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The Vault

The Husqvarna M 40 Pistol

Today we have a guest post by Peter Rasmussen on some of the history of the Husqvarna M40 pistol, also commonly called the Lahti. We will cover the mechanical aspects of the pistol in a later post, but this information from Peter is an excellent overview of the different markings found on different batches of the pistols. Thanks, Peter!

Also, Peter is currently working on researching Bergmann pistols, and would appreciate hearing from owners of various models. If you contact him at petermandrasmussen@mail.dk, he can add your pistol to his catalog, and possibly be able to tell you where it was originally delivered.

 

The Husqvarna M 40 Pistol

by
Peter Rasmussen

This pistol used the Bergman locking system but looked like a Luger, it replaced the Bergman pistol in the Danish army. As a weapons officer in the Danish armed forces I have handled and repaired the Lathi pistol that was a substitute standard pistol at the time. I had a lot of information in my archive that is source for this article. I had for many years contact with an old historical interested Husqvarna employee Gunnar Granquist; his nephew Bertil Granquist has taken over his archive and he has been most helpful.

Lahti M 40 pistol

Lahti M 40 pistol

The Swedes adopted the Finnish Lahti Pistol in 1940 when Walther became unable to deliver more P38 pistols. Call the m/39 by the Swedes, only a very few Finnish L 35 pistols were brought in Sweden – probably less than 20.

Swedish Lahti M40 pistol

Finnish L35 pistol bought by Sweden (John Bills collection)

Finnish Lahti M 40 pistol

Finnish SA acceptance stamp (John Bills collection)
This example was used by the Finnish Navy before the Swedes got it

Lahti M 40 pistol

The Finnish model designation, and the loaded chamber indicator abandoned by the Swedes

In 1940 two representatives from the Swedish army (Magnus Hedenlund and Charles Holmgren) managed to buy the production rights from Eimo Lathi in Finland, who at the time worked for the Tikkakosky factory. Unfortunately the Swedes needed cannons too, so all the alloy steel went to cannon production. Cannons were in short supply, my grandfather was commander of a cannon team on the harbor of Hälsingborg 1939 to 1941, his cannon was made of a telegraph pole and two wagon wheels, all painted nicely grey, it could be seen from passing ships and from Elsinore just 4 km away, where the Germans kept a strict eye after April 1940.

The Swedish production m/40 pistol was downgraded and was made of molybdenum steel that resulted in many blow ups. I was on a pistol course with 5 other staff sergeants in Sweden, in just a week we blew up 9 pistols, the submachine gun ammo was too strong for them. First the Swedes made a more comfortable loading (M39B) for the pistols, then sold them out and reissued the Browning 1907 pistol.

Originally the pistol production was intended to take place at the Rosenfors factory near the town of Hultsfred on the east cost of Sweden, but they were not able to produce the pistol. One witness remembers a heap of discarded pistols in the factory with a sign saying: “Here lies the result of unskilled peoples’ work.” The task was then transferred to Husqvarna in March of 1941. An order for 60,000 pistols was placed, and the first the pistols were made with a loaded chamber indicator, but that was soon removed and the holes for it welded over. All pistols had slot for shoulder stock but these were never issued, only a very few was made for test purposes.

Rosenfors bruk

Rosenfors bruk

Husqvarna factory

The Husqvarna factory, in the background the town of Jønkjöping

The first batch of pistols delivered had no nut at the beginning of the barrel.  Upon receiving the pistols in the Eskiltuna army storage facility, just 300 meters through the woods from the Husqvarna factory, the pistols were controlled by an army officer who stamped his initials just above the lanyard loop.

Army
A crowned SS, is Sture Stenmo before 31./3. 1946
A crowned NS is Niels Salihn from 1946 to 1948
These pistols usually had an additional regimental Marking, followed by a number:

Infantry
I 11 in Växjö
I 12. in Jönkjöping
I 13 in Falun
I 14 in Gävle
P 4 in Skövde

Armoured units
P 4 in Skövde

Artillery
A6 Jönkjöping

Coastal Artillery
KA 1 in Sokholm
KA 2 in Blekinge
KA 3 in Gotland
KA 4 in Göteborg

Air Force
An encircled SÅS is Sven Åke Sundhagen, who controlled pistols for the Air Force. Most, if not all, of these pistols have the regimental markings followed by a number:
F 1 Västerås
F 2 Hägernes
F 3 Linköping
F 5 Ljungbyhed
F 7 Skaraborg
F 9 Göteborg
F 14 Halmstad
F 16 Upsala
F 18 Tullinge
F 20 Upsala
22/7 1943 Husqvarna delivered 300 pistols
28/7. 1943 Husqvarna delivered 500 pistols
Usually the regimental markings were on a round washer inserted in the grip.

Navy
The Navy never discarded the Browning 1907 pistols, and thus never adopted the Lahti.

The End in Sweden
In 1991 all shooting with these pistols was prohibited in the Swedish Army and the stock of 50 000 M 40 pistols were sent to destruction. By 1993 the last pistols were discarded from the Swedish Army.

