Franchi LF-57

The LF57 was the first production submachine gun made by the Italian Franchi company. It was introduced (as you might expect) in 1957, and was adopted by the Italian Navy a few years later, in 1962. That was the only major contract it won, though, as there was significant competition in the SMG market at the time – including the also-Italian Beretta PM12, which won the Italian Army contract.

Franchi LF57 submachine gun
Franchi LF57 submachine gun

The LF57 is a simple and effective design, made largely with steel stampings. The barrel is held in place with a barrel nut like the Uzi or Madsen M50, and operation is accomplished with a simple blowback mechanism. The majority of the bolt mass is located above the barrel – this looks like a gas piston, but is not. The weight of the bolt keeps the rate of fire to a manageable 460 rounds/minute of standard 9x19mm cartridges. Most internet sources list the LF57 as using 20- and 40-round magazines, but the original Franchi brochure (see below to download) we have indicates a 30-round magazines was provided with the gun.

Loading the LF57

The LF57 did not have a manual safety, but was built with a large grip safety in the front of the pistol grip. A push-button selector at the top of the grip allowed the shooter to choose semi or fully automatic fire. In recognition of the close-range use of submachine guns, Franchi zeroed the fixed iron sights at a range of just 50 yards.

You can download a copy of an original Franchi sales brochure on the LF57 from the Franchi LF-57 page in the Vault, or right here:

Franchi LF57 sales brochures (English & Italian)
Franchi LF57 sales brochures (English & Italian)


  1. Wow,
    Thanks soo much to you Ian,
    I dont know what to say,I was looking to find this manual long time ago and finaly you showed it to us all…

    It would be interesting to see how LF57 trigger mechanism works…

  2. Franchi marketed the 9mm “Model 1962” police carbine in semi only. It had a 16 inch barrel with an integral brake/flash hider. Fired from the open bolt like the LF57

    • I’m not surprised – older equipment often stays around long after its replacement has been adopted. There were M3A1 grease guns in some US Army tanks until Desert Storm (and the Beretta M38 series was a very good gun).

  3. Is anybody knows how trigger mechanism looks like and how it operating??
    Any diagrams or schematics exist on such model??

  4. The other major contract won by the LF57 was an order for 10,000 units for the Portuguese army.
    The weapon was also quite popular among mercenaries in the African wars of the ’60s and ’70s.

  5. Saw one of these on consignment sale today at a local GS. I thought it might be a remanuf .22 version of a Walther sub, but no. Heavy as an Uzi, could be yours for 17k.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.