Mystery SMG Revealed: Armaguerra OG-43

Last month I blogged a photo of a mystery submachine gun. Pierangelo Tendas (aka. The Italian Commie) posted a comment suggesting it was an Armaguerra OG-42 prototype. He was very close, it has been revealed to be the ultra-rare Armaguerra OG-43. writes

This earlier weapon is extremely rare, with probably only one specimen surviving to this day in a private collection. The OG-43 is historically important because it is probably the world’s first submachine gun to combine stamped-steel construction, bolt with most of its weight in front of the breech face AND the magazine in the pistol grip, all in one weapon.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • This gun is included in the forthcoming book “Sub-Machine Guns” by Max Popenker and myself, for which we are currently checking the page proofs.

    There are a lot of other unusual guns in it as well, especially from Russia (of course!) and lots about ammo (equally of course!).

  • I’d actually like to point out that the OG-42 and OG-43 are exactly the same model, called in different ways according to different sources. OG-42 is used in the “bible” of Italian sub-machineguns, the book “I mitra italiani, 1915-1991” (“Italian sub-machineguns from 1915 to 1991”, published Y1992 by EDITORIALE OLIMPIA S.p.A., ISBN: 8825319304 / ISBN-13: 9788825319309, written by my colleague and friend Mr. Vittorio Balzi). the denomination OG-43 is instead used, although probably erroneously, in some museums where the very, VERY small number of prototypes still survive. The OG-42/OG-43 never saw scale production, nor did its derivative, the OG-44, although both of them first used the telescopic bolt system later developed and implemented by both Israel Army engineer Uziel Gal in his UZI and by Beretta developer Domenico Salza in the PM-12 series.

  • Also, the number of surviving OG-42/OG-43 prototypes surviving today ranges more around 10 samples than to one single; at least two of them are preserved in the BERETTA museum.

  • Hey, Steve, how about the link to the full article?

    ok, I’ll post it for you 😉

  • My god, that is one ugly weapon. And yet, it has a certain appeal.

  • howlingcoyote

    Just the gun to hunt wild hogs with!

  • Pierangelo,
    photos of the prototype in question clearly show marking “Tipo og 43” on the left side and “Armaguerra Cremona 1943” on the right
    and thanks for correction on the number of prototypes

  • PS: Pierangelo, where/how can I buy the book you mentioned, “I mitra italiani, 1915-1991”?
    Maybe i can order it from the author, signed?


  • Dearest Maxim,

    Think about the fact that, back at the time, the Italian arms industry was in a very shoddy state. This kind of errors was not uncommon. Several F.N.A.B-43 SMGs were marked erroneously, so might be the case for a prototypal weapon such as the OG-42/OG-43.

    As for the book, plain and simply, you can’t order it. It has been out of print since Y2001, and I’ve obtained a signed copy from the author himself while working at the OLIMPIA Publishing Group, Y2005 through Y2010. Now I still work as a gunwriter for another publishing group, but Mr.Balzi has also passed to the same printing house, and I might ask him directly if he has some spare copies around, and then let you know.
    The book covers the entire MAB series, starting from the origins of the Italian SMG design (Villar Perosa, “Siringone”, etc.); the F.N.A.B Mod.43, Mod.X4 and Mod.X5; the Armaguerra OG-42 and OG-44; the TZ-45; the Isotta Fraschini; the Variara; the Bernardelli “Automatic Muskeet”; the Beretta PM-12 series; the Franchi LF-57; the Benelli CB-M2; the SITES “Spectre”; and the SOCIMI Type 821-SMG. Pictures are exceptional, but all in black-and-white.

    Be careful on how you approach the author, Mr.Balzi; he is an elderly and somewhat grumpy gentleman.

  • Pierangelo,
    thanks for the help
    If you will find a way to get a spare copy of said book, please email me

    PS: Steve, sorry for offtopic