My recent video proposing a particular set of definitions for three generations of submachine gun design generated a lot of comments about the H&K MP-7 and FN P90. I focused largely on the first and second generation guns in that video – as they were the bulk of what I had available to use as examples – and I neglected what should have been those two obvious modern examples. To quickly recap:
Gen 1 – The first SMGs, made with primarily milled components to a high standard of craftsmanship and expense.
Gen 2 – The economization of SMGs. Designs using stamped materials at first, and polymer more recently.
Gen 3 – Designs emulating rifle handling. Generally closed bolt, but featuring the controls, layout and handling copied from modern rifle platforms.
I believe that both the MP-7 and P90 are solid examples of what I define as a 3rd generations SMG. The MP-7 takes most of its cues form the G36 rifle, and the P90 takes its from the F2000 rifle. I don’t think that the smaller-than-typical calibers used by these guns qualifies them as a new generation, nor does the clever and unusual magazine system of the P90. Neither is quite as perfect of an example as the MP5 in taking virtually every characteristic form a parent rifle design, but I think both are close enough to qualify as Gen 3 submachine guns.
My original video: