A Conversation for Sub-machine Guns

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Post 1

Hezekiel

Great entry you've written, especially the working mechanism of smg's
was new to me and very interesting thus. It would've been nice to read
more about modern submachine guns, as they differ a lot from those
used in WW2.


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Post 2

Yowuzupman- New Top Speed 122 (thats mph you metric fools)

that MP5 is some weapon, but man I doubt it could feel as cool as an AK-47, I got to fire one of those last summer- loud as all get out- but really cool. Too bad we don't get to use them on the rifle team, all it is is good olde .22 single shot bolt action, not even magazine fed! smiley - biggrin

smiley - martiansmile


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Post 3

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

Nice article! More of these, please! smiley - ok


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Post 4

Zucchini

Many interesting facts in that article, thanks!
I would imagine that SMG's still popular with tank crews, or are the shorter carbine rifles being used more now? Hmm.
The Skorpion (polish weapon?) is worth a mention for it's small and cute nature.
It's also fun to see how Hollywood distinguishes between 'goody SMG' and 'baddy SMG'. If you're using an MP5 variant you're a good guy. If you use anything made by IMI or a Mac-10 then you're a bad guy :>
Same with AK's vs. M-16's.
My prediction is that at some point in the future, there will be a switch to ultra-small calibre rounds packing a heaftier punch, with a liquid propellent maybe.


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Post 5

Who?

The trend among tank crew is for folding butt/short barrel versions of standard assault rifles, but this is usually for when they have no tank. The Skorpion Vz (Vzor=model)61 is of Czech origin (possibly Slovakian now) and is still credited as the smallest SMG. Unfortunately for this entry, it was not sufficiently innovative for a post-war mention, as was the Shchetkin fully automatic pistol of the USSR.
They seem to classed more as pistols than SMGs despite the fact that the Vz61 has a wire butt and the Shchetkin has a shoulder stock/holster. Before you go on the attack, the MAC SMGs are very much pistol sized, but their innovations were worth a memtion.

I try to keep these entries down to under 2000 words and therefore a lot of details and examples have to go.


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Post 6

Von Muller

Nice piece here, interesting to say the least.
As to somthing Zuchini said "My prediction is that at some point in the future, there will be a switch to ultra-small calibre rounds packing a heaftier punch".

I think this wont be the case, small arms fire isn designed to injure rather than kill, thats the reason a round "tumbles" after striking the target. You end up taking out the chap you have hit, 2 fellas to carry him off and so on ... untill you have almost 50 people busy becouse of one wounded soldier

The life of the SMG is going to be short lived, the mordern assault rifle has better range, is more compact than its rifle ancestor, has a similar rate of fire (Styr AUG for example), greater accuracy and longer range.
I dont know about other nations but the British army issues the L85 to tankies ...
The assault rifle is now king and the SMG will fade away soon enough ...


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Post 7

Zucchini

The ammo switch I was referring to was for SMG's rather than battlefield weapons. Injuring rather than killing... fine on the battlefield but surely not for a security weapon in which you would want absolutely no possibility of a target returning fire? :>
As it happens the prototype HK G11 weapon was a small calibre caseless weapon but the US Army went for the OICW thing instead. Something like that would be more useful for a SWAT team - no brass pinging around or rolling around on the floor. It also means more bullets in your SMG. As for liquid propellent - no-one will need that until someone comes up with a better kind of body armour which is bound to happen one day. The other direction would be denser and denser bullet tips.


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Post 8

Zucchini

I agree that the shorter pistol round as we know them for SMG's will fade out though.


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Post 9

Von Muller

I think that the SMG was a reply to a call for an easy to use, hight rate of fire weapon mainly for infantry support.
Remember, at the time of thier invention only the germans had a light, man portable MG (MG42) which is still in use in some countrys.

As for the small caliber question, the smaller the round the less dameage done on impact, even tumbling a NATO standard 5.56 does less damage than the NATO 7.62 which would punch through the target.
There are accounds of people being shot with 5.56 4-5 times before they finally stopped being a threat. Simply put, a small caliber round would lack the stopping power of a larger round and therefore would not be used unless we decide to become sensible and start throwing pillows at each other.

As to better rounds, i agree with you here (makes a nice change), weapons have always been better than armour through necessity, after all whats the point in fighting somthing you cant hurt?

All in all ... im not convinced that the SMG has any future in any field other than crime, easy to conceal and brings the criminal on par with the security or law and order agencys, in some cases even out gunning them.


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Post 10

Zucchini

The idea behind a the small calibre is that it will be travelling _really fast_ (hence the liquid propellent (or the electrothermal propulsion method which I keep hearing about.)) which will give it it's penetrating power... With present technology this would just go through a body without much damage but I'm sure future designers will come up with evermore bloody ways to cause huge trauma damage. (Some kind of delayed core that will penetrate armour then spread out hollow point style)
According to A799392, the fast small G11 4.7mm bullets were highly accurate and so reduced training time. You could also have a helluva lot of them in the air at one time (third round in a burst leaving the barrel before you've even felt the recoil from the first)
What is your estimation of the MP5's lifetime in police forces?


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Post 11

Who?

Just a few points to consider
- the SMG became useful because it was light, simple to use, reliable and had a considerable rate of fire a close quarters. Light machine guns have the same qualities but they are heavier and more cumbersome.

