Greatest pre ~1962 SMG

Dec 13, 2011
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#1
Well, which is it? I only thing I have experience with is a rented Colt F/A AR 9mm, and though it was quite well-worn... it still functioned flawlessly and shot great IMO(tho admittedly I've never had the opportunity to compare to anything else). Fire rate was a bit too high IMO. Ie anything past ~20yd give or take required controlled bursts. Obviously this one came way after 'Nam so it dont count, simply giving my lack of experience on the matter.

So basically what was the best SMG from the early'ish Vietnam era and before? Basically, what was the best SMG before the MP5?

I wish we would've gotten to see something like the MP40 in 7.63x25mm or 9x25mm Mauser.. or perhaps the Thompson or Grease Gun modded to run the .30 Carbine. I think, right before/during WW2, had we adopted the Thompson/Grease Gun/etc in .30 Carbine(or possibly even .22 Spitfire)... it woulda expedited/gotten our troops the service rifle they needed(ie M16 or possibly even the Stoner 63! :cool:(y)) **I know, I know the Stoner didn't run well unless you kept that sucker lubed like hell but I'm sure Mr Stoner coulda refined it to where it needed to be.. no doubt**


Anywho! Your choice for pre early-ish 'Nam era SMG?
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#2
Man thats a tough one, the Thompson, MP18, etc. were works of art. Beretta 38? Suomi? Grease gun? PPsh 41? I'd have'em all if funds allowed, but alas thats not the case.
Lots of people claim the Sterling is best, but I dunno.
 
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#4
I grew up in a Class III family, so I've shot about everything there is out there.

I have to say, and as much as it pains me to say it. The PPSH 41 is a buzzsaw. I know the Marines in Korea called them burp guns and had a deep seeded hatred for anyone who had one, and I can see why.

I LOVE the Thompson, but a PPSH 41 is light years ahead of it when you fire one. I cannot imagine being on the receiving end of one.
 
Jan 14, 2012
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#5
The Thompson was a fine SMG, heavy though. My Grandpa never cared for the Thompson because it was so heavy. He was in the Pacific in WWII. He preferred the M1 carbine.

The Sten would be hard to beat, as awkward as it was. The M3A1 "Grease Gun" was a lighter "cheaper" alternative to the good old Thompson. I believe the Sterling eventually replaced the Sten. I've fired a full auto Sten and they are fun to shoot. The Sterling seems to be better built.
 

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Jun 5, 2011
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#9
I don't know, I like the grease gun still. It was good enough for Delta Force way into the 80's or 90's.

The Sten had problems, so did the Sterling. Had to do with force on the magazine and improperly welded/attached mag wells. Then there was also something else about the Sterling but I forgot what. When they work they work though.

M1/M2 doesn't really fit the SMG category, it's really in a category of it's own.

Forget .30 carbine, FBI had some Thompsons converted to 10mm!
 
Dec 13, 2011
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#12
I guess the thing Im gone back&forth w/ is 7.62x25 vs 9x19 vs .45 ACP. It is/ hard to/makes it hard to argue against the fact the logistics already in place w/ 9x19 & .45 ACP.
AFAIK we never got to see a SMG of higher accuracy/quality than the PPS-43 chambered in a screamer like the 7.62x25 Tok / 7.63x25 Mauser, OR 9x25mm Mauser export.

Ie as said before; imagine an MP-40 chambered in 7.63x25 Mauser/9x25 Mauser Export running hot loads while still keeping accr'cy in mind w/out compromising reliability.
The Huns IMO made BIG mistake in not doing their MP40 in a hot loaded 7.62x25 Tok/7.63x25 Mauser(or perhaps even hot loaded 9x25mm Mauser Export). Basically what my premise is we'd have seen alot wider use of SMG's had the manufacturers chosen hotter rounds. Eg: the M2 select fire .30 Carbine was too light to be controllable in full auto. But instead of going that direction, do a Thompson/Grease Gun w/ slightly longer barrel + compensator in .30 Carbine(or perhaps even HOT loaded .38 Super?!!!?????!!).

Had we seen some of the things I mentioned above, I'd wager $50 the M1 Carbine would've never came to fruition.

--AFAIK: Hitler was fond of the SMG concept. If he could've been shown firsthand the capabilities of a high quality MP40 chambered in 7.63x25 and/or 9x25 Export... JMHO but that would've then warmed him up to the Stg44/MP44/etc concept alot sooner since they could perform simple test/trail showing the STG to be VASTLY superior to even the aforementioned hypothetical hot/powerful cartridge chambered SMG's ... as then the weapons engineers/etc could then have *possibly* explained to Hitler that they simply needed to fully commit their tactics/doctrine to being based largely around the MG42 + Stg-44(or whichever variant would be appropriate at the time this hypothetical was happening).