Danforce
Danforce was a unit of Danish fugitives, meant to prevent a communist take over when the Germans withdrew. From Denmark they got their pistols direct from Husqvarna and a Danish officer named Einar Roth controlled the pistols, he stamped with a crowned HV. A similar unit of Norwegians was formed, but they got there pistols from Swedish military stores. The Danes got 3500 pistols, most delivered after 1946. Einer Roth also controlled these pistols. The Danish army used the M40S (as the Danes called it) up to 1950, where the SIG 210 was issued. Some were left over in the home guard and smaller units.

Neutral Pistols
The Swedish military intelligence service had several hundred M 40 pistols made in strict secrecy that had no Husqvarna markings at all, even the Husqvarna logo in the grips were dug out of the mold.

These pistols were given to agents and high ranking resistance personnel; the idea was properly to make it possible for the Swedes to deny all knowledge of the person, encountered with such a pistol, and not to offend the Germans. These pistols had five digit serial numbers, and most surfaced in Norway, plus a few in Denmark.

The foreman at the Husqvarna factory who oversaw this production was Arthur Hytting. He states that there was made less than 400 such neutral pistols, with serial numbers from 31600 to 32000. A few were made with a different barrel length. Neutral Swedish cartridges,without headstamps, are also known to exist.

There was a batch of 400 M 37/39 submachine guns made up in the same way. They were shipped across Oeresund to Denmark in fishing boats, placed in Danish fish cases. It was impossible to find such cases in Sweden at that time, so the man in charge of the transport simply went down to the fish case factory claiming he was from AB Svensk film, and they were making a movie that should look like taking place in a harbor in Denmark. In that way he got his cases for the 400 submachine guns for the waiting Danish military groups. In Copenhagen Harbor as they were transferred to a lorry one case slipped, and submachine guns and cartridges were scattered on the ground – but the German soldiers guarding the harbor helped to repack the goods. Some sort of agreement must have been made between the Germans and the resistance movement to let these weapons in.

The fishing boats were purchased Swedish ones, remarked with Danish registration numbers. The transports started in Rya habor in Göteborg.

In the Husqvarna records it says that all these neutral weapons were sold to a suspicious firm: Scania Steel Company, which was led by a man called Algot Vigot Tonman, who was a part of the secret organization called the C-Bureau – which later became the technical department of the Swedish military intelligence service.

The H Prefix Pistols
Husqvarna made a few pistols for the civilian market – they had an H in front of the serial number. This pistol was in the factory catalog listed as the Model 600. A total of 42 samples were made, numbered from H1 and up.

The D Prefix Pistols
The Danish police ordered 10,000 pistols in 1946 from Husqvarna. They were received in the spring of 1947, some were taken from stock and pistols with the control marks NS, SS and HV is encountered in this lot. Some of these pistols were used by the Danish security police, and were marked RPLT S and a number from 1 and to around 50.

Others were used by dog patrols for training the dogs and were threaded on the muzzle, for a red painted nut with a 3 mm hole, for shooting blanks. The chambers of these pistols were lengthened 2 mm from 19 to 21 mm, to fit the Danish military blank cartridges.

The VP Prefix Pistols
In 1978 the firm V Pabst and Son brought the police Lahti pistols and the spare parts from the police workshop, of these they made up a few pistols VP 100 to VP 105. These were resold in Germany.

The PS Prefix Pistols
The Swiss firm Poul Schafrot also made up a few pistols from spare parts, numbered PS 1 to PS 20.

Swedish Railway Pistols
200 pistols were sold to the Swedish Railways, they are stamped SJ and a number.

Made in Sweden Pistols
Some of the Danish police pistols resold by Pabst were on buyers’ request stamped with “Made in Sweden” if the country of origin was important in the receiving country.

Triangle Stamps on Barrels
The Swedish military stamped 1 to 3 triangles on the underside of rusty barrels – 3 for the most rusty.

Dot Stamping
Some of the pistols have 1 to 3 dots stamped in the rear part of the frame, meaning that modification 1 to 3 has been made on the pistol.

4 mm Trainers
The Swedish Army used 4 mm insert barrels for training purposes.

Cleaning Equipment
A 4 mm thick iron cleaning rod with a flat eye and a 5 cm high double aluminum oil bottle were issued.

Combination Tool
Each pistol was issued with a combination tool made of sheet steel. This tool had a built-in screwdriver and fitted over the magazine to facilitate loading.

Holsters
Several types of holsters are encountered:
1) Black or brown pigskin, with room for 2 magazines, cleaning rod and the combination tool.
2) Identical holster in cow hide – these are officers holsters, sometimes with a Swedish regimental button.
3) Canvas holster, with or without compartments, made by the Danish firm Kitt-Catt, with a lift-the-dot type closure. Swedish officers and civilians could also buy a luxury holster, made of brown cow hide.

Israeli Pistols
Some Lahti pistols turned up in Israel, they were Finnish L35 model, which the Irgun (an offshoot of the Haganah) got 600 of. They made canvas holster for the guns.

