Hotchkiss Universal on the PCC Course of Fire

Today I am running a semiauto (SBR) Hotchkiss Universal through my standardized Pistol-Caliber Carbine course of fire. This consists of a selection of cool target systems from MOA Targets – an 8-plate dueling tree, a mini-Mozambique, and a Redneck Star. These will serve to test target transitions, precision shots, and moving targets respectively.

The Hotchkiss did better than I expected, but still failed to complete the course. I was unable to clear the mini-Mozambique on the second pass – between the poor sight placement, small aperture, and hard-to-see target, I just ran out of ammunition before I could get the hits on it. Frankly, I was happily surprised to be able to clear that target on the first pass…

Final time was 150 seconds with 10 targets left standing.


  1. So, apart from the complexity and manufacturing costs, the Hotchkiss Universal has another weakness in the iron sights. Perhaps the sights should have been a bit higher and made so that target acquisition wasn’t so difficult.

    • I bet when they were drafting requirements for competitions (which finally resulted in choice of MAT-49) they take into account experience of Resistance. Where ability to stow away weapon in small space was important and volume of fire might seem more than ability for precise single-shot. Also if I am not mistaken STEN Mk II was widely used there, whose sights are not adjustable either way.

      • Resistance may have played into it subconsciously, but mainly it was mechanization and parachutists needing to stow away the guns. Other countries did similar things at the time, but the french actually went and adopted a foldable sub-machine gun. Germany for example put the today iconic folding stock on the Uzi first for the same reasons. Yes yes yes, the MP2 A1 adoption was about a decade later, but still about the same timeframe of rearmament after WW2.

    • Step 1 open a blog about forgotten weapons
      Step 2 become famous for your work that you do from the deep of your heart
      Step 3 profit

      No signing up anywhere. Do it yourself.

  2. 2 final thoughts

    1) How did the guys who made the James Bond films overlook this

    2) “Precision” and “submachine gun” should not be used in the same sentence (The HK5 is really just an extremely short barreled assault rifle)

    • To answer the first question, the Hotchkiss Universal really isn’t that easy to procure for a movie studio (it is freakishly expensive to produce). Most of the serious users turned out to be cops. Soldiers who field-tested their weapons in Vietnam always carried the Universal unfolded, as there were just too many buttons to figure out in too little time (and one needed fast deployment in the event that some unfriendly ruffian jumped out of the bushes to get him). I probably missed something.

      • For movies the movie makers have to use what is avaiable at the time and place the movie is being filmed. Hence lots of WW2 surplus guns in old movies, because they were cheap and available in big numbers for all the extras in a classic Bond film.

        But as a gun being handed out by Q for Bond the Hotchkiss Universal would certainly been great. Or for Agent OSS 117 of course. Maybe there is a french movie with Belmondo or Delon toting a Universal?

      • Crazy that it showed up there of all places. Did they get it from a foreign weapons collection of the bulgarian army or similar?

    • Mainly because there just weren’t many Universals in England. By comparison, Stens, Thompsons and Erma MP38 and 40 were abundant.

      Almost as common as 7.65mm Walther PPKs.




      • England had so many Sterlings, in fact, that some had to be exported to a galaxy far, far away lest the island sink under the weight.

  3. Hotchkiss could have added as much as 2 cm to the height of the line of sight without compromising compactness. And (if they had bothered to ask me) they would have used bigger apertures.

    Something quaint-looking about the way the knob on the operating handle attaches. Something Lebel or Bertier flavored?

  4. From the look of the geology (stratigraphy) of that range Ian should be careful that a T-REX as in Dino Cowboys just doesnt poke its head over one of those hills And him armed with only a 9mm semt auto carabine when he should have a RPG or one of those new Panzerfaust 60 reproductions

    • In my country, shooting ranges have sand boxes to catch the bullets, which are recycled. Ian’s scenic outdoor range looks appealing, but really makes me wonder if US ranges are just riddled with lead and left like that for the later generation, or if some kind of cleanup is conducted.

      • There are ranges in the USA with berms like everywhere else, but much of Ian and Karl shooting is on public land and thus the bullets stay where they are. In some videos you can see that people leave their trash behind and do not pick it up, too.

  5. I would note this gun shot much more accurately when cold. Might heat affect the barrel, chamber, or trunnion equivalent so that the group would spread? I note also that the rear sight is fixed to a receiver not fixed to the barrel — any variation caused by swelling of the chamber would, I presume, ruin fine accuracy. Your lesson, M’sieurs: Precise single-shot at the beginning of the battle, and switch to full-auto when your zero starts wandering.

    • “I would note this gun shot much more accurately when cold.”(C)

      It was a pretty hot day.
      And Ian was soon tired… 🙂

  6. Take a page from Timothy Mullin’s book: dab some white or orange paint on the front sight, hmmm? Watching that thing get unfolded is priceless!

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