MP40 sub-machine gun in Syria

Green lemon posted a few interesting pictures on Twitter.

It seems we’re looking at an MP40 sub-machine gun in Syria.

The markings on the machine gun suggest it was made in the late Styer production, 1942.

One benefit with this gun (versus an Stg 44 which are also in use) is that the ammunition would be readily available as it’s in 9×19 Parabellum.

World War II meets 2017, notice the smart phone.

The original Twitter

From Wikipedia, about the MP40:

Designed in 1938 by Heinrich Vollmer with inspiration from its predecessor the MP 38, it was heavily used by infantrymen, paratroopers, platoon and squad leaders on the Eastern and Western Front. Its advanced and modern features made it a favorite among soldiers and popular in countries from various parts of the world after the war. It was often erroneously called “Schmeisser” by the Allies, despite Hugo Schmeisser’s non-involvement in the weapon’s design and production. From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.1 million were produced by Erma Werke.

Below: “Everything that can be invented has already been invented” – I love the design of this fold-able stock, it’s just perfection.

The MP 40 sub-machine guns are designed as open-bolt and blowback-operated fully automatic arms.

To my knowledge there are no other modes than “safe” or “fully automatic”, so you have to control the rate of fire with your trigger finger. Judging by most of the videos I’ve seen from the area, the users seem happy with fully auto only.

This was posted in relation to the original Twitter, but is most likely another gun, another time etc.

Trigger discipline at work.

If you want to dig deeper I can recommend these sources:

I would be very interesting to see the full history of this MP40, and to trace its travels around the World.

Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


  • Bjørn Vermo

    “To my knowledge there are no other modes than “safe” or “fully automatic”, so you have to control the rate of fire with your trigger finger.”

    This is correct. I passed my proficiency test (skyttermerke) with an MP40, and part of the test was to consistently be able to fire one, two or three shots into the target at 20m. It was fairly easy to do with a little training.

    • HSR47

      To be fair, the MP40 is generally a very controllable SMG: The ROF is relatively slow, and the muzzle climb is extremely gentle. As a result, getting single shots is pretty damned easy.

      There are other MGs that are far harder to do that with; At the opposite end of the spectrum is the M11 in .380 ACP, with a muffler attached.

      • jcitizen

        Huh? Well maybe, but I always have thought the SM-11-9 was the most controllable subgun I ever shot. I did like my issue .45 grease gun, but I had to balance that with the weight of the ammo. Of course as a soldier in a tanker division, I wasn’t too worried about weight, but then that ammo takes up a LOT of room!

        • HSR47

          The ROF on the M3/M3A1 is in the 350 RPM range. At that ROF, you can fire single shots fairly reliably with minimal practice.

          The ROF on the M11 in .380 (not the M11/NINE) can easily exceed 1200 RPM with a naked muzzle. It goes even higher when you put a can on it. At that ROF, a 3-6 shot burst is about as low as you’ll be able to go, and even that will require practice.

          • jcitizen

            All I know is I shot both of them a lot, and loved them both. Because the SM-11-9 was a more modern and even lighter subgun, I wanted it even more – but I had my priorities, and never acquired one before giving up my license. Despite the high firing rate of the 9mm, I found it wonderfully controllable, and didn’t go through a magazine any faster than I wanted too. It is simply a matter of fire discipline. I preferred shooting it with the typical can on it of the time. and found it very controllable while using the can as a fore-grip.

            I had a M1928 Thompson with 50 rd drums. but hated the weight of both the gun, the ammo, the storage requirements of the ammo, and a natural aversion to the ratio of effectiveness to weight and firepower. I don’t know if my ramblings make sense, but despite my love of the Thompson design, I found my self disrespecting it over time.

    • Zach

      Where’d you get to play with an MP40? Cold War Germany, like how the M3 Grease Gun persisted in US armories?

      • Bjørn Vermo

        Norwegian Home Guard – we used what was left when the Germans capitulated. I started as a recruit with a Kar98 rechambered to 30-06. Then I got an MG-34 also rechambered/rebarreled. Had the crate under my bed for several years – we were supposed to man our objectives within four hours in case of an alarm. The MP40 was towards the end of my 25 years, most of which was as staff. They changed to the MP5 after my time.

        • jcitizen

          I do love my MG-34 – a little heavy, but easy to use!

      • DrewN

        You’d be surprised how many are still floating around. I used to see them pretty much all over Africa in the 80’s (along with all kinds of other cool ex colonial stuff).

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I hope they finally get that damned Indiana Jones.

  • Juggernaut

    75 years later and still looking good

  • If it ain’t broke… don’t annex the Sudetenland.

  • Scott Connors

    I’ve owned four SMGs, and IMO the MP40 was the best. It was easy to tap off single rounds, and I could hit B27 targets out to 200 yards. It was also incredibly easy to control on full auto. The only problem with it was the magazines, especially if you made the mistake of using it as a forward grip.

    • iksnilol

      Use the magwell, not the mag itself?

      • Scott Connors

        Yep. Holding it by the magazine well works okay. Problem is that this is a relatively tiny area, so it is very easy to hold onto the magazine itself. Since it is a single-feed mag not dissimilar to that of the Sten, any change in the angle of feed induced by pressure exerted on the magazine by using it as a grip is an invitation to a failure to feed or even a double feed.

      • int19h

        If I remember correctly, the proper hold (as the designers envisioned it) was actually behind the magwell.

    • jcitizen

      I liked the US grease gun better – as far a actual issued subguns go. My favorite all time, was the SM-11-9, I’m not sure if the one a played with was a MAC or not.

