Friday Field Strip: MP40 SMG

Alex C.
by Alex C.

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?

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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 C.

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

More by Alex C.

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3 of 17 comments
  • RickH RickH on Nov 14, 2015

    "7 Reasons I Don't Like The MP40".......aww, never mind.....

  • GT Strickland GT Strickland on Nov 14, 2015

    Article says the MP40 holds two more rounds than the Thompson. This implies that the Thompson also shoots the 9mm. Didn't see anywhere in the article that mentioned that the Thompson shoots .45 ACP versus the 9mm.

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

    • Alex C. Alex C. on Nov 14, 2015

      @GT Strickland "This implies that the Thompson also shoots the 9mm"
      No it doesn't.
      Also, I stripped the Thompson two weeks ago.