58 comments to The Husqvarna M 40 Pistol

  • Correction: There were just under 900 examples made during the war with an “H” prefix.

  • swede1985

    Great write-up.

  • Sven

    I was issued the M40 as a service pistol in the early 80′s. It was nicknamed “the iron stove”, as the milled upper and receiver was square and very heavy. The pistol was intended for the Swedish M39 9mm luger cartridge, but typically used the M39B, a variant with a sturdy steel jacket creating very high pressure and mussle speed. The M39B round was developed for use in submachine guns, and here the high penetration of the hard jacket was desired. When used in the M40 it was known to cause catastrophic failures. http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/2567/9x1950km.jpg.

  • Carolus

    If any owner of one is interested, Stockholms Vapenfabrik (Weapons Factory) makes replicas of the Shouldersstocks tested but never issued. Quite pricey, coming from a small company trying to make a living, but interesting pieces none the less.

    There are two versions available, one with stock and holster
    http://www.stockholmsvapenfabrik.se/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=401
    And shoulder-stock only
    http://www.stockholmsvapenfabrik.se/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=400

    The company also sells and produces beautiful replicas of Mauser-rifles, and has lots of spare parts ect for older Swedish weaponry.

  • Slavko

    Very intresting! Thanks You!

  • JPeelen

    Thanks a lot for the excellent information.

  • Peter Rasmussen

    Hi Bob thanks for the correktion, the number 46 is from Husqvarnas arcive, could be the ones for the prewar civilian marked, in the war time, more peaple needed a pistol and it would be natural, that more pistols for the comercial marked were made.
    Peter

  • Normann

    Dear Friends,
    another piece of European fireamrms history….: here again I can bring my personal witness… I have a Swedish good friend whom I met during a business trip a dozen years ago, he was president of the pistol shooting club of Sweden, he is a retired army office and he got degreed in mechanical engineering during the academy….
    Jan has one of these pistols, for which he machined a new slide with longer barrel and rounded-up rifling.
    I personally shot this pistol one full afternoon with a lot of fun….: accuracy and light recoil at its utmost…. I almost fainted when he told me that the Swedish Forces brought some thousands of those guns under the press, before that, the Gov’t sold them for approx.
    80 U$, each….. if you ever have a chance of buying one, do not miss it… they are wonderful guns, thanks to an accelerator they are able to shoot at -30°C and they are much cheaper than the Lahti M35.
    Good shooting everybody

  • Normann

    Sorry, I forgot, one piece of history related to the Husqvarna M40…. a famous history in Scandinavia.
    Sweden was much fearing a nazi invasion and extensively helped Norwegian partisans, one day one of those partisans was trying to flow away from 2 german soldiers who were after him, all 3 on cross-country skis, hi,…. the 2 Germans only had pistols (P38) and the Norwegian partisan was carrying our M40…. Germans were faster than him and were shooting at him without success while approaching, at a certain point, the 2 Germans ran out of ammo and suddenly the situation turned viceversa with the Norwegian running after the Germans…he killed them both, thanks to the M40….you see what happens when you carry a better gun….

  • Earl Liew

    Peter Rasmussen has written a truly fascinating and highly-informative article that has covered a very wide range while leaving out little. It is easy to tell that he put a great deal of time and effort into this project, and should be lauded for it. Thank you, Peter, for sharing this so freely with the rest of us — it is much appreciated. And many thanks to Ian for enabling this on a great web site.

  • Keith

    Peter and Ian,

    Many thanks for this post. I’ve been very interested in Lahti pistols for at least 30 years, and this is the most information I’ve ever seen about them.

    I owned an M40 for a few years during the 1980s, It was a lovely pistol to fire, even if (in my opinion) the rear sight notch could have done with being four times bigger.

    I allowed myself to be scared by stories of structural failures, although the only half reliable story of a failure was an L35, that supposedly the bolt came out of

    - possibly a failure of the post that the recoil spring guide passes through.

    Failures interest me -not for any joy in destruction, but because of the lessons they can teach us, so any information on the type of failure and the conditions under which it happened would be very interesting, for example, did failures tend to occur during frosty weather?

    Also, much has been repeated about the different metallurgy of the Swedish made pistols, but your reference to Moly steel is the only detail which I’ve ever seen!

    Any info on the compositions and heat treatment of the steels would be very interesting – was it lack of alloying elements (e.g. nickel) and / or the effects of higher levels of impurities like sulphur, phosphorus and oxide inclusions, which the presence of nickel (and silicon) would tend to minimise the bad effects of?

    - and also any detail changes between the critical strength parts of the pistol between Finnish and Swedish manufacture, were there for example smaller radii and fillets at the base of that little post at the back of the grip frame?

    I’m really looking forward to part 2

  • Denny

    Such beefy looking pistols and they would have blowups? Hard to believe; I was impressed with them looking at detailed pictures some time in past. As implies from Peter’s writeup, it was to blame on SMG ammunition, if I understand it right. Czechs had similar issue with their Vz.52s when using ammo for Vz,24/26 SMGs. I wonder how Russian Tokarev’s stood up their presumably universal ammunition shared with PPSh.

