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Heckler and Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun at shooting range Heckler and Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun at shooting range

Submachine guns




The natural evolution of machine guns is represented by PDW (Personal Defense Weapon). This progress is part of the natural process that leads to the improvement of a weapon system and to improves defense systems against the same (… and, of course, vice versa). This new concept of weapons is focussing to enclose the same instrument benefits from very short space of huge data size, typical of the SMG caliber with much better performance and more similar to that of assault rifles.

Key points

The key points that a weapon must have in order to come to the right in this category are described in the PDW Requirement Document D-29 (prepared by NATO), in particular:

  1. The empty weight must not exceed the pound for handguns and three pounds for long
  2. commands safe / fire selector must be ambidextrous
  3. the gauge chosen must be capable of piercing ballistic protection, in particular, the CRISAT body armor at a minimum distance of thirty meters.

Of course, the HK could not present his model for this category and thus was born the project that enabled the company to Oberndorf in 2000 to announce the arrival of MP7-A1 and gun P-46 (direct competitors of the P90 and FiveSeven products from the Belgian FN). Looking at the MP7 is evident that requests NATO have been met. Reduced size makes it ideal for use in cars and in close quarter combat. The polymer body with blood and steel reinforcements provide the right balance between weight and structural strength.

HK MP7 A1 - HK MP7-A1

The key grip (typically handgun) is located on the charger which can be 20 or 40 shots. The selector is ambidextrous and conveniently operated with the thumb of the strong hand, has three positions: Safe, Semi-Automatic, Automatic. Calcium is collapsible, in closing allows the use of the weapon as a normal gun (HK in this regard has also designed a special holster for the port as a sidearm), instead of in the open position allows a shot much more focused and preciso.Al point that ensures the manufacturer to be able to obtain rosate of ten shots in less than 2 inches to fifty meters in semiautomatic mode but, in the event that it becomes necessary to use in Full-Auto, you can use the ‘ Reclining front handle which is just past the trigger guard for optimum control on the weapon. The cocking handle is located on the back just above the butt of the weapon and is, in my opinion, the size may be a little too small.

The inevitable presence of a ‘modern weapon of a slide integral Picatinny that takes the upper part of the weapon in all its length. On it has then the opportunity to mount, in addition to the normal rear sights folding, the pointing system which is best suited to the situation of use of the weapon system. In the case where a rail is not enough can be mounted without problems other two small ancillary slides on the two sides of the weapon just over the front handle using the threaded holes. Finally, a ‘very important difference that distinguishes it as PDW from the “old” machine pistols is given by the fact that the operation is the subtraction of gas with the opening delay allowed by the head of the rotatable plug. To give you an idea of the shape of the shutter mechanism and are similar to those of ‘HK G36.


The chamber in 4.6 x30mm is chosen to be the MP7-A1 that the P-46 as its direct competitor Belgian, 5.7 x28mm is used in P90 and FiveSeven. Not surprisingly, the HK is competing just with the FN to ensure that its caliber in the future is adopted as a standard NATO for this kind of development armi.Lo of 4.6 is a collaboration between HK and the British Royal Ordnance Radway Green’s. The starting point for the development was chosen 4.6 x36 CETME (caliber experimental set up in the sixties then put aside in favor of the 5.56×45). The ammunition is also produced by the Italian Fiocchi and is available in many productions with the possibility of using balls piercing fully jacketed steel copper, tracers, normal FMJ. The ball weight varies between 25 and 40 grains and the speed in the mouth is around 700 m / s with energies in the order of 450 Joules, but with a recoil halved compared to the classic 9×19 Parabellum. As caliber has been shown to have a high penetration capacity, managing to pass without problems the bulletproof vest CRISAT (composed of 20 layers of Kevlar and a titanium foil of about 2mm) from more than 200m away.


Caliber: 4.6 x 30 mm
Weight: 1.5 kg
Length: 340/540 mm (soccer collapsible)
Barrel length: 180 mm
Power: Packs of 20 or 40 rounds
Rate of fire: 950 rounds per minute

Submachine guns

Steyr TMP (Tactical Machine Pistol)



STEYR TMP with Silencer - Steyr TMP (Tactical Machine Pistol)

The Steyr Tactical Machine Pistol or abbreviated Steyr TMP belongs in the emerging group of “Personal Defense Weapons” – short, stockless, and closer to being an enlarged pistol than a down-sized submachine gun. Indeed, a variant model which does away with the front handgrip and only fires single shots is called the “Special Purpose Pistol” (SPP) and is classed as a pistol.

