Rifle Model

This rifle is probably better known as the Lee straight-pull which indicates both its inventor and its mechanism. James Lee. a Scot by birth but educated in Canada, eventually became a citizen of the United States where all his experimental work was done. He is probably best known for his box magazine for bolt action rifles; it was widely adopted and his name appears on a long series of British service rifles. Towards the end of the 19th Century he invented a rifle which in 1895 was adopted by the United States Navy who placed an order for ten thousand of them. The rifle was unusual in that it incorporated a straight-pull' breech in which direct

backward pressure on the lever caused the breech to rise slightly, opening as it did so. No manual turning was required, locking worked by an arrangement of cams on the bolt. It was of unusually small calibre and had a magazine capacity of five rounds; it was also the first United States service rifle ever to be loaded by means of a charger. Unfortunately straight pull rifles have no real advantage over the more orthodox turn bolt types, but they do have several disadvantages, chief of which are their complex structure and the fact that their operation, perhaps surprisingly, is more tiring than that of normal types. The United States Navy disliked it very much and it soon disappeared from the service. A sporting version was also made but this also proved unpopular and the model was soon withdrawn, some 18.300 of the 20,000 produced never seeing daylight.

United States of America US RIFLE MODEL 1903 (SPRINGFIELD)_

Soon after the introduction of the Krag-Jorgensen rifle into the United States Army in 1894 the authorities began to examine the idea of yet another rifle, this time on the Mauser principle, and five thousand infantry models with thirty-inch barrels were ordered in 1901. Before they were made however the United States Army decided that the time had come for a short universal rifle, and had the barrels reduced to twenty-four inches. In this they were probably influenced by their experience in Cuba and also by the lessons of the Anglo-Boer War which caused the British Army to reach a similar conclusion. The new rifle, commonly known as the Springfield after its placé of manufacture, had a Mauser type bolt and a five-round magazine with a cut-off. and after some basic modifications, notably the introduction of a lighter, pointed bullet, in place of the earlier round-nosed variety, it was brought into general issue by 1906. It proved to be a very popular rifle, its chief disadvantage, a minor one, being its small magazine capacity, and remained in use for many years. In this time it underwent various modifications, notably one to allow it to be converted to an automatic weapon by the addition of the Pedersen device of 1918 and another which added a pistol grip to the stock in 1929 There was also a target variety, equipped with a Weaver telescopic sight, which was used successfully as a sniping rifle in World War II.

United States of America rifle -30 cal mi (qarand)

7-62mm m14 rifle


Length: 44" (11 17mm) Length: 35 65" (905mm)

Barrel: 22" (558mm)__Barrel: " 18" (458mm)___

Rifling: 4 groove r/hand Rifling: 4 groove r/hand_

Feed: 20-round box__Operation: Gas_

Sights: 1000 yds (915m) Sights: Fixed 300 yds (275m)


43 50" (1103mm)


9 50lb(4 37kg)


24" (610mm)




4 groove r/hand

Operation: Gas


8-round internal box

Muz Vel:

2800 f/s (853 m/s)


1200 yds (1097m)

United States of America 7-62mm m14 RIFLE

M14 Rifles Design
Design of the M14. standard US rifle in the 1950s and 1960s, was based on wartime experience with the Garand A 20-round pre-fillable box replaced the unsatisfactory clip-loading system

United States of America 7-62mm m14 RIFLE

United States of America US CARBINE -30 CALIBRE Ml

Although of the same calibre as the Garand. the M1 carbine fired a straight pistol-type cartridge, and was closer in concept to a stocked Mauser or Luger self-loading pistol than a modem SMG

30" M1906 7 62mm NATO 30" M1 Carbine

United States of America US CARBINE -30 CALIBRE Ml

303" SAA Ball

United States of America rifle 30calm1(qarand)

United States of America rifle 30calm1(qarand)

holding that number of cartridges in two staggered rows of four each. When the last round had been fired the empty clip was automatically ejected and the bolt remained open as an indication to the firer that reloading was necessary The Garand was the standard rifle of the United States Army in World War II. and was the only self-loader generally used. They were made mainly by the Springfield Armoury and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, although smaller numbers were also produced by other American arms

This rifle, commonly known as the Garand, was the first self-loader ever.to be adopted by any army as a standard weapon. A whole series of similar rifles were exhaustively tested before it was finally selected in 1936. It was a good weapon, very robust (and therefore heavy) but simple and reliable. It was operated by gas and piston. The magazine had a capacity of eight rounds and had to be loaded by a special charger


companies and after the war a quantity were made by the Italian firm of Beretta. When manufacture finally ceased in the middle 1950s an astonishing total of some five and a half million had been produced. There were inevitably a number of variations to the Garand in its long history, including a National Match model and no less than three sniper rifles, but none of them differed from the prototype.

