MP38 MP40 - 'Gun Stories'

Americans who faced its fury in World War II called it the "Schmeisser," nicknamed after a man who had nothing to do with its design. But the machine pistols, designated MP38 an MP40, perfectly matched Germany's philosophy of all-out war, and soon proved themselves on battlefields across Europe. A terrifying weapon in the hands of an apparently unstoppable military machine.

With war drums clearly sounding, a newly re-militarized Germany sent out a call to Erfurter Maschinenfabrik, known as ERMA, for a reliable machine pistol for their paratroops and motorized infantry, the cutting edges of the new German war machine. ERMA quickly retooled their MP36 prototypes, and the new machine pistol was adopted as the MP38 in August of that year.

The MP38’s rate of fire was approximately 500 rounds per minute, much slower than some other machine pistol designs, and more easily controllable. An unfortunate oversight was the lack of a safety; if dropped or mishandled, the MP38 could, and did, fire. ERMA provided a field replacement fix, but not before many injuries.

The 9mm MP38 solved a long list of problems that had bedeviled machine pistols. The 32-round magazine, for example, inserted from the bottom and the magazine housing was flared out to make insertion easier. Flared magazine well also doubles as a second-hand grip, which kept the operator from pulling on the magazine and possibly inducing a jam.


Introduced two years later, the MP40 had many common parts, but it was built primarily of cheap carbon steel stampings and plastic rather than finely tooled steel. In many ways the cheap, easily-produced MP40 was the harbinger of modern firearms manufacturing. A machine pistol revolutionized the battlefield, especially in the close confines of urban warfare. Its simplicity and ease of production made the MP40 the model for future weapons of war, and its pure lethality guaranteed its legacy.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Century Arms Introduces a Heavy-Duty AK Rifle

Century Arms Introduces a Heavy-Duty AK Rifle

Chambered in 7.62x39mm with components machined from extremely durable S7 tool steel, a chrome-moly 4150 barrel and a carburized 4140 steel bolt.

Feeding Your Firearms with Aguila Ammunition

Feeding Your Firearms with Aguila Ammunition

A group of competitive shooters talk about new products from Aguila , the Aguila Cup, and everyone's favorite new guns launched at the 2019 SHOT show.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Don't mortgage the homestead to get into PRS, this is what's available from the likes of Mossberg, Tikka, Savage, Howa, Bergara, Weatherby and Remington. Rifles

Starter Rifles for Under $1000

Aaron Carter - May 09, 2019

Don't mortgage the homestead to get into PRS, this is what's available from the likes of...

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and deer; here's everything you need to know to make it work for you. Rifle

.350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know

Tom Beckstrand - April 02, 2019

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and...

Crossbreed's new The Reckoning holster is a simple leather-Kydex combination with multiple points of retention adjustment and clip options. Accessories

Crossbreed's The Reckoning Holster

Eric R. Poole - May 13, 2019

Crossbreed's new The Reckoning holster is a simple leather-Kydex combination with multiple...

Don't underestimate the fun factor. Shotguns

Review: Remington V3 TAC-13

Brad Fitzpatrick - March 08, 2019

Don't underestimate the fun factor.

See More Trending Articles

More Handguns

Competitive shooter and author Jim Tarr team up with retired police officer and instructor Jeff Chudwin to review this feature-packed 1911 to decide if the 10mm still has a place among modern defensive firearms. Handguns

Guns & Ammo TV: Springfield RO Elite Operator 10mm

Guns & Ammo Staff - June 29, 2020

Competitive shooter and author Jim Tarr team up with retired police officer and instructor...

Springfield Armory announced its Hellcat will now be available in Desert Flat Dark Earth (FDE). It is being offered in both standard and OSP versions. Handguns

Springfield Hellcat in Desert FDE – First Look

Guns & Ammo Staff - June 10, 2020

Springfield Armory announced its Hellcat will now be available in Desert Flat Dark Earth...

Alexander Arms offers complete AR rifles, pistols and upgrade kits to allow homebuilders to merge the mighty .17 HMR with the most versatile firearm system ever designed. Rifles

Alexander Arms .17 HMR AR-15

D. Faubion - June 26, 2020

Alexander Arms offers complete AR rifles, pistols and upgrade kits to allow homebuilders to...

Guns & Ammo's Tom Beckstrand and Kimberly Heath-Chudwin, gunwriter and police officer, review the Raging Hunter in .44 Magnum using Hornady's 200-grain XTP load. Handguns

Guns & Ammo TV: Taurus Raging Hunter .44 Magnum

Guns & Ammo Staff - June 22, 2020

Guns & Ammo's Tom Beckstrand and Kimberly Heath-Chudwin, gunwriter and police officer, review...

See More Handguns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now