Hotchkiss Universal SMG at the Range

I have previously filmed a semiauto Hotchkiss Universal, but until today I’d not had a chance to try shooting an intact, original automatic one. Thanks to Battlefield Vegas, I have the chance today!

Turns out, the French absolutely made the right choice taking the MAT-49 over the Hotchkiss Universal. The Hotchkiss has very cool folding features, but in actual firing it’s pretty awful. The sights are awkwardly low, the overall handling ergonomics are poor, and it bounces around quite a lot when firing. About the only SMGs that I think the Hotchkiss outperforms are the MkII and MkIII Sten – and that’s a pretty low bar to clear!


  1. Well, at least you aren’t holding off a horde. Then again, with a mob rush, there’s no realistic way to miss by accident short of tripping over your shoelaces… or am I wrong?

    • MagPul also displayed a similar brief-case SMG at a recent Shot Show.
      Since fewer and fewer business men carry brief-cases these days, a different silhouette is needed.
      A few luggage makers offer soft-sided brief-cases or messenger bags with internal holsters for various pistols, etc.

      However, so many people carry cell-phones and computer tablets that this is the new norm.
      Some one else has developed a modification to Glock pistols allowing them to fold as small as a cell-phone.
      You would probably need a tablet-sized silhouette to conceal a serious self-defense gun. A typical computer tablet measures 9 x 5 inches, about the same silhouette as a Glock 19.
      The next challenge is building an SMG that folds to a tablet-sized silhouette.

      • I want an explosively-formed projectile Claymore shaped like a tablet. Screw aiming.
        Of course, padding might be a problem.

  2. Really stupid question:

    Given a choice of awkward or obscure weapons, which would be best for defending your front door from a horde of ax-swinging home-invaders?

    1. Hotchkiss Universal
    2. Desert Eagle in .50 Action Express
    3. Buntline Special
    4. Moschetto Automatico Revelli
    5. Furrer MP 41/44
    6. SIG MP-41
    7. Molot VPO-208 (SKS-styled shotgun)
    8. ZH-29 with bayonet
    9. 7.5 cm Gebirgsgeschütz 36 on mountain skis (Where the heck was this hiding!?)
    10. Or, per the usual, screw the budget and add your favorite toys to this list!

    • SKS is the clear winner here, as you overestimate how big a problem the limited rifling is (Klashnikov Concern has a video on Youtube that shows it’s less than ideal, but perfectly acceptable within ~150 meters). Semi-auto, stock, intermediate cartridge, paradox rifling is enough to keep it stable at home-defense distance and potentially even roof korean stuff.

    • “(…)Molot VPO-208 (SKS-styled shotgun)(…)”
      Note that this is shotgun from point of view of Russian law. Its cartridge is technically closer to intermediate rifle cartridge than shotgun ammunition
      …a decent medium-game hunting cartridge with efective range of up to 150-200 meters. It is also a formidable home-defense load.

    • The hands-down winner is still the old China Lake 40mm pump-action repeating GL, loaded with flechette rounds.

      Short and easy to maneuver, about 10 pounds fully loaded, and a lot quieter than anything else on the list.




      • “(…)lot quieter(…)”
        But… is loudness con in this case? Do a horde of ax-swinging understand how fire-arms works? If not loudness might be useful.

        • Indoors, a loud muzzle signature can disorient you.

          Also, the intimidation factor of report is over-rated. Crazies tend to be running on raw adrenalin, with or without chemical enhancement, and are largely unaffected by such factors.

          You do not openly confront a numerically superior group of bats#!t crazy invaders. You take them out from concealment.

          Open confrontation = you fire one shot at across-the-room range and they dogpile you before you can shoot again. Unless you’re using something like TSMG or PPSh-41 with a full drum.

          If you’re at that level, the first thing you should have done was chuck a frag in the room- from the next room.



          • Good choice. Never overlook the advantages of “wall stitching”, first at about waist height, then the second burst angling down to impact on the floor about in the middle of the room.

            The animal (and human) instinct is to crouch or go flat on the ground. The first burst will catch a lot of them in the torso. The second burst will be mostly body hits from “above” with some (desirable) head hits.

            No, this isn’t what you see in movies, but Hollywood is not real life, or real combat.

            As an old Marine gunny told me, “If they see it coming, you did it wrong”.



          • Well, if you’re camping just behind the doorway and spray with a Thompson just as the first guy is halfway through the door, the others behind him are likely to get sawed in half before they even see you. Anyone not hit is going to have to climb over a pile of corpses to get through the door. Not that The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is a good reference… I could be wrong.

  3. Looks like the Good Idea Fairy (c) struck with all the problems generated by the insane amount of folding. Either somebody was reading too many spy novels or the FFI experience weighed heavily in certain French minds. With the possible exception of airborne troops (and I admit the “Airborne Mafia” was a force with the French Army) and vehicle crews, there is just no need for the folding capability. I spent a career as a tanker in the US Army and for 15 or so years of my career, our bailout weapon was the M3A1. All we needed to be able to stow our guns easily was the folding stock.

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