Reising Submachine Gun: Good Initiative, Bad Design

    The Reising is an example of a firearm design that worked perfectly in the rear but performed horribly in actual combat conditions. It was a Second World War era submachine gun that had much potential but ultimately failed the big test down range in use by frontline infantry units. Suffering from poor quality control, awkward controls, and a low magazine capacity, the Reising was readily discarded by Marines in the Pacific in favor of literally any other small arm than the submachine gun. However, this didn’t completely doom the 120,000 Reisings made during the Second World War as a large number were picked up by police departments across the United States and abroad. These law enforcement officials found the Reising to be ideal for their purposes, being much cheaper than most equivalent submachine guns. It wasn’t being utilized in the jungles of Guadalcanal, thus it proved to be much more reliable on in urban environments where it could be easily kept clean and maintained.

    There were three variants of the Reising, the full length, short barrel, select fire M50. The wire folding stock, select fire M55 in use/designed for Marine Paratroops (not used as used in WW2). And finally the full-length barrel, semi-automatic only M60 that is non-NFA legal to this day. A number of law enforcement departments were interested in the M60 because of the ease of purchase.

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    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]