Sunday, December 26, 2010


Picture provided by the 1ss reenactors of the CHG
The MP40 machine pistol was based on the pre-war MP38, modifying the earlier design to make it more suitable for mass production; more than a million were produced during the war. Its folding metal stock made it compact and easy to carry, even in cramped circumstances; its startling staccato bursts of fire shattered the silence in many Norman hedgerow. The MP40 won the admiration of Allied soldiers, who often referred to the MP40 as the "Schmeisser," despite the fact that firearms engineer Hugo Schmeisser, designer of the Bergmann MP18 submachine gun in 1918, was not involved in the design of either the MP38 or the MP40.

Early in World War II, the German Army High Command that its MP-38 submachine gun—although a superb, sate-of-the-art weapon—was too expensive and time consuming to produce under wartime pressures. Time and materials were short, and the Wehrmacht needed a submachine gun that was a 'bullet hose', not a work of art.

  1. Trigger Assembly
  2. Barrel and Receiver
  3. Firing Pin Assembly
  4. Bolt Handle and Extractor
  5. 32 Round Stick Magazine
    The answer was the MP-40, basically the MP-38 design with a heavy reliance on stamped sheet metal parts. Wherever possible, machined metal assemblies were replaced by brazed and spot-wielded components. The plastic foregrip was high-pressure molded from a phenolin resin, reinforced with paper pulp. Strong, lightweight and weather proof, the plastic also insulated the shooter from the hot metal parts.

    A sturdy, reliable weapon, the MP-40 was limited by a troublesome, single-column magazine. The designers at the Erma factory attempted to increase the gun's firepower by means of a dual magazine holder, holding two standard MP-40 magazines in a sling housing. Offering a 64-round capacity, it also increased loaded weight to over 12 lbs.

    The MP-40 had a number of producers. Initially, it was manufactured by Erma factory in Erfurt, the original developers of the MP-38. Later models of the MP-40 were made by Steyr Daimler Puch in Austria and by Haenel in Suhl.

    By today's standards, the MP-40 would be considered to big and too complex to produce economically. Its materials and construction, however, were the influence for virtually all of today's submachine guns and was the first submachine gun to be designed specifically designed for fast, economical manufacture, using stamped sheet metal and subcontracted assemblies wherever possible. This was one of the first firearms in which plastic was used as a substitute for wood and metal.

    Calibre:9mm Pist Patr 08 (9mm Parabellum)
    Operation:Fully automatic
    Rate of fire:500rpm (rounds per minute)
    Weight:3.97 kg (8.7 lbs)
    Overall length:83.2 cm (32.75 in with stock extended)
    Magazine:25 or 32 rounds
    Effective range:100m (110 yds)

    With the contribution of Marino Sommaggio

    1 comment:

    1. Correction: "Schmeisser" ist wrong and misleading. While lots of people outside of Germany (mainly former allied soldiers) call this MP "Schmeisser", the correct nickname would be "ERMA" because this was one of three manufacturers (Haenel and Steyr being the other two) who actually produced it. Hugo Schmeisser was just a shareholder of one of the production firms but had nothing to do with the invention oder the development of this gun.