooter could make single shots by using a controlled trigger pull. It featured a folding stock, and a small aluminum or bakelite "bump" on the underside of the barrel to rest against a surface to steady the weapon during firing. The MP40 had a very simple safety device, an L-shaped notch on the left side of the receiver. It wouldn't have been difficult to accidentally loosen the safety device with a good jolt. Though there were quirks with the MP40, it was a generally reliable firearm. Most problems encountered by shooters were with the ammo clip. After World War II, the MP40 was used by anti-communist rebels in the Ukraine, the Norwegian Army used it until 1970, and was even used by the Israeli Defense Forces until 1956--if you can imagine that!--given the past between the Jews and Germans at the time this firearm was made. It was used as recently as 1999 by combatants in Kosovo, during the ethnic fighting that was the result of the collapse of communism in 1989.
Full-Automatic Machine Pistol
Nation Of Manufacture: Germany
Military Service Dates : 1939-1970 (some used as recently as 1999)
Variations: MP40/I, MP40/II
Ammunition: 9mm Parabellum
Wars: World War II, Ukraine rebels, Israeli conflicts, Kosovo, more.
Recent Prices at Auction for Originals: Up to US $15,000
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