m/26 Suomi: Aimo Lahti’s First Production Design

Aimo Lahti was the premier firearms designer, and the m/26 was his first significant design. Lahti was a Civil Guard armorer, and upon seeing the Lindelof copy of the Bergmann SMG in 1921 he thought he could make something better and cheaper. He took on three partners and formed Konepistooli Osakeyhtio (Submachinegun Limited) and spent several years developing his design. It was chambered for 7.65mm Parabellum, with a large curved 36-round magazine, a safe/semi/full selector switch on the side of the receiver, and a theoretical rate of fire adjustment based on air compression behind the bolt (which didn’t really work). They sold a few guns to the Finnish Army in 1924 for testing, and a few addition small batches in 1925. Only about 100 were made in total, and these sales were barely sufficient to keep the company afloat financially. Ultimately the design was improved to the m/31 pattern, and the original four investors sold their rights in the company and gun to Tikkakoski for a nice cash payment plus royalty per gun produced. Tikkakoski would produce the m/31 for the Finnish Army and several export companies throughout the 1930s and early 1940s.

Thanks to Sako for giving me access to film this very rare example from their factory collection!


  1. “(…)was chambered for 7.65mm Parabellum(…)”
    Like Parabellum automatic pistols used by Finnish force. If you are wondered why they elected to buy this version, this due to DWM being prevented from procuring military caliber version as https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30035158 put it
    The weapon’s manufacturer, DWM, was forbidden by the terms of the Versailles peace treaty from producing weapons of military calibre, so an order was placed for pistols in 7.65mm calibre. Around 8,000 were acquired during the 1920s, being given the designation M23.
    Other military used of 7,65 mm Parabellum cartridge was at that time Switzerland, it also caused theirs sub-machine guns magazine to have magazine with serious curve

  2. “(…)theoretical rate of fire adjustment based on air compression behind the bolt (which didn’t really work)(…)”
    http://guns.connect.fi/gow/suomi1.html claims that this was done for potential future use in export version
    (…)An adjustment of the cyclic rate was necessary because of readiness to adopt caliber 7.63 x 25 mm Mauser for export model submachine guns. The length of the breech-bolt stroke was just a bit more than the overall length of 7.63 mm Mauser or 9 x 25 mm Mauser “Export” cartridge.(…)

  3. Stupid question: Just how much of the receiver was idiot-proof? I can’t imagine that it took well to rough treatment in the field. Well, by rough, I mean bludgeoning someone’s head to a jelly.

  4. Stupid question: Just how much was Hogans Heroes real?
    By real I mean was Bob Crane’s head really bludgeoned to a jelly?

  5. Always nice for Ian to share his experience, knowledge and exposure to rare pieces we seldom, if ever would have the ability to find and study. Thank you.

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