Q&A #38: Short-recoil SMGs and Kimber Model 1907 .45s

Q&A time again!

00:45 – Rifles with 3-dot pistol style sights?
01:56 – Why not more short-barreled machine guns, if barrel length doesn’t impact accuracy?
03:53 – Is bolt/carrier mass important in a roller delayed system?
04:45 – How do I maintain my gun collection?
06:01 – Recoil reduction in rifles
07:20 – If the Savage .45 had been adopted, would we have Kimber 1907s today?
09:16 – What would today’s Sten gun look like?
10:53 – What are my hobbies outside guns and whiskey? 12:26 – Gun lubricant recommendations
13:57 – Were US servicemen in WW2 allowed to carry non-regulation sidearms?
15:15 – What non-firearm weapons have I studied?
16:28 – What are the best deals in the NFA market today?
19:54 – Do I plan cannon videos in advance or just film them at moments of availability?
21:38 – Guns I would refuse to film?
23:32 – What does a proof mark really mean?
25:16 – Etymology of “carbine” in a post-horse military world?
26:32 – M1 Carbine improvements, and the 5.7 Spitfire cartridge
29:50 – Can SMGs really fire when dropped, like in True Lies?
32:16 – Why not more bullpup SMGs?
33:57 – Unusual magazine types
37:21 – 3D printing of guns today by major companies
39:10 – Weird mechanisms I have not yet filmed
40:16 – Mag-fed vs belt-fed squad automatic weapons today
41:35 – Could the AR-10 have won its US trials if Stoner had more development time?
43:49 – Thoughts on the Ruger 57 pistol
44:51 – Why did England use the Webley revolver for so long?
45:58 – Why are so many modern AKs in 7.62×39 and not 5.45mm?
46:51 – How do more modern firearms effect troop training?
49:08 – English-language resource on 7.62x39mm cartridge development
50:00 – Century .308 conversion of the MAS 49-56
51:33 – Bullpup shotguns
52:31 – Any successful short recoil SMGs?


  1. My compliments – I finding the Q & A sessions both absorbing and informative. As a (sadly) rather latecomer to your site / ‘product’. I would like to trawl back through the previous ones of these and find this difficult. Though undoubtedly it would be a pain. Could they be tabulated or gathered as a separate topic in the main menu (or whatever other you might suggest or find more convenient)?

  2. According to my humble opinion;

    -Short barrel machine gun means using different type of ammunation than other rifle size weapons to prevent lots of the powder charge burning in the air rather than using it to expell the bullet… Meaningless waste.

    -Bolt carrier mass, or more truely the comparision of bolt mass to bolt carrier’s should be important at lever or roller delay firearms as important as the leverage ratio… Or in other case, the expected slowing level of bolt opening during the highest pressure existing, can not be got…

    -Recoil of an ammunition through a certain lenght of barrel can not be changed. What to be changing should be the “Felt Recoil” which gets effected by mass of gun, muzzle brakes, opposite moving masses compared bullet and etc…

    -Without keeping the trigger pressed, a dropped SMG would not go discharged more than a few round…

    -Weird mechanism expected getting filmed, may be Bernardelli’s delayed blowback, box magazine shotgun…

    -Ruger 57 may be the starting sample for effective new age handgun use… lf due ammunation also would be got provided…

    -Bullpup shotguns… Just wait… Huge amount of Turkish manufacturers hope much of them… ln vane…

  3. Subject Ross Rifle factory and Martello Tower on the Plains of Abraham.

    Sorry Ian,
    My comments were not meant as harsh criticism for you specifically. You were just repeating what you found in Quebec history books. There is plenty of “boilerplate” in Canadian history books. Much of that “boilerplate” is biased to support one political agenda over another political agenda.
    In the case of the Martello Tower, Quebec City peasants were told that the Tower was a part of Montcalm-era defences. In reality, the Tower was built well after the British conquered Quebec. As for Ross deliberately annoying Quebecois – by shooting at “their” historical monument – he may have done it deliberately. Quebecois did not really need an excuse to get annoyed at English “invaders!”
    French Canadian politics have always been distinct from English-speaking politics.
    I have degree in Canadian history, but even I had to go look up the date that Martello Towers were built in Canada.
    Again, I was not criticizing Ian personally.

