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.



Recommended for You

Introduced at the 2014 NRA Show, Blackhawk Folding Back-Up Sights were developed from the

First Look: Blackhawk Folding Back-Up Sights

G&A Online Editors - May 06, 2014

Introduced at the 2014 NRA Show, Blackhawk Folding Back-Up Sights were developed from the

The 92X Performance model from Beretta was created to satisfy two requirements: Speed and accuracy. Beretta's new competition pistol is uncompromising and aims for top performance. NRA Show

Beretta's New 92X

G&A Digital Staff - April 28, 2019

The 92X Performance model from Beretta was created to satisfy two requirements: Speed and...

Since Dr. John Mathews founded the company in 1979, SureFire's (then Laser Products) corporate Accessories

SureFire Ryder 22-A Suppressor Review

Jeremy Stafford - March 11, 2014

Since Dr. John Mathews founded the company in 1979, SureFire's (then Laser Products) corporate

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

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.

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.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Whether you're going hunting or to the range; you want to hit what you're aiming at, so the first step is to make sure your rifle scope is properly zeroed. Here's how to dial in your rifle-scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps. How-To

How to Zero a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range; you want to hit what you're aiming at, so the...

Don't underestimate the fun factor. Shotguns

Review: Remington V3 TAC-13

Brad Fitzpatrick - March 08, 2019

Don't underestimate the fun factor.

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by examining the requirement around which Hornady designed the .300 PRC; the requirement came from the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Rifle

.300 PRC Review

Tom Beckstrand - March 12, 2019

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by...

See More Stories

More Handguns

A full detailed review on why the new Springfield Hellcat 9mm subcompact pistol — standard and OSP models — may claw its way to the top of the concealed-carry handgun market due to a few key features and benefits, which includes better ammunition capacity. Video included! Reviews

Springfield Hellcat 9mm Review

Eric R. Poole - September 25, 2019

A full detailed review on why the new Springfield Hellcat 9mm subcompact pistol — standard and...

In response to the immense popularity of the SAINT Victor and SAINT Edge pistols, Springfield Armory is pleased to announce the new SAINT Pistol in 5.56mm. Handguns

Springfield SAINT 5.56 Pistol: First Look

Guns & Ammo Digital Staff - October 14, 2019

In response to the immense popularity of the SAINT Victor and SAINT Edge pistols, Springfield...

The Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider revolver series keeps the Old West alive. Handguns

Heritage Rough Rider .22 Revolvers

Jim Angell - October 08, 2019

The Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider revolver series keeps the Old West alive.

See More Handguns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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