Swedish K: The Carl Gustav m/45B and the Port Said

During the 1930s, Sweden acquired an assortment of different submachine guns, including Bergmanns, Thompsons, and Suomis. As World War Two progressed, they decided that they really needed to standardize on a single caliber and model of gun, and requested designs from both the Carl Gustav factory and Husqvarna. The Carl Gustav design won out, and was adopted as the m/45.

It was a very simple open-bolt, tube-receiver, fixed-firing-pin design chambered for 9x19mm Parabellum ammunition. The original guns were built around Finnish Suomi magazines, both 71-round drums and 50-round “coffin” mags. After the war these were replace by a new 36-round traditional box magazine, and magazine well adapters were fitted to the guns which precluded the use of the larger mags. The new magazines were much more convenient to carry, less expensive, and more reliable. The name “Swedish K” comes form the full designation: Kulsprutepistol m/45.

The guns were used by American special operations forces in Vietnam until the Swedish government stopped export sales to the US, at which point the Navy commissioned Smith & Wesson to produce the Model 76 submachine gun (essentially a copy of the m/45). The design was also licensed by Egypt, which also licensed the AG-42 Ljungman rifle at the same time. The Egyptian copy was called the Port Said, and shows the features fo the original Swedish m/45 pattern, where the guns in Swedish service were mostly updated to the m/45B pattern.

Photo of m/45C with bayonet from Gotavapen.se – check them out for a ton of information on Swedish small arms!

42 Comments

  1. It would be interesting to know if the Egyptians actually used the coffin mags or drums. It seems logical that they did, because they retained the capability to use them, but I’ve enough experience of Arabs to realise that this might not be the case and perhaps they simply didn’t want to change a good design.

      • A very long time ago in the United States one could get surplus Egyptian 9×19 mm ammunition. It came in paper packets, blue in color, with precisely 36 cartridges in the package. The primers were very hard.

      • Thank you. 36 rounds it is. Especially if that ammunition was delivered in packets of 36.
        It did cross my mind that taking the magazine well off might allow one to clear a jam or clean the boltface without field-stripping the gun. In a sand-rich environment, you don’t want to take the spring and bolt out of the gun unless you’ve got something clean to put them on, and if it’s a bit blowy, nothing is going to be clean for more than a minute or two. In some parts of the Arab world “sand” takes the form of pinkish talcum powder, but I think Sinai is gritty.
        If you took the magazine well off and put it in a pocket, you might manage a clearance without making matters worse.

      • Having shot Port Saids, I can say that, albeit with a sample set of two, the Egyptians did NOT use Suomi drums.
        If you remove the magwell adapter you can install and shoot(very succesfully) the coffin mags, but the Suomi drums will not seat, and of course will not feed.
        The cutouts on either side of the receiver are not deep enough to allow the drum to seat fully, interfering with the top surface of the drums.
        Some mythbusting for Ian next time he’s visiting Movie Armamament Group.

        • Article in smallarmsreview https://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=3261
          states that:
          …The Carl Gustav design won out, not because it was any cheaper but simply because the Carl Gustav Company was a state owned company. Furthermore, the Hovea equaled or surpassed the accuracy, reliability and durability of the Carl Gustav design named the M45. Both guns looked similar but are quite different. They both utilized the same magazines. Originally, the M45 and the Husquarna M49 were made to use the 50 round soumi 9mm magazine, but only the Hovea could utilize the soumi drum in 40 and 71 round capacity. This was due to the Hovea having a deeper recess in the receiver that would interface a drum magazine. It’s been written in the popular gun press that the Carl Gustav M45 will also take soumi drums- Not so. Only if one spends a day grinding and relocating the rear lug of the drum will it interface with the M45.

          • I was dubious that the drum would feed into the chamber without cutting the frame, being so low in the frame. However, having checked with dummies it appears the at least FMJs will make the long jump from a Suomi drum to the chamber. But unless you were using a piece of wood to file the rear lug it would only take a few minutes to grind the several mm off that would be required, not a day.

            Taking the magwell off needs a punch or tool as the pins, at least on a sample size of two, are hard to remove.
            If you were really jammed you’d probably just unscrew the barrel which is easily done without tools.

        • That’s a helpful comment.
          It doesn’t sound as if the drum was actually a requirement even for the first Swedish model.

          Does taking the mag well off let you get at jams any better? It seems to me that it might, but that’s based entirely on this video rather than being hands on with the gun.

    • The Port Said was built on the old tooling from Sweden used to manufacture the M45B with the removable mag well housing. The 50 round magazine was out of use by the time the Port Said went into production. There was never any intention by the Egyptians to use coffin magazines. They were probably unaware that there was even such a thing as a 50 round magazine for the M45B. I know. That is my Port Said in Ian’s video.

        • It was fun having Ian review some of my inventory. Most of the old guns are rarely used in film productions.It was great to have the opportunity to share some of my stuff with Ian’s followers who have an interest in the subject. Better than having them just sit ignored on the back shelf in the vault.