    99.99999 percent of the time, your videos are more accurate than commonly held historical myths.

  4. “I do not pay attention to speciality oils”…
    That’s my kind of approach. For solving gunk and get things going WD40, for longer term protection – motor oil; the common brand which is at hand 🙂

  5. Regarding the retention of the Revolver in British service. The 1929 War Office “Textbook of small arms” addresses this question in some detail. While acknowledging that the “automatic” pistol can hold more rounds, can be loaded faster “(if spare magazines are provided”), can be smaller and is theoretically more “ballistically efficient” the official view was that these advantages were more than outweighed by the view that the revolver was safer than an automatic because it was easier to determine if the weapon was loaded, had better stopping power because of the “shock effect” of a large calibre projectile, and most of all was “infinitely more reliable”, especially with ammunition of variable quality – the risk of a batch of “Powderless pistol cartridges” is raised! Essentially, under the stress of a “hard campaign” the revolver can stand “infinite neglect and still be serviceable”

  6. “Test proofing with 200% of running pressure…?” I hope not 🙂

    The proofing pressures pertaining to national jurisdiction or customer requirement (such as armed force) are between 1.1 to 1.6 of maximum pressure of the cartridge the gun is chambered for. Also, note most sporting rifles have gas overpressure port in chamber area.

  7. What would today’s Sten gun look like?
    This might be divided into 2 questions:
    I) how would factory made urgently needed sub-machine gun would look like?
    and as STEN clones were made under occupation in Europe:
    II) how would home made sub-machine gun would look like?
    in both cases available would have crucial influence, though final solution would depend on manufacturers prior experience, which might have not experience at all in fire-arm area – note that many British STEN were made actually by… toy manufacturer, namely Lines Bros Ltd – but interestingly was able to redesign it to make faster.
    In case II) my bet is on something like BORZ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borz

    Unusual magazine types
    «Улитка» should fit, see 3rd and following images from top here:
    it was designed for PPD-34 and has capacity 75.
    Rejected as it was incompatible with PPD-40, which was already in production.

    Any successful short recoil SMGs?
    Depending on how you define successful Heinemann MP-32 might be what you are looking for: http://firearms.96.lt/pages/Heinemann%20MP-32.html
    it reached production and attracted few buyers. which you might consider as being either successful (as sub-machine guns during inter-war period were generally not very popular) or failure (if you emphasize few)

    • With todays technology basis, its obvious if production was organised by state (like it was with Sten), they would quickly ditch the cottage industry approach with manual machines and unskilled assembly workers, and use rapid specialized production where one factory with cnc and mim could make perhaps tens of thousands of parts in one shift.

      But who would actually need tens or hundreds of thousands of these submachineguns, as no war was won, especially today, with one.

      Only thing applicable could be some movie or book fantasy scenario of worldwide alien or zombie invasion, where arming the whole human population would be most welcomed.

      • The trouble with the single factory approach in an actual war was and is that a single air raid (or today, a half-dozen cruise missiles) can destroy the entire production capability for the weapon. To say nothing of the adverse effects of sabotage.

        The “shadow factory” and “”cottage industry” approach was adopted during WW2 in Britain for reasons of dispersal, not economics. A single raid, such as that on the BSA plant in Birmingham on 19 Nov 1940, could not eliminate an entire production facility. Not just by destroying plant, but by killing the skilled artificers who operated it.

        The insistence on single (state-run) factories for small arms today is based on neither economics or military strategy. It is purely to ensure that only the government has access to the product(s), not the populace.

        When dealing with weapon production, never forget to factor in strategic force projection and/or politics.



        • I’m very well aware why they adopted the decentralised production along with everybody else in war, germans and russkies (but not in US),
          however turning bolts in one place, to be shipped to next village to former pigpen with milling machine, as it was done (historic fact on photos) would be today laughably inefficent.
          But I think wasted potential is in that no country has any contingency plans on what to produce immediately and where (maybe they had during the cold war, in Us there were production lines, for example for 20mm ammo, that were mothballed and waited to be restarted if new war breaks out). You would need to have a number of commercial metalworking companies with assigned products that they could make asap; of course derailing factory to different serial product is no small task, thats why soviets choose rather to dismantle and relocate factories and assemble the proper lines, than produce quickly locally in one place until it was overrun or bombed and thus lost to them forever.