Below: US soldiers in training charge with bayonets fixed on their Ml [GarandJ rifles.

Above left: Fording a stream, a soldier of the US Signal Corps holds his M1 carbine at high port.

Left: With his battered M1 carbine slung, a USMC Staff-Sgt fraternises with a young internee in the Pacific, 1944.

Left: With his battered M1 carbine slung, a USMC Staff-Sgt fraternises with a young internee in the Pacific, 1944.

United States of America 7 • 68mm M14 RIFLE_

Before the end of World War II the American Military authorities were working on the concept of a selective fire weapon of assault rifle type By 1953. NATO having settled on a common cartridge, good progress had been made, and although most European countries opted for Belgian type weapons the United States settled for the M14. This was a logical

Series Weaponery

United States of America US CARBINE .30 CALIBRE M1A1_

Above: British paras, one with an Ml At. take cover as mtra-Greek fighting erupts in Athens in December 1944.

United States of America US CARBINE .30 CALIBRE M1A1_

A variation on the M1. the M1A1 had a folding stock pivoted on a pistol grip so that the carbine could be fired if necessary with the stock folded, making it a convenient weapon for airborne forces. The M1 series was produced in enormous numbers and was a light, handy weapon which in spite of some lack of stopping power fulfilled an obvious need. Two further versions were developed: the M2, which was a selective fire version, and the M3, designed to take various types of night sight.

United States of America ARMALITE AR-15 (M16)

Developed from the AR-10. the small calibre, high velocity AR-15 was designed by Eugene Stoner and made by Colt from 1959 onwards. Light and easy to handle it was adopted by the United States during the Vietnam War, becoming the standard rifle. It has no piston, the gases simply passing through a tube and striking directly onto the bolt. This is efficient but means that the weapon needs careful and regular cleaning because the design makes the weapon sensitive to propellant that leaves too much residue. In

Above: British paras, one with an Ml At. take cover as mtra-Greek fighting erupts in Athens in December 1944.

Right: A soldier from the US 82nd Airborne Division carries an M16A2 and takes a radio message during the Gulf War.

1967 changes were made to the bolt system, creating a forward assist assembly and a new designation, the M16A1. In 1985 the M16A2 was introduced offering a three-round burst facility instead of fully automatic. Experiences in Vietnam had shown that men tended to fire long bursts of automatic fire which after three shots made the muzzle climb and the rest of the shots miss. Accurate and highly reliable, the M16A2 is also lighter than most other 5.56mm weapons. It is popular with British special forces and may be further adapted by the US Army to M16A3 standard. A specialised version, the Colt M231, exists for use from IFV's firing ports.

United States of America COLT COMMANDO

Mechanically identical to the M16, this weapon has a ten-inch barrel instead of the M16's twenty-inch. The intention was to produce a sub-machine gun with the accuracy and hitting power of an assault rifle. Tested in Vietnam it was found that the reduced muzzle velocity had a

Colt M16a3 Navy

Right: 4 US Navy SEAL armed with one ol the weapons favoured by American elite forces — the Colt Commando.

serious effect on longer range accuracy. Heavy muzzle flash also made a hider necessary, but this can be unscrewed and special forces tended to prefer the loud, intimidatory effect. The Commando or CAR-15 has a telescopic butt for use when fired from the shoulder.

Right: 4 US Navy SEAL armed with one ol the weapons favoured by American elite forces — the Colt Commando.

The Sub-Machine Gun

A British soldier armed with a 9mm L2A3 Sterling sub-machine gun. Introduced in 1953 this simple and reliable weapon was used until the Iate-I980s when the 5.56mm SA 80 rifle replaced both it and the L1A1

The sub-machine gun (SMG) is an automatic weapon which fires pistol cartridges and is light enough to be used two-handed from the shoulder or hip without other support. Such arms were first used to meet an urgent need for close-range firepower in World War I. Italy introduced the Villar-Perosa. a double-barrelled arm firing a 9mm rimless self-loading pistol cartridge, in 1915, but although of obvious utility in trench warfare, it was not as widely adopted as might have been expected.

Next in the field were the Germans, who armed some infantry with stocked self-loading pistols of Luger and Mauser type. These were not true automatic weapons, for the trigger had to be pressed for each shot, but they proved efficient. To avoid too

A British soldier armed with a 9mm L2A3 Sterling sub-machine gun. Introduced in 1953 this simple and reliable weapon was used until the Iate-I980s when the 5.56mm SA 80 rifle replaced both it and the L1A1

9mm Yugoslavian Experimental Machine Gun

frequent reloading, magazines with a capacity of 30-plus rounds were produced, and from this it was but a short step to the development of a true SMG (which the Germans designate a machine-pistol).

