The Philippine Militarys Suppressed Grease Guns

The M3 Grease Gun is one of my favorite firearms from WWII, it was ugly but it was simple, cheap to produce and they worked. In fact they worked so well that the US Army used them with select units such as radio operators, engineers and vehicle and tank crews well into the 2000’s, supposedly. Anyone know how true that really is? There was also that M3 Grease Gun that was turned into the police last year, luckily the cops were cool and were trying to find a museum to take it. Over 700,000 Grease Guns were produced for the war effort, I’m sure still there’s a few more hidden in someone’s attic or barn yet to be discovered.


There is one nation that still uses the M3 Grease Gun and they even upgraded it. The Philippine Marines currently still use the M3 for boarding ships. Their armorers outfitted their old M3s with a red dot, a suppressor and a new paint job. I actually wrote about their suppressed M3 Grease Guns a while back, but after our post about illegal firearms manufacturing in the Philippines I thought I’d share another interesting gun post about the Philippines with TFB’s readers. There seems to be a lot of interesting gun news coming from that island nation.


Check out their suppressed Grease Gun in action below, it’s pretty bad ass. Anyway we can get one sent out to Hickok45 for some testing?

Ray I.

Long time gun enthusiast, archery noob, Mazda fan, Sci-Fi nerd, Whiskey drinker, online marketer and blogger. My daily firearms musings can be found over at my gun blog and Instagram.

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  • TheNotoriousIUD


    • USMC03Vet

      I really should have trademarked my pick up technique at the club, so I could get royalties from this gif.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Looks like what the Cobra saboteur carried…

        • myndbender


        • Kurt Akemann

          I this that Firefly’s gun was modeled after the French MAT-49, actually.

  • pcolt

    The US Army was still issuing them to Tankers in the late 1990’s. When the M-4 became more widespread they DX’ed the M3’s.

    • Mark

      They were not in my M1A1…in 1999.

  • USMC03Vet

    Not sure if legit or not. Requires a wheel barrel full of mud and youtube.

  • Ed

    Awesome SMG. Still in various SOCOM armories. M-3 is still one the best .45 smgs in the world.

  • Phillip Cooper

    I know they were used by the 218th HSB as late as 1995, I cleaned several of them in HHC 1/118.

    • Gunner4guy

      When I got out in ’89 the cmd tracks in the engr unit I was working with each had 3 assigned in addition to the crew-served types. Always wondered why just the cmd tracks but….. after nearly 20 active & ANG I figured it was time to di-di.

  • John

    A stronger stock, a way to attach an AR-15 style grip and I don’t see why these guns can’t carry on for 50 more years.

    • oldman

      Because they are cheep simple and near solder proof No gun maker could afford to build them to day and still make a profit. Plus if it aint the latest and greatest the government aint interested.

      • Kyle

        Ha! Meanwhile all those high speed low drag MP5s we had never left the armory because they were too expensive to train with. I could see them in there though, taunting my curiosity ever time I pulled my M16a2 out.

        • oldman

          LOL, I said they only want the latest and greatest i never said they would let you play with them.

        • iksnilol

          Wut… how is an MP5 too expensive to train with? I mean, isn’t 9mm cheaper than .45?

    • iksnilol

      I think an AR stock would just make it more cumbersome. Kind of the appeal (to me at least) is how small it is.

    • George

      The whole design of the Grease Gun (especially the M3A1 model) was a design of simplicity and ingenuity.

      The wire stock is perfect as is and actually is used for multiple purposes. Pull the stock all the way out and disconnect from gun (release button) and you find out how neat it is. One of the wire arms is partially hollow and threaded on end to accept wire brush so you can clean the barrel. The stock has a built in mag loader, critical since the single column feed on those mags and sharp feed lips will cripple you. The wire stock is also used as a wrench to remove the barrel, if the barrel does not unscrew easily.

      Such a fun gun to shoot especially when they got rid of the silly crank. The M3A1 has a wide hole milled into the side of the bolt. You open the dust cover, and pull the bolt back with your finger. Easy peasy.

      The only negative I would give is the sights, so I can definitely see the benefit of adding a nice red dot.

  • mosinman

    it makes sense for boarding a ship, .45 ACP is subsonic by nature and the ROF is very low so it’s controllable

  • Big Daddy

    1/11th HHT drivers for M577 commo vehicles carried them in the 1980s.

  • Will

    In 1966 I was assigned to F Troop ( yeah I’ve heard all the jokes) 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cav. Regiment stationed at Bamberg, Germany. I was issued an M3 because I was a crew member on an M60-A1 Main Battle Tank.
    As I recall we were told it coust $18.00 to produce one. The barrel and bolt were machined and the rest was stamped metal.
    It was an amazingly accurate firearm, out to about fifty yards. Better still it was fun to shoot and I didn’t have to pay for ammunition.

    • jcitizen

      I could write my name at the range with that one! It was issued in my armor unit too.

    • Old Vet

      Had one issued to us on my tank (3rd AD) also, but our CO was not much on letting us shoot anything. Actually range day occurred in his office with his pen more often than not, and of course he made us all experts!! What a crock. I wanted to shoot one so badly. We also had a 3.5, an M-14 with selector, and our .45’s, but weren’t allowed to qualify on any of them. So much for combat readiness.