    • Short-recoil SMG? How about Furrer MP41-44? The system certainly worked without malfunctions, so it was successful in being a viable product, but it was overly expensive because it was complicated to manufacture, so it was not economically successful when the Swiss Army selected other weapons of the same class.

      • “(…)certainly worked without malfunctions(…)”
        It did not. In fact Swiss detected mismatch between this sub-machine gun and their current 9×19 mm loading:
        There were problems with using generic 9mm Parabellum rounds, in that they sometimes did not create enough recoil to effectively work the toggle-lock system.
        They decided to fix it, by introducing high-pressure 9×19 mm loading, which did worked, but lead to situation when there were two geometric-wise identical cartridge (“normal” and “high-pressure”) with one which shall not never be used in automatic pistol designed for weaker one. After effect was that:
        The international organization SAAMI recommends gun designers test weapons at 30% above the expected chamber pressure, but for decades after WWII the Swiss army proofed 9mm handguns at 50% above because of the “poisoned” 9mm stockpile.
        Successfully there was Adolf Furrer leverage at decision-maker, rather than his design.

  8. Unusual magazines … what about the helical magazines marketed by Calico (USA) and a few Russian prototypes?
    Yes, I know helical magazines have not sold in large numbers.

  9. If the term “carbine” itself signified a reduced-cartridge version of a larger caliber rifle, the phrase “pistol-caliber carbine” wouldn’t exist. PCCs are indeed designed to be short, light, and handy, generally with the minimum legal length rifle barrel (possibly with 1/4″-1/2″ extra margin) or even shorter, as in the case of a braced pistol. If for some dumb reason they built a 22-26″ barrel 9mm AR, it would not of course be a “carbine”. Note as well the examples of the Ruger and Marlin carbines, which are (light, handy) original designs rather than reduced-cartridge versions of existing largebore rifles.

    Bullpup SMGs: the point of a bullpup isn’t to get a “long barrel”, but to make a compact shoulder arm by dispensing with 9-12″ of dead material originally intended to get a flashpan out of a gunner’s face. There aren’t many new SMGs anyway (for reasons Ian’s discussed elsewhere), but of those quite a few are bullpups (those noted plus QBZ, Tavor, etc.). Given the fact that a 9mm doesn’t require a long barrel, I would contend that any user bound neither by the NFA nor the need to conceal would be better off with a 15-18″ carbine / SMG than any conventional handgun.

    Ruger 57: Pointless; regardless of one’s thoughts on SCHV, .22TCM offers better velocity / KE than 5.7 while also fitting into conventional .38 Super or 9mm (9R) magazines / pistols that don’t require fence-slat grips.

    Recoil SMGs: Mauser Schnellfeuer / copies.

    • I believe the point of the Ruger 57 is marketing a 5.7 x 28mm pistol that costs a lot less than an FN Five-Seven.

      This doesn’t change the fact that generally, a civilian who does not have legal access to AP ammunition in that caliber will find that there isn’t much you can do with any 5.7mm self-loading pistol that you can’t do as well or better with a Kel-Tec PMR-30 pistol in .22 WMR with a 30-shot magazine. Not to mention that both the pistol and ammunition are a lot cheaper.



      • I understand Ruger’s objective, and it’s a (somewhat) sound one: I’d certainly take their 5.7 over the double-price FN version. It’s just that I’d prefer the (better in every way) .22 TCM over either, and wish it got more attention. The only advantage 5.7 has is the amazing P90 mag (which I initially assumed would be awful because of all the “gymnastics” it imposes on the cartridge, but which turned out to be superbly reliable) – and yet the sole competing product that accepted the mag died out, and competitors keep trying instead with the .44Mag-length pistol mags.

        All that said, the oft-repeated .22Mag analogy is an unfair one. Yes, the Five seveN HANDGUN delivers the velocity of the WMR fired from a 2′ barrel RIFLE – but then again, so would 5.56 NATO fired from the same-length barrel!