    • Earl Liew

      Hi, Denny :

      Your comments are most interesting, and worthy of respect, as always. Please correct me if I have gotten this wrong, but I thought the vz.52 pistol was properly stressed to fire the “hot” 7.62mm x 25 Tokarev-based M48 Czech ammunition that had a 20%-25% higher loading than the standard 7.62mm x 25 Tokarev cartridge from which it was derived. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Sa 24 ( vz.48a/52 ) and Sa 26 ( vz.48b/52 ) SMG’s were also designed around the M48 cartridge, which provides greater muzzle velocity and energy ( and also greater recoil impulse and energy ). This “hot” Czech round is definitely not recommended for weapons specified only for the standard 7.62mm x 25 Tokarev round, eg., the TT33 pistol.

      On the other hand, the standard 7.62mm x 25 Tokarev cartridge, used in the TT33 pistol and PPSh-41 and PPS-43 SMG’s, generates less recoil energy and velocity than the M48 cartridge, and can safely be fired from a vz.52 pistol or vz.24 /26 SMG.

      On the side, some good references regarding this subject are as follows :

      1. http://www.harringtonproducts.com/7.62x25mm/ ( this is also a good site for cz.52 enthusiasts )

      2. http://www.ammoguide.com ( you’ll have to click on the cartridge type and follow the links as needed )

      3. http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-609567.html — of particular interest are the posts by Carl N. Brown on August 20, 2011 @ 9:37 P.M. and August 20, 2011 @ 10:03 P.M.( if this doesn’t work, you can still go to http://www.thehighroad.org and pull up the topic “7.62×25 and 7.63 Mauser” to access the information ).

      Hope this helps to clarify things a little and spur further in-depth discussion.

      • Keith

        Hi Earl and Denny.

        There was a thread on “the high road” a few years back, by a character who’s hobby was to gradually overload guns until they broke.

        (he’s breaking perfectly good pistols and here’s me in a place where there’s the threat of five years plus in a state cage for anyone caught with a pistol, hmmm).

        The character claimed that it didn’t take much above the standard Czech loadings to get a VZ52 barrel to rupture at the roller cut outs.

        He claimed that TT33s would take much heavier loads of the same powder and bullet that had burst Vz52s.

        Aside from obvious questions of how the character assessed the actual pressures curves achieved by the Czech military loads, and what the utility is in battering the recoil stop surfaces of a semi auto pistol with gross overloads, when actual magnum revolvers and magnum autoloaders are available for anyone wanting higher muzzle energies…

        It does appear that the TT33 barrel will contain higher pressures without rupturing than a VZ52.

        With regard to 9mmp SMG loadings, I’ve heard of a P08 Luger going full auto after bending parts with SMG loads, and I’ve heard of Walther P38s cracking slide rails at the locking cut outs.

        United state issue Berretta service pistols didn’t even seem to need SMG loads to suffer slide separations, and in the initial form, no one had thought to put a means of retaining the rear end of a snapped slide on the gun – two signs of a very poor design – one which relies on high strength materials – and when the materials used are sub standard, doesn’t fail in a safe mode.

        Cont.

        • Denny

          True Keith,

          they were all ‘cracking’ in more than figurative sense of the word. Beretta in particular had a serious snag in that sense during testing for future American service pistol. They has discovered metallurgy issue and even invented lovely new term to interpreted it – “fracture toughness” (sounds like BS to me). How they made it thru and still had gotten service pistol (M9) out of it is beyond me. Now after many years of service, the M9 is eventually fairly good gun with deserved reputation. I do not think it is any better than P-38 though, which Americans could readily adopt with little risk. One can only guess what is on bottom of it.

        • Denny

          Just to add on subject of Vz.52 pistol that much: I did not experience any failure on it personally neither was aware of it happening during my service time, but I know that they were failing on occasion. The typical mode of failure was demonstrated by swelling of slide side walls. It is not known to me that the gun would ever come out of battery in process of this happening. Apparently the material is very tough and sufficiently ductile at the same time to prevent it. Well, what can we say, Poldi-steel at its best; just like Sheffield or Solingen.

          I personally (and this is more than my opinion) that Vz.52 pistol design is NOT suitable to its powerful round in long term use. It was originally intended for 9mm Luger. TT33 on the other hand, albeit visually more ‘dainty’, is gun which take it in stride. Another testimony to Russian formulation of Browning’s genius.

        • Keith

          Cont:

          Among the interesting questions, are, what is the nature of SMG loadings compared to loads intended for a locked breech pistol?

          An SMG typically has around 10″ barrel length, compared to around 4 or five inches for a service pistol.

          Service pistol loads are likely going to be achieving peak pressure at about the point where the bullet has just entered the rifling, and expand adiabatically from that point.

          This is where larger cases operating at the same peak pressure such as .38 super gain additional velocity compared to 9mmP, as they are able to have a greater volume of gas at that pressure to expand behind the bullet – so, although the peak pressures are the same, the pressures after the peak remain higher for the bigger case.