The MP 18 Bergmann

Hugo Schmeisser produced the MP 18.1, usually known as the Bergman, in time for use in the German offensive of spring 1918. and some 35.000 were made by the summer of that year. Although Germany's defeat obscured the Bergmann's true significance it was, in fact, the prototype for almost all similar weapons thereafter. Thus, a brief description of its operation will serve for all weapons of the type.

The Bergmann had a barrel just under 8in (203mm) long and a heavy, cylindrical bolt with a permanently-attached cocking handle. Its 9mm cartridges were carried in a "snail drum" magazine (see page 102). To fire, the bolt was drawn back manually against a spring and was held to the rear by a sear. When the trigger was pressed, the sear was freed and the spring drove forward the bolt, stripping a cartridge from the magazine, forcing it into the chamber, and firing it. No locking device was

Panzer Battle KalatschMachine Pistols And Smgs And Pdw
Below: Soviet Naval Infantry with PPSh 41 SMGs hoist their ensign during the liberation of Sevastapol in May 1944.
Machine Gun Carried SoldierMachine Gun Carried Soldier
Above: French troops open fire on Communist guerrillas across a rice paddy in Indo-China. The soldier exposing himself to enemy fire has a MAT-49 sub-machine gun at his side.

needed: the heavy bolt was still travelling forward as it fired the cartridge, and by the time the rearward thrust of the cartridge halted and reversed this movement, pressure had dropped to a safe level. The cycle repeated as long as there was pressure on the trigger and rounds in the magazine. Cyclic rate of fire was about 400 rpm; there was no provision for single shots. The original sighting, to 1000m (1094yds), was unrealistic: the bullet was probably fairly accurate up to c200m (220yds) but, being fired from a low-powered pistol cartridge, had relatively little stopping power at that range.

American Developments

The Allies' only real attempt to produce a similar weapon was the American Pedersen Device, a small machine-pistol which fitted into the breech of a standard Springfield rifle and fired a magazine of pistol ammunition. It was never used in action.

A much better arm was the SMG developed by Colonel (later Brigadier-General) J.T. Thompson, USA; but the first gun to bear his name did not appear until 1921. The Thompson, popularly associated with gangsters and terrorists, perhaps only became "respectable" on its adoption by the US Army in 1938. With the coming of World War II, hundreds of thousand of Thompsons were made for use by the Allies.

None of the other American SMGs of World War II—including the complex Reising and the functional M3 "grease gun"—achieved the fame of the "tommy gun". It is notable that all American SMGs fired the standard 45in cartridge for the 1911

Battle Thompsons Post Wwii

Above: Uzi-armed members of the Policia Nacional man a Latin American border post. A dozen or so countries in the region have acquired the gun. either from IMI in Israel or FN in Belgium.

Colt self-loading pistol: although an excellent cartridge, this was in many ways too powerful, and made the weapons a good deal heavier to handle than was desirable.

Britain's Wartime Need

The period between the two World Wars saw a steady increase in the use of the sub-machine gun, particularly during the Spanish Civil War. Britain tested various models, but when war actually broke out in 1939 was compelled to order a large number of Thompsons. They were reliable but old-fashioned compared with those of the Axis powers, thus Britain began to design and produce indigenous sub-machine guns.

A light, simple, easily manufactured weapon for mass-production was what was wanted. A copy of the MP 28 was produced known as the Lanchester but it was little used: then in 1941 the Sten gun appeared. It was built by the million and went through a series of marks, becoming more and more simplified for ease of manufacture and even running to a special silenced version. Even German ingenuity could not improve on the Sten as a simple arm for mass-production and they copied it for use by the home defence militia known as the Volkssturm.

German and Soviet Developments

After 1918 the Treaty of Versailles restricted the German Army's use of automatic weapons. Ways around this were found, however, and by 1922 Gfirmany was again making sub-machine guns — the Steyr-Solothurn — in Switzerland. Within a few years pretences

Find Images Schmeisser Mp38 AluminumFound Abandoned War Machines

were abandoned and extensive rearmament began. In 1938 the all-metal, folding stock MP 38 was adopted, more commonly known as the Schmeisser. Although it underwent modifications during the war it remained substantially unchanged.

The Russians do not appear to have developed a successful machine gun until 1934 and the PPD. This was a sound and reliable weapon with a 71-round drum, which made it rather heavy. Like all Soviet arms of this type it fired the bottle-shaped 7.62mm pistol cartridge.

The Russians were the major users of the sub-machine gun in World War II. Having lost much of their industrial capacity early on they found it was much easier to make than more sophisticated weapons and produced them by the million. It proved a successful arm in the desperate close-quarter fighting in the besieged cities and whole regiments were eventually armed with it.

