Tag Archives: burp gun

Maschinenpistole 38 vs Maschinenpistole 40, in detail

Ian with Forgotten Weapons takes a look in-depth at the classic German 9mm sub guns of World War II, and what sets them apart.

The MP38 was an open-bolt, blowback burp gun with a folding tubular stock designed by Heinrich Vollmer who had something like a half-dozen different submachine guns in his resume beforehand. While it was a good gun, it was replaced after just two years of production by the follow-on and very similar MP40.

“Now the differences between these two guns are not mechanical at all, really,” says Ian, “They are industrial,” going on to elaborate on the manufacturing processes behind each, with the MP38 being extensively milled while the MP40 was stamped and simplified.

Further explanation and hands-on, side-by-side disassembly ensue.

The evolution of the mighty, mighty Owen

In the darkest days of WWII, 24-year-old Pvt. Evelyn Ernest Owen, with 2/17 Battalion of the Australian Army, from Wollongong, New South Wales, submitted a homemade gun he made to the Army for testing.

His handy burp gun used a gramophone spring, was chambered in .22 rimfire, and was rejected.

But he kept working on the design, and, in full production by 1943, proved one of the most popular of WWII submachine guns– at least in Commonwealth service in the Pacific.


More in my column at Guns.com.