          For the same case but with a longer barrel, it becomes possible to use a heavier weight of a slower burning powder, so that the peak pressure occurs further down the barrel (say half an inch or an inch as a wild arsed guess) and although the peak does not exceed the pressure of the pistol load (because the bullet has moved further so the volume is bigger), the greater mass of gas gives higher pressures all the way down the barrel after the peak.

          Addition of inert salts (say sodium or ammonium bicarbonate) which cool the powder burning temperature and contribute additional gas, can (assuming the same peak pressure level) contribute to higher post peak pressure levels for the remainder of the bore. Unfortunately sodium ions in the hot gas emerging from the bore give a bright orange coloured flash – which might be what some people are confusing with a hot load.

          The effect of a heavier charge of slower burning powder – in a pistol, may (depending on the area under the pressure versus bullet travel graph for that length of barrel) be a higher muzzle velocity, or even a lower velocity

          but

          remaining pressure at the time of bullet exit will be higher, and chamber pressure during unlocking and initial extraction will be higher, leading to greater wear on locking surfaces, and higher slide veloceties.

          Unless some means of buffering has been built in to soak up the energy from the slide – such as a stack of Belleville washers which convert some of the the impact energy into frictional heat

          then the stop surfaces will end up taking more of a battering than they were designed for.

        • Keith

          Cont 2

          In a pistol with an enclosed browning slide such as a 1911 or a GP35, that might lead to peening and eventual stretching of the slide, this is described in the article by Pat Yates which Big Al kindly linked toa week or two back, describing Yates’ experiments with radically cut down 1911s which became the “Detonics” guns
          http://www.biggerhammer.net/detonics/detonics_history_patyates.html

          In guns like the L35 and M40 Lahtis, which incorporate a separate accelerator to transfer energy from the recoiling slide and barrel to the separate bolt, higher slide velocities result in the accelerator, its pivot, and the pocket where its pivot attaches in the slide, being stressed more.

          In toggle locked actions such as the Maxim and Furrer MGs and in the Borchardt and Luger pistol derivitives of them, the accelerator function is implicit in the design,

          the cam which breaks the toggle functions as an accelerator, transferring energy from the recoiling slide to the unlocking bolt

          MG designers such as Browning and Lahti who had been engaged in designing none toggle replacements for Maxim type MGs, appeared to understand this, and incorporated separate accelerators into their designs.

          A Browning pistol slide cleverly avoids the need for an accelerator, as the whole mass of the slide and combined breech bolt recoil all of the way together, avoiding the need for energy from one to be transfered to the other.

          also, as the combined slide and bolt is heavier than a bolt alone, it can achieve the same momentum for cocking hammers, extracting sticky cases and chambering the next round, with less speed – allowing more time for the top round to rise in the magazine, and with more momentum, there is less tendency for the pistol to hang up just before it goes into battery – which my M40 used to do occasionally.

          Actual stopping of the recoiling bolt in a Browning style pistol occurs when the back of the drop down recoil spring housing at the front end of the slide impacts the frame under the barrel chamber

          In both perts, there is an ample surface area and a thick web of material to absorb the impact.

          In the Lahti design, bolt recoil is taken on a little skinny post on the back of the frame.

      • Denny

        Hi Earl!

        Thank you for your kind and respectful comment. Just to be clear about my source of information: I was trained as armourer thru 2.year of my compulsory military service. That gave me some hands-on practical knowledge. However, my greater awareness of this technology comes from several decades of personal interest and eventually being able to work for number of years in firearms industries on this continent. So, that’s for my ‘resume’.

        Now, the details I mentioned about variety of loadings for Czech 7.62×25 cartridge were from chats from page valka.cz(war). I went back to the discussion which follows the introduction page on Vz.24 and 26 SMGs, but could not locate the piece of discussion I was looking for.
        http://forum.valka.cz/viewtopic.php/title/CZK-Samopal-24-a-26/t/16961 (page has English version as well)

        The people who contributed to this web were of more professional nature by their long-term occupations – either military or police officers or armourers with continuous professional service with these branches.

        When you click on red label of cartridge designation, you will be directed to dedicated page where is wealth of data and pictures incl. original Russian drawing supplemented with even pressure-time curve. So that’s for that. Good luck in your search!

  • If anyone is curious, here is a picture of a WWII Swedish commercial version with “H” prefix – Serial H464.

    http://www.adamsguns.com/605b.jpg

    Peter: That’s very interesting that Husqvarna shows 46 “H” prefix guns made before the war! That will give me something else to look for!

    • Earl Liew

      Very good photograph that gets the point across — thanks! Is this of a pistol in your personal collection? It appears to be in mint condition and is very well-made.

  • Years ago, I acquired several of these “H” prefix pistols in near new condition directly from Sweden. Sorry to say I sold them – but still have this photo.

  • Christian

    Thank you Peter R. for a interesting article! Lot’s of new info for a finn like me.