        • “(…).22 TCM(…)”
          Note that this cartridge has greater maximal diameter than 5,7×28, meaning that same-size magazine would hold greater number of 5,7×28 cartridges.
          Generally it seems that popularity of smaller-caliber drop-in replacement for 9×19 mm cartridge is low. There existed 6,5 mm cartridge for CBJ-MS PDW
          which was touted as offering easy way of converting 9×19 mm guns for it, but it did not attracted buyers.

          • True, and germane in the case of the excellent P90 mag as I mentioned earlier. On the other hand:
            -The difference is small.
            -There are higher capacity (proven reliable, and still reasonable-size) magazines for the Glock 9mm (convertible to .22 TCM) than for either the FN or Ruger 5.7 handguns.
            -The volume of a given loadout of the slightly fatter, but significantly shorter, .22TCM9R cartridges in Glock mags compares equally or better to 5.7 in 20 or 50rd FN magazines.

        • I think the analogy is perfectly adequate. Most figures for the wowie-zowie MV of the 5.7 are taken from the FN P90 barrel, not that of the pistol. In a pistol length barrel with equivalent bullet weights, there isn’t much difference between the two. Other than the 5.7 round being noted for throwing still-burning powder out the muzzle to flare, which looks impressive but does nothing for MV.

          And let’s face it; very few civilians will ever have access to P90s, anywhere.

          The 5.7 x 28mm might be a viable idea as a replacement for a pistol round in a specifically-designed military PDW, superseding an SMG and to a lesser extent a carbine like the M4.

          In an actual handgun, the rationale for it is dubious at best.



          • The Five seveN launches 40gr bullets at ~1700fps, offering 1.7x the KE of .22WMR at 1300 from the same length barrel; the difference is similar for other weights. The fact that the rimfire can equal that from a rifle is apples and oranges. The P90 is faster than the pistol, and – while private citizens can’t own them – it’s legal to own the (even faster) 16″ barrel PS90.

            All that said, I completely agree with your final conclusion. As noted earlier, I’d go a step further and say that (outside CCW) the rationale for ANY conventional handgun as a primary weapon is dubious.

    • “Bullpup SMGs: (…)”
      What should be not overlooked is cartridge overall length. Sub-machine guns generally fire cartridge designed for automatic pistol i.e. with overall-length allowing creating box magazine of dimensions allowing comfortable placing in inside grip.
      This allowed 20th century sub-machine guns designer to place magazine inside grip without compromising ergonomics, see for example Uzi or vz. 48
      Intermediate cartridges are generally too long to fit in such manner, there were some attempts, for example Interdynamics MKS https://modernfirearms.net/en/assault-rifles/sweden-assault-rifles/interdynamics-mks-eng/
      but never yielded great commercial success.
      Thus already widely adopted “Uzi”-layout sub-machine gun offer better barrel length-to-overall length ratio than classic automatic rifles with magazine well forward of trigger.

      • Very true, and all the more reason to question the present trendy fixation on AR-layout 9mms. An absurd example is the B&T APC-9’s recent military contract, when the same company makes a much more compact and intuitive-loading MP9 version of the Steyr TMP (another example of a short-recoil SMG not mentioned earlier).

        It is also worth repeating (as I noted under the Boberg FW review) that “traditional”-layout autopistols (1911s, Makarovs, Glocks; but not C96s) are bullpup mechanisms (trigger forward of the magazine and FCG behind, necessitating a linkage), even though the mag is in rather than behind the grip. Open-bolt Uzis and MACs aren’t because their sears catch the bolt forward of the grip, but their closed-bolt clones are.

        • With bullpup it is well known what does that mean; magazine BEHIND (not in) the grip – there is absolutely no reason to muddy the waters with new,unnecessary, very creative explanations.

          • All the top (fairly diverse) search results define it as “action [sometimes “and magazine”] behind the trigger”.

            The location of the magazine relative to the grip (an inert chunk of wood or plastic) is mechanically irrelevant, especially when you consider that the mag can be on the top or side; and that there are conventionally stocked bullpups with no distinct grip at all. From an engineering point of view, it is the separation of the trigger in front of the rest of the FCG that requires the use of a linkage.

      • Was this MKS open-bolt ? I’m looking at the diagram, but cannot decipher how is the firing pin actuated…

        Ian reviewed small south african shotgun Mag 7 that also has unpleasantly thick grip, maybe even worse than MKS.

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