To summarize: have a squad/fire team consisting of what(?) - 1 MG42 crew, 4-5 STG44 riflemen, and 2 - 3 hot loaded 7.63x25/9x25 Mauser Export - chambered MP40 SMG gunners + a(or perhaps even 2(+) K98 equipped designated marksman..

We still woulda won the war no doubt, but our firefights with them would've been downright TOUGH!!!!!!!!!
 
Dec 13, 2011
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#13
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9×25mm_Mauser

^^^---> "In 1940, Mauser officials proposed using the C-96 as the vehicle for an upgrade to the 9×25mm cartridge to match the ballistics of the .357 Magnum. The upgrade would entail increasing the velocity to 450 m/s and introducing a crimp around the mouth of the case." !!!!!!!!!!!!

They coulda danged near had a SMG with very close to the same , if not the same MV's as a .357 Mag at whatevr barrel length/bullet wght. was settled on. That was different time tho w/ much less specialized powders so that must be kept in mind... but still! However my posr I hope aint too long to read & yall understand what Im gettin at as Ive just slameed 4 tall mangoritas in the past 35 min..

Anywho like I said dont wanna derail my own thread... but instead focus on the main orig topic while also delving into the hypotheticalas a lil biyt as well...

Thx 4 qny/all contributions gentlemen!
Blake
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#14
So I've fired everything above... except the Australian Owen. Which is pretty cook.

The Swedish-K (also a SW variant) is really a cool gun. Omega Man can't be wrong.

Sterling is really well made, but a suppressed Sten is way more fun. So quiet that all you can hear is the bolt cycling. Lots of clicking and things getting destroyed downrange.

The M3 Grease gun is fun... but, Stryker, it was only used at 1SFOD until about 1980 when they got their MP-5's. The history there is that Col. Beckwith got a pile of them surplus and used them in initial training. Some of the plankowners wondered why they had "Thousands of them" at the stockade. And Beckwith said "You don't have to feed them, you don't have to clean up after them. So STFU... " They were 'gotten rid of' as soon as HK's became available... having been adopted from the SAS and Uli Wegener's experience with them. BTW, grease guns are heavy... not very accurate. They tend to muzzle flip like bitches. And are really, really short range. MP5 is head-and-shoulders above.

I will still stick with the Schmeisser (yes, it was not his...). Simply because it is built like an AMG Mercedes... is just beautiful. And is really cool in a "I Know Nothing" Schultz kind of way.

Last, the Soviet Burp guns are really cool. But under-powered. Nothing else sounds like one. It's like ripping paper.

Some guns noone has mentioned in any detail.... The Uzi. Which is a fine weapon. Great to shoot. And the Colt 9mm Carbine which, in full-auto, is formidable. The DoE response teams and the NASA security guys loved them. Me too. Also, noone has even mentioned the Lanchester, which was beautifully done... too beautiful. Just too much machining and fit/finish. And the Mac 10. You are missing nothing. POS.

Last, a couple of unicorns. The VP-70M. Which was really cool. Designed for GSG-9. And the AR-180... which was designed for prisons on the Lewis-Gun pattern. 180 round magazine of .22 LR's that it could dump in about 6 seconds. It is an awesomely cool open bolt .22

So, Coyote... there ya go. Beauty, is, as always, in the eyes of the beholder.

And I stand behind my assessment that the MP40-variants... are still the coolest of all.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#15
You guys haven't mentioned all sorts of classics yet:

Steyr Solothurn S1-100, the Swiss K31 of SMG's, fit and finish is ridiculous for a military weapon.

Czech ZK 383, because everything Czech is awesome, and it's one of those weird guns where they didn't know if they wanted a heavy SMG or a pistol caliber LMG.

Villar Perosa, it may be the first gun to check all the SMG boxes, so that's worthy of mention. Also originally an airplane gun IIRC, and who doesn't like dual SMG's in their biplanes?

Beretta 38A, a great gun that almost no one has heard of, which is a shame. Nothing special about it, kinda like a Suomi but lighter.
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#19
Last, the Soviet Burp guns are really cool. But under-powered. Nothing else sounds like one. It's like ripping paper.
I'm not entirely certain I agree with the underpowered part. 7.62x25 has some zip to it. Sure it has one and a half less millimeters of frontal area relative to the 9mm, but it's going a good bit faster and while I've never shot a PPSH-41, I've been lead to believe its very controllable. So with twice the rate of fire of an MP40 I'd be inclined to think getting twice the rounds on target in a burst would make up for the smaller bullet to some extent.
 