The Steyr TMP is a locked-breech weapon firing the 9 mm Parabellum cartridge. There are only 41 component parts, and the frame and top cover are made from a synthetic plastic which is sufficiently strong to be able to do without steel inserts to support the bolt. The breech is locked and unlocked by rotation of the barrel, a system which Steyr pioneered in the early years of the century but which they ceased to use after 1918.

A lug beneath the barrel engages in a groove in the frame. On firing, the barrel and breech block recoil still locked together, the lug sliding down the groove. The groove then spirals, and as the cam follows this track, so the barrel is revolved until the bolt lugs are unlocked from the chamber. The barrel is then held while the bolt runs back and then forward again to chamber a fresh round. Bolt and barrel then go forward, and the cam track again revolves the barrel to lock the breech.

Single shots or automatic fire are provided by a two-stage trigger, similar to that used on the Steyr AUG rifle. The first pressure on the trigger fires single shots; pulling through against the pressure of an auxiliary spring delivers automatic fire. There is a three-position cross-bolt safety catch which has a central position giving semi-automatic fire only, so providing additional control.

Although there is no butt-stock, and no provision for fitting one, the forward handgrip permits adequate control of the weapon, and short bursts can be fired with considerable accuracy after a little practice. Single shots can be fired with one hand quite easily; it is only slightly heavier than a Colt .45 automatic pistol and somewhat lighter than most larger caliber revolvers.

Initially made in 9 mm caliber, production in .40 Smith & Wesson caliber has now begun, and there are plans for a modular system of interchangeable parts which will allow the TMP to be converted to fire 9 mm Steyr, 10 mm Auto or .41 Action Express cartridges.

Technical specifications of Steyr TMP (Tactical Machine Pistol)

Manufacturer: Steyr-Mannlicher GmbH, Steyr, Austria
Type: Recoil-operated, selective fire
Caliber: 9 mm Parabellum
Barrel: 5.12 in (130 mm)
Weight (empty): 2.86 lbs (1.3 kg)
Magazine capacity: 15 or 20 rounds
Cyclic rate of fire: 600 rounds per minute


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Submachine guns




AKS 74U Spetsnaz - AKS-74U

When the Soviets adopted the Kalashnikov 7.62 mm rifle, they abandoned their submachine guns, but in later years realized that they had been a little too hasty and needed a more compact weapon for occupants of vehicles.

Their first attempt was to shorten the AK47 rifle, but this proved to be almost uncontrollable at the automatic fire. At about this time they adopted 5.45 mm caliber for a new generation of Kalashnikov rifles and machine guns, and shortly afterward set about making a compact model in a new caliber. The result was the AKS-74U, which was first revealed to the West in 1982 when a specimen was captured in Afghanistan.

The AKS-74U retains the basic method of the operation of the familiar AK47 rifle, using a gas piston and a rotating bolt, but the shortening of the barrel introduced several complications. The 5.45 mm cartridge was designed to be fired in a long-barrelled rifle, and the gas system of the Kalashnikov taps its gas from a position about two-thirds of the way up the barrel. Since the AKS-74U barrel is so short, all the gas generated in the cartridge would not have time to expend its energy and there would be a prominent muzzle flame and considerable blast. Therefore, a bulbous muzzle attachment can be seen, which acts as an expansion chamber for the emerging gas and muffles the flash and blast. It also helps to balance the internal pressure so that it is possible to tap off the gas for the gas system closer to the breech than in other weapons.

A skeleton butt is fitted, which folds to the left side of the weapon, reducing the overall length to about 16.5 inches. The magazine is similar to that used with an AK47 rifle, but has strengthening ribs molded into its front edge and is made of a lamination of sheet steel and plastic material. The receiver top cover is hinged to the gas block and lifts to permit stripping the weapon; this differs from all other Kalashnikov designs, in which the top cover lifts off completely.

AKS 74U and M4 Commando 1024x576 - AKS-74U

AKS-74U and M4 Commando

The AKS-74U is an ingenious design but in many eyes somewhat over-powerful for the self-defense role for which it is intended. However, it does mean that the design and operation are already familiar to any soldier who knows the AK series of rifles – which was every Soviet soldier – and, unlike submachine guns, it does not require its own particular type of ammunition, happily firing the standard rifle cartridges.

Technical specification of AKS-74U submachine gun

Manufacturer: State Rifle Factory, Izhevsk, Russia
Type: Gas-operated, selective fire
Caliber: 5.45 mm
Barrel: 7.87 in (200 mm)
Weight: Ca. 6.5 lbs (3 kg)
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Cyclic rate of fire: 800 rounds/minute


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