Friday Field Strip: MP40 SMG

The German MP40 is one of the most iconic submachineguns of all time, and served the German military well throughout World War II. The low recoil, light weight, and ease of use made this firearm extremely effective, and even after the war it was used by forces around the globe clamoring for small arms. So, what makes it tick?

Thanks to our sponsors Ventura Munitions and Grizzly Targets.

Want 20% off a Grizzly Target? Use the discount code TFB20.

Full transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex here with TFB TV.

Today’s field-strip is gonna be of a German MP40 from the Second World War.

The MP40 served the German military throughout the conflict and was kind of the Thompson’s nemesis on the western front and known colloquially as the “Schmeisser”, despite the fact that it wasn’t designed by him.

However, some of the magazines the alies found said his name on there.

Magazine holds 32 rounds of nine millimeter parabellum which is a pretty reasonable capacity for today, two more than the Thompson.

Also got cool features such as a baked-like resting bar for resting outside of a halftrack or something like that so you don’t mess up the barrel or what have you.

They are also very compact for getting in and out of vehicles or for paratroppers and they feature really nice folding stock, it’s a bit wobbly, but hey, it’s better than no folding stock.

Its also got a threaded barrel, there were proprietary suppressors made for these as it’s my understanding and of course, blank-firing attachments for training and whatnot.

They are also very safe firearms for being open bolt, you can actually lock the charging handle forward to not allow the bolt to be pulled to the rear or you can unlock it and charge the firearm.

And then the seal holds the bolt because these are open-bolt firearms.

When it’s open, you can also lock the bolt to the rear in a slot located on the receiver tube.

That makes it so no matter what you do, if you pull the trigger, there is no way that bolt is going forward unless I guess the handle sheared off.

So, anyways, let’s get to field-stripping and the first thing you are going to want to do is remove the magazine.

There is a large button on the left side of the gun that allows you to do this.

Very easy to do.

Then you are going to take the disc right here, pull it down and rotate, it locks itself once you rotate it.

Then you’re gonna pull the trigger while rotating the upper and lower halves away from each other, this allows them to be separated.

And you can undo the sling if you wish to separate them further.

You can also now see how the lower works, it’s pretty simple, it’s just a wedge that’s connected by a transfer-bar of the trigger.

Now to disassemble the rest of the gun, remove the firing pin assembly.

It’s weird ’cause it’s a telescoping firing pin that’s basically a patent of Hugo Schmeisser and it functions with an element of pneumatic delay in there which is neat.

Then remove your bolt from the rear.

And now we’re used to seeing open-bolt guns with a fixed firing pin milled on to the bolt face, but you can see here there is actually no fixed firing pin because it’s part of that telescoping assembly I showed just a second ago.

So, all in all, a kind of strange relative to a modern open-bolt gun.

That’s really all it takes to field-strip these, it’s not much more complicated than a Thompson, I would say actually a little less complicated than a Thompson M1A1.

A lot less complicated than a 1921 or ’28.

But these are a real pleasure to shoot, if you’re at a range and you see one for rent and then a Thompson for rent, I’d probably recommend the MP40, they’re a little gentler to shoot and the slow cyclic rate is gonna make your ammo less longer, but if I was in a firefight, I would rather have a higher cyclic rate, that’s just me, not a fighting man, but you know, having more bullets down range and the volume of fire is what wins fights these days.

However, the MP40 was no slouch, it did its job and it did its job very well.

The Germans used this to great affect as did forces after the war.

Anyways guys, this is Alex with TFB TV.

Thank you very much for watching.

Special thanks to Grizzly Targets and Ventura Munitions for making this video possible.

Hope to see you next week, guys.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


Advertisement

  • Slim934

    There’s no video posted.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I like my stories with pictures.

  • Scott Tuttle

    I’m always disappointed the MP40 doesnt shoot 40s&w 😛

    • mechamaster

      Mmmm… M3A1 Grease Gun in .40 S&W 😉

    • Esh325

      What would really be the point? Modern 9mm SMG ammo is loaded pretty hot to my understanding.

      • Scott Tuttle

        everything else I have is 40. mostly cause its called an MP40 not an MP9.

  • Tassiebush

    That firing pin assembly is fascinating. It kind of looks like the bolt picks up extra mass as it travels backwards. Once again thanks for posting these. I’d have had no clue the insides of these were so novel.

    • Isaac Newton

      I like the bits about the little bakelite section and bolt locking in the forward position. I didn’t know it was that novel either. I had always envisioned the insides to be like the Sten (obviously incorrect). Thanks for posting the video Alex.

      • Tassiebush

        Oh yes the bakelite bit was very interesting. I knew that hook was about firing from vehicles but no idea it wasn’t all steel! Just assumed a lot of ugly scratches would typically be found underneath that section.

  • UCSPanther

    I really wish someone would make a semi-auto only version. I would buy one in a heartbeat…

    • Secundius

      @ UCSPanther.

      Try Indianapolis Ordnance . com, the Reproduce WW2 Weaponry in Semi-Auto. But, their “Built to Order”…

  • mechamaster

    Wow, very surprisingly really … Didn’t aware that the Bolt carrier
    group of MP40 is telescopic assembly… Now, the proper term for
    ‘Telescopic-Bolt” is really get ( slightly ) blurred…

    • Isaac Newton

      Its the recoil and firing pin assembly that telescopes. The bolt is just a regular blowback bolt.

  • Micki

    I have a feeling that the telescoping buffer was designed by Vollmer, but might be mistaken. Interesting that the mags were marked as Schmeisser patent — were they interchangeable with MP28 mags, perhaps?

  • RickH

    “7 Reasons I Don’t Like The MP40″…….aww, never mind…..

  • “This implies that the Thompson also shoots the 9mm”
    No it doesn’t.
    Also, I stripped the Thompson two weeks ago.