Dec 13, 2011
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#20
How does the PPSH41 not count?
As sirhr said, its certainly up there, but I feel a lot of potential is(was) lost due to the PPSH and Tok ammo in general not being of high enough quality/accuracy (In my opinion). I think I'll have to go with sirhr's pick of the MP40 honestly, with many close seconds in the Sterling, Swedish K(always wanted one after reading about MACV-SOG & CIA in 'Nam)...

@sirhrmechanic I assume you're talking about a Sten with a modern suppressor? As from what I've heard, the original suppressed Stens, the commandos had to use them semi auto/single shots only because the suppressor would stop working working after a few rounds into the burst due to gas build-up? Perhaps this is true of all suppressors now that I think about it? And if you're talking about the Colt AR-style 9mm SMG, me and the old lady got to rent one. You're right, that thing was awesome! I'll throw the vids up when I can get around to it..
 
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#21
You guys haven't mentioned all sorts of classics yet:

Steyr Solothurn S1-100, the Swiss K31 of SMG's, fit and finish is ridiculous for a military weapon.

Czech ZK 383, because everything Czech is awesome, and it's one of those weird guns where they didn't know if they wanted a heavy SMG or a pistol caliber LMG.

Villar Perosa, it may be the first gun to check all the SMG boxes, so that's worthy of mention. Also originally an airplane gun IIRC, and who doesn't like dual SMG's in their biplanes?

Beretta 38A, a great gun that almost no one has heard of, which is a shame. Nothing special about it, kinda like a Suomi but lighter.
You mention several that for whatever reason don't get much.. attention?(can't find the word I'm lookin for) Just simply weapons that never got real popular or a whole of coverage or draw much attention.

Ie as you said, the Suomi, the Solothurn, etc....

Another that I've heard good stuff on is the Walther MPL, it just barely fits in my pre-MP5 criteria...which with that said, is one of the reasons I made the criteria what it is: this is the VINTAGE section; and, the MP5 would obviously be the consensus best SMG ever IMO.

As for the Uzi, I've read some say its overrated and not very well-built nor well-engineered..?? Is this BS sirhr?

*And as I said earlier, the Colt 9mm SMG is too new so obviously not in the running, but still a sweet lil blaster.
 
Dec 13, 2011
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#22
Forget .30 carbine, FBI had some Thompsons converted to 10mm!
Thats quite interesting, does the 10mm truly outdo the .30 Carbine ballistics-wise? While admittedly not looking up any ballistic charts or info, I'd think you'd get a bit more range out of the .30? I could see the 9x25 Dillon giving the .30 a run for its money(as a side note, my dream carbine is a 9x25 Dillon MP5).
 
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My father was a crew chief in Nam, early in the war. When he wasn't lugging around his "pig" on patrols, he carried a thompson sub-machine gun. As the story goes, he traded for it. He also kept it stored on-board his huey in case he needed something portable if the chopper went down. Will have to dig up a pic and post it.
 

Skookum

Entropy Personified
May 6, 2017
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#26
I doubt it could be considered "great" but the Czech VZ61 Skorpion was introduced in 1961, so makes your cut off date and hasn't been mentioned yet.
 

Soulezoo

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 4, 2018
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#28
I don't know, I like the grease gun still. It was good enough for Delta Force way into the 80's or 90's.

The Sten had problems, so did the Sterling. Had to do with force on the magazine and improperly welded/attached mag wells. Then there was also something else about the Sterling but I forgot what. When they work they work though.

M1/M2 doesn't really fit the SMG category, it's really in a category of it's own.

Forget .30 carbine, FBI had some Thompsons converted to 10mm!
.30 Carbine is more powerful than 10mm. On average about 1/4-1/3 so. Standard .30 carbine round is 110 gr. bullet @ 1990 fps. It can be loaded hotter.
 

Soulezoo

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 4, 2018
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#29
Frankly, if you can get your hand on an m-3 with hot loaded soft points, that makes for an excellent truck/camp carbine that doesn't scare people with "black and evil" features. ;)
 

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Jun 5, 2011
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#32
Okay, I got educated a bit on SMG's and the Thompson was probably the best made (particularly in US) and Grease Gun only replaced it due to costs with mfg. You could build several M3's for one Thompson and they were cheaper than M1 carbines too, plus full auto. There was an M2 but I don't know much about it. I saw some Ian McCollum videos on Amazon and learned a lot, and the best is probably a European one I can't recall, or the Thompson. The civilian Thompson was a better weapon than was the issued Thompson with the stick mags, but it was still a superior weapon compared to most others.