      • Cotter Sayre

        Wow, that really sucked, Old Vet. So near yet so far. (Plus your CO sounds like a useless ass).

        In 1976 I wanted to empty the mag of my M-16 (A1) on full auto, but all they ever allowed us to do was shoot in semi or controlled 3 round bursts (and even burst practice was rare) — which doesn’t make sense from a FUN point of view ;-). But I discovered a simple catch; if you had any ammo left over after your time was up with your controlled three round burst practice, you could empty your M-16 with your pedal to the metal.

        So I fired one 3 round burst (so that I wouldn’t have to do too many push-ups) and waited; after the command to empty the (supposedly) few rounds you had left in your mag downrange, I let her rip! Very fun, but even the tiny 5.56mm in an M-16 gets uncontrollable real fast on full auto!

  • Brad

    what’s with the crank thing on the right side under the ejection port? A charging handle maybe?

    • mosinman


    • Gunner4guy

      Also worked really well catching on your LBE and anything else at the wrong time/place. M3 had the charging handle, the M3A1 had it deleted & a hole drilled in the bolt for charging using your index finger – there were other mods but those are the primary ones.

      • jcitizen

        The M3A1 was a much better weapon as far as I’m concerned, but the older variant was pretty worn out, by that time, if one ran into it in inventory any where in the service.

        • Gunner4guy

          Only ones I ran into in later years were some we had in the command tracks in the engineer unit I was attached to at the time. Spring of ’87 I went to an Ohio NG ADA unit with M42’s to train them on the Stinger and they had a pair for each Duster. Heard that 4 months after I returned to my unit they exchanged the M42’s for Vulcans and Stingers mtd on M113’s. A lot better on fast-movers, especially if they were flying NOE….those Vulcans were WICKED!

          • jcitizen

            Duster! Oh man! We are showing our age aren’t we? 😉
            Some of our recon units were issued those at that same time. They were fun to shoot, but your right about the VADs, I pity the aircraft that gets close enough to the division to be exposed to its wrath!

          • Gunner4guy

            My age? Why I’m just a youngster…who served from Nam till just before Desert Shield. Looking forward to my SS check coming every month now(well, direct deposit…lol!). I did like the Ontos the jarheads had at Hue. Never had a chance to shoot them or see them shoot but i heard stories….. Yeah, the VAD is simple but works…and cheap.
            I ‘think’ the Duster would still be good on helos if it could rotate and elevate fast enough, maybe had radar FC to lock onto the targets but it WAS Korean War vintage(or just after)

          • jcitizen

            It did have a radar cooperative system linked to another unit, if I remember, but was so effective as a counter ground personnel weapon, they gave up on the ADA mission. I seem to remember the original ADA design was very finicky and required a weird pass off to the gunner and the fire control center – it was so convoluted I can’t even remember the details. It badly needed an auto loader, but that is all in the past anyway. I wouldn’t doubt you could find one surplus some where minus the guns.

            My health started failing after Desert Storm and I didn’t even know it – sleep apnea is a bi**h!

          • Gunner4guy

            I didn’t see any radar system at their armory so maybe they’d gone over to a ground support mission by then or else the radars had been pulled in advance of the change-over to VAD. Would not be surprised at a clunky detection system when it was brought online. An autoloader would have helped a lot by giving it a higher rate of fire.
            I have sleep apnea also…and ischemic heart disease, chloracne and COPD mostly courtesy of AO + a titanium knee which replaces the old one trashed by an 82 mikemike shell. I refuse to roll over and die…thus letting the VA win.

          • jcitizen

            Yeah, our recon support went to a strictly ground support role and the control systems got dumped after Vietnam – I rather doubt they used AA fire control there either. They were so darn effective at lighting up the jungle that Charlie would just disappear anytime they saw a Duster coming! The NVA called it the “Fire Dragon”. Besides, the North wanted to keep their air assets back home for defense against the B-52 strikes. I think there were a few successful accounts of enemy fighters being hit, way early in the war, though.

            My medical condition gave me a tremendous weight problem, but now that I have therapy, I can win that battle – i’ve lost over 152 lbs when my Bi-PAP is in working condition; I refuse to give up too! Best wishes for your future!

  • whodywei

    I will be seeing it in the next Far Cry game.

  • Ben Loong

    Man, they did this project back in ’04 and these are still pretty much the only photos/videos of the guns there are on the internet.

    One of these days I’m gonna find a reason to go to Navy HQ on Roxas Blvd. and get a pic of those supposed nickel-plated guns.

  • mechamaster

    Genius solution indeed.. Just change the barrel with built in suppressor / muzzle adapter. Plus the low cyclic rate of Grease gun and it’s .45cal is indeed make some plus value for silenced platform.

  • Julio

    “The Philippine Militarys Suppressed Grease Guns”
    Just bait for people who think apostrophes matter?
    I think professional writers should do better.
    Neat gun.

    • Gecko9mm

      Welcome to the Internets.