    I’d like to add some details, please accept them as positive feedback, I’m not out to diss a good article;

    * according to Finnish sources (Arma Fennica etc.) the number of Lahti M/35s sold to Sweden were 50, sold in December 1940. Buyer was the Swedish Air Force.
    * a further 10 were exported to Swizterland during the summer 1943
    * The name of the constructor is Aimo Lahti. Not “Lathi” or any other variation. This might not be of any great cosmic importance, but since this is a site for collectors I thought it would be ok to add a note on correct Finnish spelling…

    The first picture shows a Husqvarna or Rosenfors made pistol, not a Lahti. The larger trigger guard and barrel shank differ from the Lahti.

    The second, third and fourth pictures are intriguing; the 50 pistols sold to Sweden in 1940 were from the series 1 S/N 1100 – 3700 block. The last L-35 pistol delivered to Finnish Armed Forces (series 3 in 1945) had S/N 6731. The pistol in the pics have a number only just above this block! The [SA] property stamp of the FDF was used from 1942 onwards and, if the pistol in the fourth picture is the same as in #2 and 3, it has the post war replacement slide from the early 1950ies. I.e. well outside the time frame associated with M/35s being traded with Sweden. There is still much to learn about these pistols, so “common knowledge” here in Finland might be incomplete. I’d love to see more pics of this example!

    @Keith; the failures the L/35 was known for were due to SMG ammo, the slides cracked at the side. This was so common that it spoiled the pistols reputation, even here in it’s homeland most wannabe pistoleros know only that the L/35 “will crack and blow up”. Sigh…

    • Arne Bergkvist

      Hello
      I need to tell you that there is no complete pistol m/40 made at Rosenfors factory, the only remains was parts like bolt and internal small parts and eventually some frames that could be used. When HVA tock ower.
      When you find differences on HVA m/40 compare Lahti L-35 you will find many differences, in fact I like to call them 2 different pistols. The Receiver is not the same, they are not built on the same material (steel mixture) because of the wartime circumstances. Rosenfors had lack of knowledge and machinery, but the style was looking like Lahti. HVA have done many changes after the introduction, five different receivers, bolt changes and a lot of adjustments.
      The pistol hade failures and broke dawn! The problem was that many times the user used wrong ammo, that was made for Submachine. The ammo m/39 and m/39B is loaded exactly the same expect for thickness of the bullets metal jacket, that increases the pressure. Anybody could get military ammo m/39 B without problems. I was in the service 1965 and at that time we used the pistol ammo, and was told NOT to use 39B (the RED marked bullet, ammo) After that I have been shooting with pistols and m/40 for 40 some years, and thousands of cartridges every year, but I have NOT break any m/40.
      Another thing you have to do: take away the accelerator, it helps the pistol to stand the recoil better when you don’t speed up the slide unnecessary . It will not be as cold as minus 40 here in the middle of Sweden, and if it do, I won’t go out..

  • Denny

    Since I feel slightly uncomfortable by swaying from the subject in my previous posts, I want to make it up a bit. Here is article by Mr. Williams, man of profound knowledge in firearms and ammunition: http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/Lahti.html

    Elsewhere I also read that the accelerator was added as an afterthought to overcome rigours of tough northern winters. I consider this to be a masterpiece by genius of Aimo Lahti – true Finnish patriot.

    And yes, it had been also mentioned elsewhere and in accord of Peter’s narrative, that the Swedish version was not as high quality as the original.

    • Keith

      Hi Denny,

      Thanks for the link, I think I’ve still got the original Guns Review magazine with the article in it.

      Somewhere in that original article, there was a photograph of Lahti’s 1929 prototype pistol, which appeared to have a round section slide and bolt. Unfortunately I cannot find a picture of that gun on the net.

      Given Lahti’s background, of having modified maxim type toggle action machineguns, and having developed non toggle successors to them, I think that Lahti (like Browning) was very aware of the accelerator function which is performed by the cams in a toggle lock.

      I also think that Lahti’s design aim, was to produce a reliable gun, as much in the image of the Luger, which was the Finnish side arm at the time he started, as he was able to.

      Although Lahti came up with a much bigger and much heavier gun than a Luger, he retained its long sight radius and made the improvement of having the rear sight rigidly attached to the same structure as the barrel, he also retained the grip style of the Luger

      In the absence of documents and early blue prints (Peter’s article is the most info I’ve seen on Lahti pistols) I think the inclusion of the accelerator was likely to be an original design idea, again carrying over from the accelerator implicit in the Luger’s toggle, and Lahti’s work on toggle locked machineguns and the non toggle replacements for them, which require accelerators.

      Interestingly, re reading the article, I think the reason for the very strong mag springs was as much or more to speed up the rising of the top round in to get it in place to be fed by the fast moving, light bolt,

      as it was to do with overcoming the greater friction due to the raked grip angle.

      While I was looking for a photo of the L29 pistol prototype, I found this article which gives some info on the development, production history and variations of the L35

      http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/PISTOLS1.htm

      • Denny

        I tend to believe what you are saying regarding the accelerator. I just picked it somewhere… I cannot tell now. But, to really know for sure would be nice to see operating diagram or something of this sort. I know you are meticulous in digging out this kind of info, perhaps you will have lucky hand.