Thats quite interesting, does the 10mm truly outdo the .30 Carbine ballistics-wise? While admittedly not looking up any ballistic charts or info, I'd think you'd get a bit more range out of the .30? I could see the 9x25 Dillon giving the .30 a run for its money(as a side note, my dream carbine is a 9x25 Dillon MP5).
Not sure you'd want one 9x25 Dillon, I looked into those and for handguns they're just brutal and their biggest problem is stripping the jacket off the bullet and problems with velocity. 9mm bullets just aren't intended to go that fast. Now if you could (safely!) get away with loading resized .357 bullets, that may be a different story. But I don't know much about it. There is another round though, uh, it's a 5.56 loaded into a 10mm case, also a 6.5 loaded into one. You'll have to wildcat it yourself I think, the guy that invented it doesn't wanna sell to peons. But it wouldn't be hard to do I wouldn't imagine and you could get the dies and reamers made if not available for what you intend to do. 6.5 makes better sense to me.

Sure FBI also has 10mm MP5's as well as the UMP's. I'd probably rather have the newer UMP after getting to check one out. It's pretty nice and feels more solid. Don't understand why it's not more common. The 10mm, with stiff loads or "hot" loads, is close to .41mag for some loads and with 200gr. FMJ's it'll fully penetrate a large man, and most 180gr. HP's expand fully and go more than deep enough to reach vitals. And it can do this out of a handgun, no need for a carbine size weapon.

.30 carbine is more powerful than 10mm, but it's because it's a 110gr. FMJ @1995fps for ~950ft.lbs. I wouldn't have guessed. And it's in its own category, the M2 kits made it full auto but I'm not sure what year that was though I believe it earlier than '62 for sure. The 9x25 Dillon would smoke it's ass on paper but without being able to fire .357mag bullets, it's not worth it IMO. And you'd be in unknown territory. That cartridge was made purely to achieve a power factor at competition, and they rewrote the rules to stop this kind of evolution and so it's mostly died out.

I'd love to see a 6.5x10mm but it'll only exist as a wildcat I'm sure due to the fact it's AP by virtue.

Technically one could throw the AK in there as it was designed to replace SMG's and to be operated like one...
 
Sep 16, 2009
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#34
Most of the real operators of the era that I have met preferred the Sweedish K or grease gun. Thompson was very heavy. I think the M2 carbine would be high on the list as well but never heard much about it.
 

Skookum

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May 6, 2017
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#37
Sure FBI also has 10mm MP5's as well as the UMP's. I'd probably rather have the newer UMP after getting to check one out. It's pretty nice and feels more solid. Don't understand why it's not more common.
The UMP is a piece of shit. There are components of the fire control group that are prone to frequent breakage, the stocks are prone to breakage. The arc of the safe to semi to full auto switch is only about 60 degrees. It is VERY easy to go full auto by mistake. The magazines are fragile and expensive, and generally unavailable. The magazine goes in at an absurd reverse angle to the shooter, making emergency reloads pretty awkward for anyone proficient with the AR family of carbines.

H&K pretty much hates thier end users.
 

sandwarrior

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 21, 2007
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#38
M3 Grease gun, or Swedish K. I shot the M3 a little bit. I only got to handle one example of the Swedish K. While my posts in the past state the Swedish K wasn't as abundant as many would like to believe, it was, at times, the preferred weapon for some missions. Honorable mention certainly belongs to the MP-40, if not my best choice.

One thing many hear is the "operators choice" of weapons on missions. This is true to some extent. But, in truth many team leaders and commanders much preferred everyone be on the same page as much as possible as far as weapons go. So, many small units would use a common weapon amongst themselves for operations. While an SMG might be useful, unless it's useful across the whole unit, they weren't carried except as an extra. Nothing like having your average contacts at 100 yds. plus and you have a weapon that is only effective to that far. So, in most cases smg's were never "across the board" issue for a team.

Something that really highlights issues of choice in this thread is the "before 1962". I have to say the designs that really work well in the role of SMG are those that have collapsible buttstocks. True "machine pistols" with the ability to shoulder fire for some stability at distance. A great model of smg that doesn't meet this requirement is the PPSh-41. While reliable and having a bit better range than your average SMG, it's limited in wieldability by it's length. In open combat, it still doesn't have great reach. In buildings it doesn't swing as well as a shorter weapon. it really shines in close combat in open terrain, i.e. overruns and mass assault. Then again, a standard semi-auto battle rifle of the day does as well for this role, albeit heavier.

The last consideration is weight. While the smg's described in this thread were lighter than battle rifles and the ammunition was lighter as well, they have in a way been surpassed by modern assault rifle cartridges. Powerful enough to reach, just as wieldy in tight conditions and lighter in all respects than than their smg pistol round counterparts.
 

TorF

Sergeant
Oct 9, 2003
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#41
I've shot a lot with the rare MP41 side by side with the MP40 and the MP41 is the best of them. MP41 is a MP40 with wooden stock and selector.