The German MP40 submachine gun (Schmeisser) was a weapon our Allied Forces feared in World War II.
The MP 40 was a submachine gun chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge and an open-bolt, blowback-operated automatic arms. It was developed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by the Axis powers during the Second World War.
This weapon shot from a standard 32-round box magazine and the caliber was the standard 9x19mm Parabellum. Manufactured in Germany from 1940-1945, there were roughly 1.1 million of them manufactured.
Weighing just under 9 pounds, this submachine gun was not light. With a cyclic rate of 500-550 rounds per minute, this heavy, quick-firing gun held on target well when fired in fully automatic bursts.
Although the MP 40 was generally reliable, a major weakness was its 32-round magazine. Unlike the double-column, dual-feed magazine insert found on the Thompson M1921-28 variants, the MP 40 used a double-column, single-feed insert.
The single-feed insert resulted in increased friction against the remaining cartridges moving upwards towards the feed lips, occasionally resulting in feed failures; this problem was exacerbated by the presence of dirt or other debris.
Another problem was that the magazine was also sometimes misused as a handhold.
This could cause the weapon to malfunction when hand pressure on the magazine body caused the magazine lips to move out of the line of feed, since the magazine well did not keep the magazine firmly locked.
German soldiers were trained to grasp either the handhold on the underside of the weapon or the magazine housing with the supporting hand to avoid feed malfunctions.
The MP40 is quite a piece of history that lives on through museum, history books and the few privately owned submachine guns.
Here’s Youtuber Hickok45 trying out a couple of MP40’s.