      • Scott Connors

        I was actually issued a Grease gun when I was in the Army (tanker), but I only ever got to fire it once, during AIT at Knox. It was very easy to tap off single shots. Having already had experience with the MP40, the drill sergeants were impressed at how well I did with the M3A1.

        • jcitizen

          I was very impressed with the control ability and weight of the grease gun, but I was glad I was in a tanker outfit, because the ammo would have been prohibitively heavy. I’d shoot it every chance I could get.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    How many ships full of Nazi stuff got sent to Syria? Waiting for some halftracks and Messerschmidts to show up next.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Well, recall there were entire regiments of Arab (and similar folk scattered about that area) troops working directly with the Germans as regulars.

    • john huscio

      Alot of leftover nazi weapons were “gifted” to Syria by east germany and czechoslovakia in the 60s and 70s….

      • Audie Bakerson

        The allies also gave their share of captured axis weaponry to Israel (and I’m sure a ton of other places under the table too)

        • Juggernaut

          The US still does that w/ Israel

          • Audie Bakerson

            Yeah, but now the stuff they give isn’t axis surplus.

        • UCSPanther

          The Haganah quietly bought several crates of left over mausers and machine guns from the Czechs just before they were engulfed by the Soviet Empire.

          • Zach

            Plus those BF 109 clones with crap bomber engines installed were the first IAF fighters along with surplus Mustangs.

          • pbla4024

            Along with Spitfires. Mustangs arrived later.

          • TVOrZ6dw

            I have read somewhere that Spain and I think Nicaragua were flying license-built Bf109’s into the 1960’s or 1970’s.

          • mosinman

            if i am not mistaken Nicaragua was using WW2-era American aircraft since Somosa was close with the US

        • El Dude

          No they did NOT. Israel was left out to dry at first. They had to literally beg, borrow, or steal to get their arms.

          • Dougscamo

            They did have a homemade Sten….

          • jimmy craked corn

            The Israelis did not care where it came from at that point. If it drove, flew or fired a bullet, they would take the thing.

          • Ben Warren

            They at least spent a few seconds to file off the swastikas.

          • Mr Saturday Night Special

            No, you are wrong.NY and England, USSR made sure they were well equipped.

      • TVOrZ6dw

        That makes sense. I was thinking this stuff got smuggled out during the closing days of WW2.
        As a happy owner of a CMP M1 carbine, I can attest that what was deadly in 1940 is just as deadly today.

    • SPQR9

      I think that the Syrians were using Pzkw IV tanks in the late ’40’s.

      • Major Tom

        They had a few semi-operational ones in 1967. Semi-operational in that their weapons worked, but they were immobile. I’m pretty sure the Israeli Air Force pulverized em in the Six Day War and the subsequent War of Attrition (1967-1973).

        • Requiescat in pace

          they even captured some of it.
          now on display in Israel tank musem

      • J Garcia Sampedro

        They were the only lot of panzer IV’s received by Spain before the end of WWII. 17 were sold to Siria in 1965, and most ended as pillboxes in the Golan Heights. I think Isarelis captured a semi-operational one.

    • demophilus

      What everyone else said; plus, there are rumors that counterfeit weapons made after WWII on captured machinery, and salvaged parts.

  • Phillip Cooper

    I’d give my eyeteeth to be able to buy this legally for $500.

  • john huscio

    MP40 vs MP5: what would you rather have?

    • JohnsDaddy

      Your mom…

    • Bjørn Vermo

      MP40 is much easier to clean…

    • El Duderino

      MP5. You can actually hit point targets at 100-300m with one. Never shot an MP40 but I think it’s rather unlikely with an open bolt, full-auto only gun.

  • jae34

    The low rate of fire probably makes it quite easy to handle and control for the average user. Where do you put your forward grip hand though?

  • Vitsaus

    MP40s were pretty widely distributed post-war. I saw a few down in Yucatan back in the early 2000s.

    • demophilus

      Interesting. Who carried them? Federales? Narcos?

      • Vitsaus


  • valorius

    Lot of miles on that old girl.

  • Graham2

    So I’m the only one wondering what magazine is being used? It sure isn’t an MP38/40 mag!

    The magazines weren’t the best in the first place and it’s no surprise to find that the original has gone AWOL after all these year, I just can’t place it though, with that extra piece of steel on the rear.

    Sorry for being a gun nerd! 🙂

  • phuzz

    Nothing surprising about the smartphone, they’re cheaper than the truck or the gun these days.

  • Rich Urich

    What magazine is being used with this MP40?
    It definitely is not WW2 German!

  • mazkact

    Speaking of IDF Mausers have y’all seen my avatar ? Yep, FN IDF Mauser with the coolest crest of all time.

  • Not only training there but training and flying BF-109 Czech variants.Very ironic—-

    • jcitizen

      Not long after that a Kansas local hero was flying jets for the Israelis. They named a local airport after him. Colonel Jim Jabara.

  • Ken

    “WWII after WWII” is a cool blog to read.

  • koko

    Vollmer, Suriya, Bashar w bass!

  • Colonel K

    The photo is of an early model MP40 that lacks the two piece cocking handle safety, meaning if it is dropped, the bolt can spring back far enough to chamber and fire a round.

  • John Wisch

    This Fighter has the whole package going. Great Muzzle Discipline and Great Trigger Finger Discipline. It’s a wonder he didn’t shoot himself or the camera man.

  • Dave

    I would trade that gentleman a shiny new Apple for that thing, right now. I would also show some respect for a guy actually using that SMG in desert and urban combat in a balls-out civil war. Photo-posing for gun blogs might not be one of his skill sets.

  • Keysrat

    When I saw the posting of $500 next to the MP40 it made me sick. Man, imagine $500 MP40 in the US.