  • Earl Liew

    @ Denny & Keith :

    Thanks so much for your most valuable insights and additional links — this certainly helps to add weight to the issues surrounding usage of the “hot” Czech M48 round in the vz.52 pistol, even though Carl N. Brown on the http://www.thehighroad.org web site seems to have a compelling argument to the contrary. Dan Brown of Czechpoint-USA ( http://www.czechpoint-usa.com ) also specifically states that the vz.52 was designed around the M48 cartridge. Balanced against this are real-world professional user experiences such as Denny’s.

    In conclusion, I would rather be safe than sorry, so firing the standard, lower-powered 7.62mm x 25 round through the vz.52 would be the order of the day for long-term use unless absolutely proven otherwise. The standard round already has very high muzzle velocity and energy, and is still one of the best-performing pistol-caliber cartridges in the world anyway, certainly far more than adequate to get the job done on the battlefield.

    On another note, the Beretta M9 controversy is not surprising, considering the long and, should we say, rather colorful history of the military procurement process, complete with political convolutions.

  • Earl Liew

    @ Keith :

    RE : Your “Cont.” & “Cont 2″ Posts

    Thanks for the in-depth comparative analyses — very comprehensive and informative! They make the mechanical aspects of recoil absorption and stress much clearer for a lot of different pistol designs.

    • Keith

      Thanks Earl,

      I put the info up in the hope that it might be of interest. I’ve never seen the subject covered anywhere, and I’ve enjoyed spending the time working it out – usually when I should have been thinking about something else…

      If it is useful, that’s great.

  • Denny

    I am also joining in with praise for Keith’s contributions. He did verbally what picture would do. I just happen to be more ‘graphically biased’ as a result of my occupation. Lack o imagination, you may say. =)))

  • Thaks boys,
    it was a lovely discusion about evrything.
    I like Lahti and Suomis. Here in Greece we have a cuple
    of Suomis from the 18th SS Polizei Div. during the antipartisan war of 1943-44.
    Great pieses of machinery.

    • Christian

      Hi Dimitris, do you know of any pictures of the Suomis in Greece back then? There are a few pictures of the Suomi smg in Warsaw 1944 but I’ve never seen any of these in Greece?

  • Sorry Christian,
    no photografic evidens of the Suomi only the Suomis itself.
    There is a blur photo from the Olympous area during 1944 but
    it is very dificult to say,..yep its a Suomi.Its like some russian stuf.Any way,now i am in vacance, when i come buck i send you the photo via Ian.
    Pictures from Suomi you can find from the Italin and Serbian front during the summer of 1944.

  • Eugene Neigoff

    In the posting I have copied, the price and informatoon is is swedish, can anyone translate it for this stupid american.

    Carolus
    August 16, 2013 at 7:08 am · Reply

    If any owner of one is interested, Stockholms Vapenfabrik (Weapons Factory) makes replicas of the Shouldersstocks tested but never issued. Quite pricey, coming from a small company trying to make a living, but interesting pieces none the less.

    There are two versions available, one with stock and holster
    http://www.stockholmsvapenfabrik.se/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=401
    And shoulder-stock only
    http://www.stockholmsvapenfabrik.se/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=400

    The company also sells and produces beautiful replicas of Mauser-rifles, and has lots of spare parts ect for older Swedish weaponry.

  • Magus

    Those no-marking pistols for Swedish intelligence use seem like a pretty silly idea. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to just issue something foreign-made instead of a pistol that was closely associated with Sweden?

  • strongarm

    Though generaly described as “Bergman type Slide Lock” Lahti’s version has some
    distnictive features from what of Bergman’s;

    - Locking piece is fully closed in Bergman’s as compared open at bottom at Lahti’s,

    - Breechbolt is locked with a raised locking piece in Bergman’s as compared
    unlocked at Lahti’s,

    - Lahti’s breechbolt gets locked at top and Bergman’s, at contrast, at underside.

    And lastly, Lahti’s inverted “U” shaped lock piece, by the light of common similarity mistake, gives a thought that current Italian/Russian “Strike One”
    pistol’s “Y” shaped lock piece, is derived from Bergman Lock System, which in fact,
    being only a shrinked P38 Type.

  • Arne Bergkvist

    Hej fellows
    listen to Bob Adams when it coms to “H” prefix
    exact 843 was made, he knows

    After reading the info about the Swedish Railway serie, I must say, more than 200 was delivered in the 23xxx serie.And later another 100 was added.
    I had a few of them but none was marked SJ together with serial nr.
    The pistols I had was in never used conditions, with holster and parts.

