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MP 40 file photo [5437]

MP 40 Submachine Gun

Country of OriginGermany
TypeSubmachine Gun
Caliber9.000 mm
Capacity32 rounds
Length630.000 mm
Barrel Length251.000 mm
Weight4.000 kg
Rate of Fire500 rounds/min


ww2dbaseMP 40 submachine guns went into production only two years after their predecessors, MP 38 submachine guns, arrived on the scene. Weapons of the two designs were collectively nick named "burp guns" by Allied soldiers. A more distinctive nick name for MP 40 was "Schmeisser", after the weapons designer Hugo Schmeisser, who actually had little to do with the MP 40; the designer of the weapon was Heinrich Vollmer of the firm Erma Werke. The literal meaning of the acronym MP was Maschinepistole, or in English, machine pistol.

MP 40 submachine guns were fully automatic, but the relatively low rate of fire allowed skilled shooters to prevent ammunition wastage by controlled trigger squeezes. Open bolts were seen atop MP 40 submachine guns, which also acted as safeties. They featured a folding stock, which was a first for submachine guns. The 32-round single-feed magazines that fed the guns from below were sensitive to dirt, and the soldiers who wielded MP 40 submachine guns quickly learned to slap when jamming, for that the jams were likely caused by dirt which could easily be loosened by sudden shakes.

Although just over 1 million MP 40 submachine guns were built through the course of the war, the usage of MP 40 submachine guns was relatively low. They were typically issued only to paratroopers, platoon leaders, squad leaders, and specialized urban assault platoons.

After the war, many MP 40 submachine guns remained in use. Ukrainian rebel groups used large quantities of them against the communist government in the 1940s and 1950s, the Israeli Army them until 1956, among others.

Source: Wikipedia. ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: Nov 2007

MP 40 Submachine Gun Interactive Map


German soldier with binoculars and MP 40 submachine gun, Poland, 1941German soldier capturing a Soviet soldier near the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union, 2 Sep 1941; note MP 40 submachine gun
See all 51 photographs of MP 40 Submachine Gun

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
9 May 2009 04:04:01 PM

Hugo Schmeisser had nothing to do with the design of the weapon However, his name was stamped on the bottom of the magazines, his company made. The Maschinepistole or MP40, was designed and built by the Erma Werke.
2. Commenter identity confirmed BILLl says:
14 May 2009 05:08:07 PM

During the break up of Yugoslavia a photograph was published, showing three soldiers carring their weapons,two had the trusty Kalashnikov AK 47's, the other a MP-40, How many of those weapons were stored away since the end of World War II?
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
18 Oct 2009 06:44:56 PM

Did you know: The Germans designed a bullpup
type rifle, known as the Wimmersperg Spz-kr
The SS used a .22 Cal Belt Buckle Pistol.
The Germans also had a copy of the 9mm Sten
Submachine Gun called the Mp-3008.
The 105mm Panzerschreck, that looked liked the American recoiless rifle.
The 7.92mm Stg-44 rifle that used the Zg-1229
Vampir IR sight system.
The German's worked on different designs of
magnetic mines, and also designed a type of
"Frisbee" hand grenade, throwing the discs
from ground level was not easy, but throwing
them from heights such as buildings proved
deadly, as the disc had good flight characteristics.
Even a prototype "Tow Missle" concept was developed, but never used in combat.
The X-7 as it was called was a proposed anti-
tank weapon once launched, the X-7 would be
guided by electronic commands sent along a
wire unrolled from spools located in the wingtips. German weapons designers had concepts, prototypes and opernational weapon
systems, that modern armies use today.
4. Anonymous says:
22 Apr 2013 12:29:10 PM

The germans were good at making guns but not at fighting wars, thankfully.

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MP 40 Submachine Gun Photo Gallery
German soldier with binoculars and MP 40 submachine gun, Poland, 1941German soldier capturing a Soviet soldier near the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union, 2 Sep 1941; note MP 40 submachine gun
See all 51 photographs of MP 40 Submachine Gun

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