This class of weapons is sometimes referred to as assault pistols or machine pistols. These weapons are generally compact, pistol caliber weapons with very short barrels. They are capable of very high rates of fully-automatic fire and are usually equipped with high capacity (20, 30 or even 50 rounds) magazines.
Effectiveness - The submachinegun is intended for very close range combat and is considered by S.W.A.T. teams to be ideal as an entry weapon. SMGs are most effective when employed in confined spaces, indoors and in very dense forest and jungle settings.
The compact size and high rate of fire of these weapons gives them an edge at very close range and makes them excellent weapons of surprise and assassination.
Practicality - Submachineguns have been produced in a variety of chamberings including 7.65mm, .380 ACP, 5.7mm FN, 9mm Makarov, 9mm Parabellum, 10mm, .40S&W, .45 ACP and others. Of these only the 9mm Parabellum, 10mm, and .40 S&W are in widespread use today as a SMG caliber therefore any submachinegun cambered for the 9mm is a good choice. Also a number of SMGs chambered in .45 ACP, most notably the Thompson submachinegun, were once part of US military/law enforcement arsenals. This fact together with the widespread use of .the 45 ACP as a handgun cartridge, make SMGs chambered in .45 ACP also an acceptable choice for the guerrilla fighter.
Most jurisdictions worldwide outlaw the civilian ownership of SMGs, and in those areas where they are still legal steps are being taken to ban them. A number of semi-automatic only versions of SMGs have been produced for the civilian market. These are truly unacceptable substitutes for the fully-automatic SMG and are little better than handguns for combat purposes. This type of over-the-counter weapon must be converted to full-automatic fire. I will recommend the H&K MP-5 (good luck getting one of these), Mac-10, Mac 11, Colt 9mm SMG, Uzi, Mini Uzi, Tec-9, KG-9 to name a few, some of the older weapons such as the Sterling or the Thompson SMG could be pressed into service.
When fitted with a silencer the SMG becomes a very formidable weapon of ambush, surprise and assassination. The .45 ACP is ideally suited for this but the 9mm, 10mm and .40S&W must be loaded with subsonic ammunition in order for it to be effectively silenced. I have included plans for an SMG silencer. The SMG is probably the only weapon which will benefit from laser sights in a combat situation. Equipped with laser sights the SMG can be accurately fired "from the hip" with both eyes open, a great advantage in close combat.
HK MP-5, 9mm select-fire submachinegun with telescoping stock and suppressor
Colt RO-635. 9mm select-fire submachinegun with telescoping stock
MAC-10 .45 ACP
- Only 9mm, 10mm, .40S&W or .45 ACP weapons should be selected
- Any over-the-counter model must be converted to full-auto
- High capacity magazines should be obtained if possible
- Silencers and laser sights improve the versatility and effectiveness of the SMG
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