  • Arne Bergkvist

    Regarding the article
    First of all: I will not point fingers ! Your article is interesting. I have some info that can be added, if you like.
    The pistol you call “Neutral” was ordered by “ AB Skandiastål” a fake company registered by Överstelöjtnant Carl Petersén. Chef för C-byrån 1940-1946.
    All of the pistols (500) was delivered to different Air Force depots in the west part of sweden Together with the pistols was ammunition without head stamps delivered.
    Any notes of longer barrel than standard is not in the factory journal.
    Algot Törneman working private as Lowyer and Agent at C-byrån.
    The economy regarding the purchase of the “Neutral” pistol was supported by a German gun dealer who also was a major stock owner in AB Skandiastål.
    After the war C byrån changed name to T-kontoret Thede Palm. Vid C-byrån 1943-1946. Chef T-kontoret 1946-1964

  • Normann

    Hy friends, I actually came to know about the destruction of those so many wonderful pistols from a good friend a high-ranking Pistolskytte member and a retired Swedish Army colonel; I really never understood why the Swedish gov’t sent them under the press rather than bringing those good irons to the surplus market. Anyway my good friend Jan was also so lucky to get a university degree in mechanical engineering during his mil service and made a one-of-a-kind M40 pistol for himself, new slide with longer barrel and the rifling was machined from inside to have rounded egdes, I shot it and it was a nearly recoilless, accurate and marvelous pistol. The amazing thing about the project -not sure whether this particular detail was included in the Finnish project or was a Swedish add-on – is the striker accelerator which will enable the gun to shoot even if iced-up…. something wonderful, ha ! Anyway over here in Italy there are some around and we normally get them modified into 9x21mm since the original 9×19 Para is considered military ammo by the law and prohibited on the civilian market. All in all their price ranges between 700/900 Euro and they are normally in pretty good conditions, whereas the Swedish gov’t released them for approx 60 Euro…only !
    Keep up boys,
    greetings from Venice

    • Arne Bergkvist

      Hello Normann
      Answer on your question: If Aimo Lahti made the accelerator , YES !! from the beginning on L-29 pistol. It is not a HVA invention, but HVA redesigned the accelerator.
      The accelerator giv the bolt a higher speed/force at start, so the power was able to reload a new cartridge in to the chamber at minus 40 Celsius. It might be necessary when cold, but in summer condition it is not necessary .
      You do understand in summer heat with submachine cartridges and a pressure much higher than it have to be. And with submachine ammo = Catastrophe !
      Many of my fellow pistol-shooters just pulled them out and kept them for the day they sold the pistol. But don’t use the submachine cartridge if you like the pistol. The pricing you presented for a m/40 pistol is to low in my opinion. The highest I heard about was a Norwegian unmarked m/40 sold for 3800 US dollar in 2013. Now they have come up in the right level…
      Happy New Year fellows

  • Hi, Does anyone have info 0n A series m/40 pistols.

    • Sven

      John,
      the A-series are mentioned here:
      http://www.gotavapen.se/gota/m40/pist40_4.htm
      …as a series issued to non-commissioned officers.
      -Sven

    • Arne Bergkvist

      Hello John and Sven
      If any of you owns an A prefix pistol I like pictures
      As the old article writer of Swedish army pistols, Arne Tell told: The first 100 pistols was for education program at Officer, and war shool. He write probobly the truth, beause non A prefix is found with serial number above 100. The first 100 pistols delivered, was to education and training program in 1942.
      So i agree, until other facts is presented.
      arne

  • Arne Bergkvist

    Hallo fellow collectors
    I have a question: Why do many of you call the HUSQVARNA m/40 pistol for LAHTI ?
    Aimo Lahti invented the system with “help” from Bergmann, but we still call it Lahti.
    The LAHTI L 29-35 is divided in so many models(like HVA) so it is difficult to keep track on them even if you are a serious collector and have many to compare with.
    Browning invented the barrel lock up system, and most of the worlds makers used it, but you will never hear someone call a SIG SP47, Radom VIS, STAR, PETTER, or TOKAREV for Browning.
    The HUSQVARNA m/40 is remodeled many times from the first production serie, so in my opinion it is a HUSQVARNA pistol m/40 for the military serie or
    HUSQVARNA AUTOMATISK REPETERPISTOL m/1940 nr 600 for the commercial serie.(original HVA name)
    Make it easy
    arne

  • Arne Bergkvist

    CORRECTION: I did find a “Duck” or “frog” in the article
    from the beginning under ARMY: Sture Stenmo is wrong

    Stenmo,Sten Waldemar Captain, Inspection Officer at Carl Gustaf Stads Gevärsfaktori until Mars 31,1946

  • Arne Bergkvist

    Thanks
    Best solutions for all
    Is it OK for all of us to do so, when needed ?
    arne

  • I’m a lefty, and the safty digs into my hand when I fire my Lahti. Can I remove the safty, without changing the rest of the functioning of my gun?

    Many thanks, John

  • I own 2 with holsters , clips and clip loader , plus cleaning rod. 1 is supposed to be prtty special as it has 1 sets of numbers on it , 1 set in white !

  • sorry the one has 2 sets , one set in white.

  • Rick Breneman

    Were these pistols “surplused” over time? I inherited a M40 from dad, which he bought at least 55 years ago in very minty condition. Would the markings on it shed any light on why it was in the U.S. in the 1950′s? I’ve shot mine some, with either light loads or with the accelerator removed, and it shoots well, though the grip is somewhat uncomfortable, contorting the wrist unnaturally, as might be expected of a gun modeled on the appearance of the Luger!

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