We’ve had this particular gun listed as unidentified for quite a long time, and had people suggest pretty much everything you can imagine to explain its origins:

Hyde quick change barrel carbineWell, thanks to a private collector we visited, we now know what it is. The gentleman had a pile of WWII-era Aberdeen Proving Ground photos which include several shots of this particular gun, including the label information. The gun is a .30 carbine submachine gun invented by George Hyde, and it was photographed by Aberdeen on May 8th, 1944. The gun is particularly interesting for its use of a quick-change barrel mechanism obviously copied off the German MG42:


Quick-change barrel on Hyde's 1944 carbine
Quick-change barrel on Hyde’s 1944 carbine

That’s a totally obvious copy of the MG42 (which had only been around for a couple years), but one really has to wonder why a quick-change barrel would be necessary on a submachine gun. It neat to look at, sure, but how could Hyde conceivably justify the extra manufacturing cost in 1944?

George Hyde is not a well recognized name, but was very active and involved in the American war effort. He was designing submachine guns at least back to 1933, and one of his guns (the Bendix-Hyde carbine) was entered in the Light Rifle trials which would eventually lead to the M1 Carbine.He also had a hand in the development of the Liberator pistol, designed the M2 submachine gun that was briefly adopted as a substitute standard, and designed (in cooperation with Inland’s Frederick W. Sampson) the M3 “Grease Gun” that replaced the Thompson in US military service. Quite the prolific designer! Unfortunately, no known examples of this gun remain in existence.


Aberdeen Proving Ground photos of the gun, dated May 1944 (download the gallery as a high-res archive)


  1. Interesting. Its a sheet metal M1A1 Thompson SMG, chambered in .30 carbine, with an MG-42 quick-change barrel. For the life of me, I can’t see the intended purpose of this weapon. Too much stuff for an SMG, and too light of ammo for a LMG.

    It seems like more of a thought experiment than anything truly practical.

  2. Looks strongly like an early attempt to copy the STGW 44, at least in function. Lots of stamped parts, light cartridge but large enough to allow accurate and controllable select fire (at least it seems to have a selector switch). The .30 carbine round is a bit weak for the application, but it was in the pipeline.

    • I think that just might be convergent thinking in war but the barrel change is totally mg42. At least that is what I think I could be totally wrong it happens to the best of us sometimes

  3. Oh I see a lot of potential in this weapon design! Easy to clean and maintain, but that 30 carbine caliber has to go! I’d much rather see something like this in 6.5 caliber in a rifle cartridge, and 6.5 Grendel for a SMG.

    This SMG/rifle would be extremely easy to produce, cheap and reliable. I own a Johnson Rifle and I cannot praise it’s superior design enough over that brick that Garand designed, the M1. This rifle/SMG is along the lines of the Johnson in innovation, but much simpler.

    It would be easy to produce a carbine/short barrel version of this system, which is why it has merit. An infantry weapon must be simple to clean, operate, and have mil spec parts for field repairs. This one looks like it can meet all of those criteria.

  4. Seems to me like an experimental concept at an assault carbine much like the role of the m2 carbine, but also for use as a suppressive squad gun with light ammo for easy carry hence the need for a quick change barrel when that role is applied. In a nutshell a BAR in a smaller package

  5. Reminds me of the TRW Low Maintenance Rifle of the sixties, which was quite a neat gun! It also cost less than $40.00 each at the time, IIRC.

  6. I like the lines of this, it’s a unique looking piece. I can’t understand the concept for this design. It looks similar in length to the FN FAL, and firing a much less powerful and accurate round, I can’t see the justification of it. It makes the Thompson look like a compact!

    Seems that it would be much too heavy and long for effective CQB, considering there were many lighter, compact and practical designs in production, it also seems a somewhat illogical design.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I love it!

  7. Bendix Hyde Carbine
    The Hyde Carbine was a light rifle concept made by Hyde-Inland. The weapon was similar to that of a Thompson SMG but gas operated. Although it performed well, It was too expensive and overengineered for its type for mass production at the time. However, the second model which became the M1 Carbine was accepted for US Service
    Barrel 15,75″
    Lenght 33,6″
    Weight 5,8 lbs
    Rounds 20

  8. It was designed as a replacement for the Thompson. It would have been a much better weapon (skipping the interchangable barrel). It would have outgunned any submachine gun of WW2… and practically any submachine gun since.
    .30 Carbine is about perfect for a submachine gun round: flatter trajectory, better range and penetration, lighter weight…and you can stack more of them into a magazine of the same length.
    The Army went with the M3 “grease gun” instead. Bad choice.

  9. If it was chambered in the 7.92x33mm round, used lever delayed blowback, fired from closed bolt, this rifle would have made it.

  10. The quick change barrel may have been as a result of the Finland experience against the Russians where they used the Suomi SMG like a machine gun to mow down attacking Russians.
    One man firing others loading and passing mags changing the Suomi over when the barrel became too hot.

  11. As far as I can see, the thing was direct blowback operated. That would still work with the parallel-sided .30 carbine cartridge, which operated at no more than 40.000 CUP. It deninitely rules out anything more powerful though. The quick-change barrel is odd.

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