  • Fruitbat44

    Hmm . . . I always feel that mounting a red dot sight on an M3 is like painting go-faster stripes on a Trabant . . .

    • Dracon1201

      The red dot actually does inarguably improve the M3, though.

  • Sgt fish

    I know a supply sgt that had them in his NG armored unit until the early 2000s. And they did “qualify” with them at the range then. Also have heard first hand accounts of m231s still being used in Bradleys in 04/05 in iraq

  • politicsbyothermeans

    I qualified with one in 1994 but I never saw an M3 in the hands of an American in Iraq or AFG as part of the MTOE kit. I did see one in a cache but it was almost nothing but rust. However, I personally had an M3 on the books when I was in command in 2001. It got turned in (along with a Starlight scope, seriously) in ’02.


    I really like the Grease Gun, but I always wish it had a better stock. Hell, even something like a MP40 stock would’ve been better.

  • Dave

    I was issued one in 1977 as an armored crewman on an M60A1, and shot as “Expert” with the coveted “Submachinegun” hanger on my Marksmanship medal at Fort Knox. To be honest, I was a bit contemptuous of the weapon, being an avid shooter and gunner before I enlisted. What drove me nuts was the perceptible lag between pulling the trigger and the gun actually firing, as the bolt slammed forward. It did have a rhythm that was easy to master in 3 round bursts.

    • jcitizen

      I had been shooting sub guns since I was a kid, so when I got issued one, I was pretty surprised at the accuracy – but then it wasn’t worn out like many of the ones people are relating in this thread. I didn’t find the bolt slap distracting at all, because I was used to it already for years.

    • Anon. E Maus

      Well, it’s more of a rapid fire weapon for short to medium distances, precision is a secondary objective.

  • BigFED

    I was stationed at Long Bihn VietNam in late 1972-early 1973 as part of an “alphabet” unit charged with “cleaning up” the plethora of various documents not ready for prime time! This was a part of the “getting out of Dodge” effort since the Paris “Peace” (ha-ha) accords went into effect. Other than the two 1911’s I had (one I carried 24/7, the other a spare at my BOQ), I also “inherited” two weapons that are were some what unique. The first one was a CAR-15, the other was a M3A1 that had a short (about 4″) barrel, a threaded muzzle and a suppressor. The suppressor was of an really old design and was “shot out”. It still had the old lace up leather insulating wrap on it, but functionally it was shot (pun intended)! All that wrap did was allow the operator to grab something other than the magazine since the mags were the primary source of functional problems. The suppressor easily unscrewed and without it, the thing became a monster to shoot. Accuracy is NOT a word that could be used in describing that thing without including the word BARN, as being able to hit the barn from INSIDE!!! I usually carried the CAR-15. Of course, these were turned in as part of the checkout process prior departing on ground transportation to “Saigon International” when I departed in May 1973! I was next to the guy who turned off the office lights!

    I never really thought about that M3A1 until this article. What little research I did do way back just confirmed that there were some legitimate suppressed M3A1s out there and I just happened to inherit one. I have NO idea on where it came from or whether it was an “original” or one that some one cobbled up from some parts. All I know is that it worked (should say “functioned” since the suppressor did NOT work) when I took it to the PDO “dump” and let loose a couple of mags to test it out.

  • Robert V Martin

    I was a Small Arms Repairman—45B in 1984. One of the other Small Arms Repairmen was issued a Greasegun in addition to his M-16. Our Company Armory had 3 or 4 of them and someone had to clean them occasionally. It was purely an administrative Oversight.
    We tried hard to figure out a way to shoot it. We couldn’t get Army .45 ammo issued to us. Civilian .45 ammo wasn’t allowed on a military shooting range and the Greasegun wasn’t allowed on civilian ranges.
    In theory, Small Arms Repairmen test fire each weapon when finished repairing it…
    Ha! Ha-Ha!

    • Gunner4guy

      You mean your 1st Shirt and officers didn’t have .45’s? Ours did, and whenever I ordered more ammo it was commercial ammo in the cases. We had an indoor range so anything except 5.56 and 7.62(or .50 BMG…!) could be shot on it – we also used M261 .22LR adapters for Fam-fire, etc.

      • jcitizen

        Yeah, we always had .45 ammo around for the 1911s; but we hadn’t received all the M9s on MTOE to replace them yet. Actually we didn’t have the 9mm ammo yet either.

        • Gunner4guy

          Typical Army…..LOL!

  • jcitizen

    I was issued the M3 in an armored unit just before Desert Storm, and I was surprised they were still in US inventory. I LOVED shooting that thing though. If I were in urban settings, I’d love to use it as an issue weapon, I had that much confidence in its accuracy and uncontrollably. Of course it made a good weapon to bang around inside vehicles, that thing was like my baby – close to the chest forever man!

  • Anon. E Maus

    As I recall, the idea with these suppressed, refurbished and updated M3s was that the Phillipino Navy needed a new automatic weapon, but they were basically out of money and couldn’t buy anything new.

    So what they did as that they took a whole load of old M3 guns from their armories (given to them as military aid from the US a long time ago), and kitted them out like this.

    It’s not modern or high-speed, low-drag, but it does it’s job, they improvised and did the best with what they had.