26 Comments

  1. Expensive as hell but easy to use and it dishes out nasty damage up to 200 meters away. And it’s nasty when used as a club! I don’t like the taste of walnut wood in the morning… or at any time of day. To think everyone wants one in 1940…

  2. My understanding is that late in WWII, like 1944, the Germans actually halted all production of the MP40 and since they occupied much of Italy, including the heavy industry in the north along with the rump client-state of Mussolini’s RSI Salo State, and had effectively systematically looted the Italian armed forces arsenals in their possession, the Beretta 36 and 38/42 etc. became something of the “go to SMG” for the German armed forces, and not just the Fallschirmjäger who had taken to them in previous fighting.

    Thus, the MAS 38 and derivatives played an important role in the Italian army, both Axis and Allied, the paratiggiani/partisan movement, the German armed forces, etc. etc. In something of a historical irony, the late war occupation of Italy also ensured that those Nazi-led militia Volkssturmmänner that had firearms typically carried one or another Carcano bolt action rifle or carbine…

  3. A relatively long barrel and short receiver compared to many such guns. And yet, despite the short bolt travel, a manageable cyclic rate. Impressive.

    • I do not see that bolt travel as unusually short (perhaps debatable point). What yields manageable ROF is likely proper balance between bolt mass and spring constant/ rate. Less stiff spring and heavier bolt usually work the best.

  4. Again, good show – Beretta SMG very stable indeed. One thing to spot immediately is the large ejection port; the next is amount of material to make receiver strong and finally plenty of overtravel. What else to ask for? Oh yeah, double stack – 2 position mag; check! Done.

  5. For me it seems that MAB 38 was… late (hope it is proper word) – solid choice when compared to other sub-machine guns of its generation (like, for example MP.28) but introduced much later (1938 as name imply) near end of era of sub-machine guns created by a lot of machining. Not only this Italian weapon has such bad luck, as sub-machine gun evolve slower in this case it only mean that it was just expensive, but still perfectly effective, in case of Carro Armato L6/40 http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/italy/Carro_Armato_L6_40.php not so much.

  6. I’ve got book information on this SMG for years and all call this the best of the lot as far as quality and reliably is concerned.

    Molon Labe!
    Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

  7. I’ve seen photos of Italian troops in North Africa with these SMGs–with 10 rd magazines! I’d guess that’d be for semi-auto only. Maybe for ease of carry on the march? No long magazine sticking out, but you have a bit of ammo just in case. If things go kinetic, slip in a 40 rd’er.

  8. The Modello 38A was a very popular “acquisition” with British SpecOps forces in the Western Desert campaign (SAS, LRDG), because of the SMGs available, it was lighter than the American Thompson, more accurate than the German MP38/40, and more reliable than either one in the hot, sandy conditions prevailing. It was also more controllable in autofire than either of the other two.

    Its controls were a good bit more “instictive” than either of the other two. Front trigger=single shot; rear trigger=full auto. As for the safety, Forward=Fire, Back=Safe. It dorsn’t get much more “instinctive” than that.

    The M38A was also the main reason the British Sten Gun was a 9 x 19mm. When the Italian forces in libya surrendered (the first time) in 1940, among the booty the British got was several million rounds of hot-loaded 9 x 19mm for the M38As. Since the Sten was under development at the time, and no British pistol round was suitable for an SMG (the 0.380in revolver aka .38 S&W wasn’t going to work, the .455 Webley SL round wasn’t powerful enough, and .45 ACP ammunition had to be imported), they settled on the 9 x 19mm based on availability and the fact that pretty much everybody on “the other side” was already using it.

    Incidentally, contrary to popular belief, Sten Guns were rarely seen in the desert war. By the time production of the Sten MK II (the most common version) was established, it was late 1942, and the major demand for them was with the Commandos and the various resistance groups on the European continent. By the time Stens were available for other theaters in early ’43, the remains of the Afrika Korps was bottled up at Tunis, and it was all over bar the shouting in North Africa.

    Without a doubt, the Thompson, the MP38/40, and the Beretta M38A were the “default” SMGs “up the blue”.

    cheers

    eon

  9. Trivia the bolt was 150mms long and the max dia. was 30mms
    Its weight was approx. 625 grams but as this was a neutrilized bolt with the front ground off at an angle I would suppose the original weight was 650 grams
    The sear catch is located 47mms from the end of the bolt

  10. Beretta 38 is a dream to shoot. Beautiful SMG, on the range, at least – I have no opinion on them in the field.

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