Seeing as how today was Veteran's Day, I couldn't think of a better time to submit the second part of my dormant "Weapons of Vietnam" project.
This in recognition to those valient soldiers who carried some of these weapons into war within the last century.
The development of new assault rifles and intermediate rifle ammo had come into play during the Vietnam Era, so submachine guns may have been considered obsolete. Assault rifles can do everything a submachine gun can, and a whole lot more; they can lay down huge volumes of fire if need be, they can take out a target at much greater distances, and are more accurate. However, the close-range effectiveness of submachine guns made it so that they were used frequently during the conflict in Vietnam, by both U.S. and North Vietnamese forces alike.American Submachine Guns
Thompson M1A1: The Thompson is easily recognized as the most popular American submachine gun. The original smallarm was designed by John T. Thompson, a veteran from the first World War. The Thompson M1A1, which is a heavily-modified variation of the older, notorious Thompson M1928 "Tommy Gun," first saw use in World War II, and proved to be a highly effective weapon. The M1A1 was a more simplified version of the older Tommy Guns, in order to reduce production cost during the war. However, the Thompson M1A1 had some improvements over its predecessor, such as a rear sight guard. The Thompson M1A1 saw extensive use after WWII in the Korean War, and still saw limited use in the early stages of the Vietnam War. Like all other American submachine guns, the M1A1 was chambered for the mighty .45 ACP cartridge, and fired from a 20 or 30-round box magazine. The gun was select-fire, blowback-operated and cycles at about 700 rounds per minute. The M1A1 was not without its flaws; it was fairly heavy and required a firm hold to control on full-auto, and it was still a rather costly weapon to produce.
M3A1 "Grease Gun": During World War II, the U.S. Ordnance Corps requested a much simpler, cheaper submachine gun that could be produced in vast quantities, as an alternative to the Thompson M1A1. The original M3 prototype was developed by Frederick Sampson and George Hyde at the Inland Division of General Motors, and was dubbed the T20. The T20 prototype competed against several other experimental submachine guns, and come out on top. The military officially adopted the T20 as the M3, but the original M3 had some reliabilty issues when used in combat, most notably with the crank-style charging handle. The M3 was improved by the elimination of this mechanism and replaced with a small cocking device in the bolt body. The M3 and M3A1 submachine guns earned the nickname "Grease Gun" because they strongly resemble the oiling implement used by an auto mechanic. During the Vietnam War, the M3A1 mostly outfitted tank and vehicle crews, as a personal-defense weapon. Like all other American submachine guns, the M3A1 chambered the .45 ACP, but the M3A1 could also be rechambered for 9mm ammo by replacing the barrel, bolt, and installing a magazine adapter that used British STEN magazines. Some other interesting features about the M3A1 was that it had an oil container in the hollowed grip for cleaning the weapon, and the retractable wire stock acted as a cleaning rod, a magazine loading tool, and a wrench to dissemble the gun. Like the Thompson, the M3A1 was blowback-operated and fired from an open-bolt, and was fed 30-round box magazines. The M3A1 is a very simple weapon, much easier to produce than the Thompson, and fired full-auto only with an average cyclic-rate of about 450 rounds per minute. Even though this gun was full-auto only, its low rate of fire allowed the shooter to squeeze off single shots with a steady trigger pull.
Ingram MAC-10: Okay, I probably know the most about this gun, hands down! I've declared this weapon as my favorite machine pistol, and I had to include it. The MAC-10 was designed by Gordon B. Ingram, and originally manufactured in Powder Springs, Georgia. It saw limited use in Vietnam at the end of the war by United States special forces. The MAC-10 was intended to replace the M3A1 as the personal defense weapon for tank crews, but the military did not like the gun for its incredibly small size and furious rate of fire. The MAC-10's rate of fire, a blistering 1100 rounds per minute, was much too fast for any military operation in Vietnam. Its small size, coupled with its large bore .45 ACP ammo and high rate of fire, made it really hard to control on full-auto. A wrist-strap was conceived to be fitted on the fore end of the gun to help reduce recoil and muzzle climb. When used in combat, outfitting the gun with a suppressor was often preferred; not only did a suppressor help to reduce noise in a thick jungle environment, but it also increased the overall length of the gun and could be used as a makeshift foregrip to help steady the recoil. At close range combat, the MAC-10 is highly-destructive, and quite capable of tearing up an organic target, and that's thanks to its high rate of fire and large-bore ammo. This gun was very simple in design, and can be recognized for its small size and distinguishable retractable folding-stock. It fired from an open-bolt, and it was made of stamped metal parts with a charging handle made of coiled lead. It was capable of emptying a 30-round magazine in just 1.5 seconds.North Vietnamese and Vietcong Submachine Guns
Shpagin PPsh-41: Okay, here's one for all the Call of Duty fans. Most of the weapons used by the NVA and Vietcong were supplied by the Soviet Union, and this one was no exception. The PPsh-41 may very well be considered the most popular Soviet submachine gun. The PPsh-41 was designed by Georgi Shpagin, and was used extensively during World War II by the Red Army. Like most other submachine guns developed at the time, the PPsh-41 was designed to be a simple, mass-produced weapon. At first, the Red Army was reluctant to adopt this new weapon, as many traditional Soviet soldiers held on to the belief of individual marksmanship, and weren't very interested in a weapon that simply sprayed ammo without much accuracy. But if there was one type of weapon that could be made quickly and immediately fielded to soldiers, it was submachine guns. The "Pepeshaw," as it came to be known as, helped the Soviets win the "Great Patriotic War," and retired out of military service soon after. But during the Cold War, the Soviet Union donated large quantities of their PPsh-41s to ally countries, so it saw major use in Vietnam. The gun used the powerful, high-velocity 7.62x25mm Tokarev pistol cartridge, and it was select-fire, with the selector located in the trigger housing, and cycled at approximately 900 rounds per minute. The original 71-round drum magazines for the PPsh-41 were unreliable and wouldn't feed properly unless the serial numbers matched the gun's, but this was resolved with the development of 35-round box magazines. Overall, the PPsh-41 was a sturdy, reliable weapon, and offered alot of firepower and high magazine-capacities.
K50M: Along with the Soviet Union, China was also the NVA's main source of weapons. The Chinese Type 50, which was a licensed copy of the PPsh-41, was supplied in large numbers to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong. The K50M was converted from the Type 50 submachine gun to a more lighter, maneuverable, compact weapon. The K50M was assembled from other available submachine parts at local Vietnamese workshops; the wooden stock was replaced with a pistol grip and a retractable wire stock taken off of MAT-49 submachine guns, and was fed the same 35-round magazines used by the PPs-43 submachine gun. It could also be fed 71-round drum magazines from the PPsh-41, as long as the stock was fully-retracted. The barrel jacket was shortened, and a new front sight was also installed. The K50M operated exactly the same as the PPsh-41, and used the same 7.62mm Tokarev ammo.
Some of that information was researched at the last minute, I wanted to get this submitted exactly on Veteran's Day.
It's also important to note that these guns aren't drawn to scale.
Anyway, I hope some of you had the patience to read through all this information, and enjoyed it too.
I plan on making a second part for the submachine guns, just because I didn't have enough space to include all the ones I wanted.
But overall, I'm quite satisfied with the results.[link]