Sub-machine Guns (SMG) were designed as weapons that could fire hand gun ammunition in full-automatic mode. They are an intermediate weapon between the hand gun and rifle.
The first example was made by Italy in 1915, during World War I. This was the Villar-Perosa. This was a twin gun set-up for use by the gunner in airplanes initially.
The Germans came up with their MP-18 I “machine pistol” and these were fielded in battle in 1918.
The Americans developed the Thompson Sub-machine Gun but this did not see service in World War I. It did coin the term Sub-machine Gun which became the English language standard.
Sub-machine guns became popular with gangsters and as a result with police.
Sub-machine guns were gradually developed between World War I and World War II. During World War II they became very common due to their rapid rate of fire, relatively light weight and short length. Models common in WWII included:
- German MP-38 and MP-40
- Italian Beretta MAB 38 / Modello 38
- American Thompson
- British Sten Gun
- Mark I
- Mark II
- Mark IIS
- Mark III
- Mark IV – Not issued.
- Mark V
- Mark VI
- As well there were experimental version and copies made by various countries.
- Welgun – An experimental SMG developed for Special Operations, Executive (S.O.,E.) during WWII.
- British Pachett
- British Sterling
- Canadian SMG C1
- German Heckler & Koch
- MP-5 SD (suppressed model)
And many more!
Sub-machine guns have fallen out of favour generally in the 21st Century with the “assault rifles” such as the AK-47, AKM, M16 and M4, C7 etc. By long-standing definition, assault rifle use a cartridge intermediate between hand gun ammunition and rifle ammunition, and can fire full-automatic.
Anti-gun politicians and lobbyists who are ignorant, and worse, who know but lie, call any scary semi-automatic mid-sized firearm, especially if it has black synthetic furniture, an “assault rifle” but this is INCORRECT. This is a common misdirection by these lobbyists ion Canada and the USA.