- the aim of most military weapons is a first round knock-down with a standard FMJ round (Geneva & Hague conventions). Law enforcement is not bound by these conventions and so may use relatively weak 9mm Parabellum with a half jacket (soft head) which expands on impact and provides the necessary knock-down. They may also use hollow point which has a similar effect. Only local specification regulates their use.

- It is generally the cross-sectional area which achieves knock-down and is the reason why small clibre rounds are largely ineffective. It is the high velocity of these rounds which cause impact deformation which aids their wounding capability, as well as the shock wave which will also destroy tissue.

Wound Physiology is rather a grim subject, but it is the basis for much of modern ballistics.


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Post 12

Von Muller

I can apreciate how this weapon became useful, but its obvious that this weapon is now dated, as I have said assault rifles have a ROF that is equal to that of an SMG and has the stopping power to "fist hit knockdown" therefore the SMG must become obsolete in the near future (with the exception of one or two fine examples).
The MP5 is highly accurate and easy to use, favored by special forces around the world, this may survive as H&K are perhaps the best gunsmiths in the world (never got my hands on one).
might be worth considering that like the british, who went from the SLR (from the FN FAL family) to the bullpup L85A1 (SA80) partly becouse the SLR was too powerful at close range (blowing through the target in the falklands and not dropping them, this could be becouse of the NATO standard 7.62 which was very powerful being a relation to the .303 ) and that the full automatic has effectivly replaced the SMG. Also the L85 is shorter than a standard assault rifle, has a greater range to give it more flexability when fighting in close quarters and it high ROF makes it a good substitute for an SMG.
All this leads to one conclusion (for me anyway) the SMG is being replaced by the weapon it was designed to support, back in the day when mose rifles were single shot, incapable of fully automatic fire it was as useful as the MG support weapons and became invaluable to the infantry man, but the evolution of the assault rifle means it has become out dated and although not obsolete deffinatlly not the threat it once was.


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Post 13

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

"...not the threat it once was." Ahem. They are exactly the threat they once were. A 1900s rifle, properly maintained, can still kill just as well as it ever did; it's just that the modern weapons are *more* of a threat. smiley - erm

Sorry, I can't help being pedantic; it's in the job description... smiley - silly


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Post 14

Who?

Just to hammer home the message, the P53 Enfield rifle (muzzle-loading, .577" lead bullet & black powder) will still kill at ranges up to 500m. Equally a .22LR round will kill at ranges up to 300m if it hits the right place.

The SMG got the military mind thinking about close range weight of fire, the intermediate round (7.62kurtz, 7.62 M43, Remington .233) got them thinking of ranges up to 300m. The usefulness of a the SMG is diminishing in strictly military terms although it is still used for police and close protection since the overshoot danger is considerably less with a 9mm Para that with .233 (5.56mm NATO).

Incidently, the Falklands episode was not the SLR (or FAL) which was considered an effective knockdown. It was the AR15 (original M16) firing .233 Remington which was going through. The modern 5.56mm NATO is a more pwerful development (The SS109 from Belgiun's FN).


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Post 15

AgProv2

Just to say the regular British Army was still using the Sterling SMG (a later, more sophisticated variant of the Sten - what the Sten Gun would have been with better-quality parts, more development time and a working safety catch) in the early 1980's. These were largely issued as personal sidearms to rear-echelon troops and HQ units, or to signallers and engineers with other jobs to do. They were rarely seen in Northern Ireland - just as well, you can imagine what might have happened on

I understand that in the manner of these things, they were eventually filtered down to TA units, reservists and Army Cadet formations who had less priority on the supply chain. When I was in the Army Cadets in the 1970's, we were issued bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifles and Bren guns that were by then obselete in regular and reserve service. I assume today's Army Cadets practice and parade with SLR's and Sterlings - but I hope the old Mk 4 Lee-Enfields are preserved somewhere, as this was by far my favourite weapon of anything I handled! (Sentimental, I know, as they'd be hopelessly outclassed for weight of firepower compared to an AK-47 or an SA-80. But, I would assert, the mk4 was ten times more accurate and forgiving on the user)


great

Post 16

AgProv2

Just to say the regular British Army was still using the Sterling SMG (a later, more sophisticated variant of the Sten - what the Sten Gun would have been with better-quality parts, more development time and a working safety catch) in the early 1980's. These were largely issued as personal sidearms to rear-echelon troops and HQ units, or to signallers and engineers with other jobs to do. They were rarely seen in Northern Ireland - just as well, you can imagine what might have happened on Bloody Sunday if these had been issued...

I understand that in the manner of these things, they were eventually filtered down to TA units, reservists and Army Cadet formations who had less priority on the supply chain. When I was in the Army Cadets in the 1970's, we were issued bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifles and Bren guns that were by then obselete in regular and reserve service. I assume today's Army Cadets practice and parade with SLR's and Sterlings - but I hope the old Mk 4 Lee-Enfields are preserved somewhere, as this was by far my favourite weapon of anything I handled! (Sentimental, I know, as they'd be hopelessly outclassed for weight of firepower compared to an AK-47 or an SA-80. But, I would assert, the mk4 was ten times more accurate and forgiving on the user)


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Post 17

AgProv2

Hmmm.... just been back to War and Weapons and noticed there's no guide entry on the Lee-Enfield mk's 3 and 4 rifles that served the British Army between the early 1900's and early 1960's- in short, the rifle that did its bit to win two world wars and which at least 50% of the male population (nearly 100% if over sixty) will have fired at some point.

This is getting my Guide Entry-writing circuitry fired up...


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