The Decline and Revival of the SMG

The development of the assault rifle at the end of World War II seemed to threaten the whole concept of the sub-machine gun. Soldiers could now be equipped with selective fire rifles that out-performed the SMG on every count. More accurate than the blowback SMGs then available, weapons like the AK 47 or the later AR-15 were harder hitting and just as reliable. The Red Army, which had equipped a high proportion of its infantry with SMGs. withdrew them from frontline service during the 1950s. There were two exceptions to this trend: the embattled state of Israel needed to mass produce its own weapons quickly and Major Uziel Gal came to the rescue with a cheap and simple SMG soon known as the UZI (see pages 98-99); elsewhere. Communist China sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers armed with Soviet-style SMGs to invade Korea.

Some armies remained opposed to issuing fully automatic weapons and adopted semi-automatic rifles instead. The British bought the Belgian FN FAL and modified it to prevent fully automatic fire: the French acquired the MAS 49/56 self loading rifle. Both armies retained a sub-machine gun in each infantry squad — the British selecting the Sterling (see page 126) and the French the robust MAT-49 which gained favour with their elite forces. Even the US Army retained its M3 "Grease guns" as the standard SMG well into the 1970s.

It was the NATO armies' gradual acceptance of 5.56mm rifles that really spelt the end of the SMG as a frontline military weapon. SMGs had always been popular in jungles where the fighting was inevitably at very close range, but the M16 rifle proved an even better bet — first in Borneo, then in Vietnam. Its much more powerful cartridge and far longer reach made it a more versatile weapon altogether. The British Army is phasing out its Sterling SMGs and equipping all soldiers with the SA80. The French have retired the MAT-49 in favour of the FA MAS assault rifle.

Many commentators in the 1970s drew the conclusion that the SMG was finished as a military weapon. However, the SMG does have its advantages in internal security operations and the most famous modern SMG. the Heckler & Koch MP5 (see page 106), is

Left: Germany's GSG9 practise a hostage rescue: the two body-armoured troopers in the foreground have MP5s fitted with sophisticated telescopic sights and silencers.

Gsg9 1970s

used by most western special warfare units. It is also employed by many US SWAT teams and European paramilitary units; and since the late 1980s they have been issued to the British police at major airports. The MP5 fires from a closed bolt which makes it much more accurate than traditional SMGs like the Sterling. It does, however, require careful maintenance and is therefore not suited to jungle warfare or similar. Available in many different guises, there is even a version chambered for the powerful 10mm cartridge. The value of the relatively short-ranged 9mm round had led the wheel to turn full circle: both the M16 and Steyr AUG assault rifles are now available chambered for 9mm Parabellum! The US Marine Corps anti-terrorist units used their 9mm M16s during the liberation of Panama in 1989. Because the bullets do not travel as far as rifle rounds, the risk of civilian casualties — always high in an insurgency — is substantially reduced.

The sub-machine gun is still therefore very much alive, although in American circles the Ingram is rather out of favour. The Colt Commando is not a true sub-machine gun. rather it is a lightened version of the Armalite, but Sturm Ruger have designed a 9mm MP9 sub-machine gun and it remains to be seen how much this will interest the US Army.

Other countries have continued to develop this field, notably those in Europe. The 7.65mm Skorpion has been produced in Yugoslavia by Zastava and remains an excellent personal protection weapon. The 9mm Finnish Jatimatic has a lot of plastic for lightness and its unusual design succeeds in giving very stable automatic fire. The Italian company Beretta were responsible for the sturdy and compact 9mm PM 12 which is used by their special forces and paramilitary carabinieri. In Poland, the RAK PM-63 is a 9mm, open bolt weapon of simple design which is used by their anti-terrorist squad.

Undoubtedly, the premier European sub-machine gun is the Heckler & Koch. Accurate, easily controlled on automatic, and available in a multiplicity of specialised versions it sets the high standards for others to better. Its popularity has helped to secure the future of the sub-machine gun as a highly useful arm in the face of pressure from the assault rifle.

Left: Philippine) Scout Rangers with Colt Commando SMGs track elusive Communist insurgents on Mindanao Island where an insurgency has raged for decades.

Below: An Italian Folgore paratrooper with the Beretta PM 12 which serves a number of other armies and is also licence-built abroad. The weapon is favoured by Italy's elite and special forces units.

Italian Carbine Sub Assault Rifle


Czechoslovakia ZK 383

Future Heavy Machine Gun





A true machine pistol, the Skorpion is little larger than an early self-loading pistol. Light and easily concealed, it is particularly well suited to police and security work.

Czechoslovakia ZK 383

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