  2. There are photos of Ernesto Ché Guevara when he was gallivanting about the post-colonial world hefting one of these approvingly during his visit to Nasser’s Egypt.

    The Swedish machinery and tooling allowed for the 7,92x57mm Hakim self-loading rifle, apparently nick-named “Carl Gustaf” by Palestinian fedayeen. The ancient Egyptian war crown/ upper+lower Egypt pharaonic headdress was a nice touch, one must admit.

    Later, Egyptian ordnance officials decided to produce the “Akaba” variant, unmentioned in this video short. The Akaba differed from the Port Saïd in having no barrel jacket, a shorter barrel (I think) and a wire stock much like that of the U.S. M3 grease gun. So much for the sturdy folding stock?

    There used to be–perhaps still is?–a shooting sport akin to High Power matches in Sweden where competitors used Swedish K SMGs. That must have been challenging given the well-known deficiencies of holding steady an open-bolt SMG.

    Have to hand it to the Carl Gustaf engineers: They took a long look at the British Sten, with the knowledge that they’d prefer a folding stock instead of a detachable one, and identified the most salient flaw: the magazine. So they worked up an excellent magazine for what is really pretty-much a Sten variant for the most part, and called it “adequate/good enough.” While I know they don’t work very well, I have to say I love the Suomi “coffin magazine!”

    Question?: Is it not the case that the Husqvarna entrant turned out to be the Danish army’s m/49 Hovea SMG? If so, the two were apparently pretty evenly matched, no?

    Having re-watched “I am Legend” back to back with Charlton Heston’s “Omega Man” I gotta say I’d be tempted to adopt his costume for any test-firing of the S&W M76!

  3. No one in Sweden ever called it “kulsprutepistol” apart from manuals. It’s a “K-pist”, it is more likely the source for the name Swedish K. To increase the rate of fire, soldiers fit a D-cell battery behind the spring.
    A red tab fixing the bolt was used for guard duty. One had to first pull the tab as an extra safety before being able to fire it.
    Technical staff used “K-pist” well into the 1990’s.
    The replacement in many cases was Glock 17 or 19.

    • ‘Muricans really love childish dumbing down of the foreign names that they are too lazy to pronounce, but that speaks more of them than foreign items.

  4. The movie “The Siege of Jadotville” set in 1961 shows an Irish (Republic of Ireland)
    UN force using these or a derivative of them. It’s an interesting movie for weapon spotters.

      • I’d better add that there are a number of reasons why the Irish use of the Carl Gustav is not more widely recognised:

        Firstly, the Irish Republic’s constitution declares that the state will be neutral (although Irish troops do take part in UN missions and the Irish state made its state owned airports available for refuelling of planes involved in the CIA abductions euphemistically called “renditions”).

        The Republic also has an extremely small population (about 4 million),

        and,

        thanks to a disastrous system of state intervention between 1916 and the 1990s the Republic also had an economy that tended to shrink rather than grow. Again, the constitution says that the state will intervene [to stop the market from working]. So Ireland tended not to be a place that people went to visit or to live

        There were exceptions to that last one; most notably Adolf Hitler’s older brother, who had a proper job, in one of the hotels in Dublin.

        And the former agent “Snow”, the first of Hitler’s spies in Britain not to be shot when he was caught. – he was kept to feed false info back to his handlers. After the war, he went into exile in Ireland, where British agents couldn’t operate.

        • Given the Irish experience with markets “working” under British rulers during the purest era of laissez-faire politics – i.e., the people starved during the Potato Famine, while the landlords continued food exports, until a million were dead (millions more fled during English rule, population falling from 8,000,000 to 4,000,000) – I think I can see why they wrote their constitution that way.

          Note, the earliest English capitalist theorists previously heaped slander upon the Irish peasants for daring to feed themselves by doing so little work, a right Englishmen had already stolen from their own poor by enclosure of the commons. Swift satirized this cold-blooded hatred in “A Modest Proposal”, now you know the rest of the story.

          • @Super390
            “Note, the earliest English capitalist theorists previously heaped slander upon the Irish peasants for daring to feed themselves by doing so little work”

            Who was the author and which was the work?

            Swift’s satirical “A modest proposal for preventing the children of Ireland from…” was published 1729

            The period of population decline began over 100 years later, with potato blight 1845-1849.

            There was No free trade in cereals into or out of Britain (including Ireland) between 1815 and 1846 – how then could the potato famine and population decline be due to a free market working?

            Feel free to correct the Wikipedia article, which tells basically the same story of economic decline 1922 to 1990 and population leaving to seek better opportunities https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_the_Republic_of_Ireland

            What it does not give is the scale of that decline from the 24 counties being one of the top ten economies in the world in their own right

            And declining to around fortieth or fiftieth

      • Wonderful photo I remember taken in Erie before they deployed to the Congo of an Irish soldier with a Gustav. The rest of his kit looks like he just returned from the Somme. If you goggle Irish Army photos you can find shots of them loading on USAF Globemasters in their wool tunics and service caps. Shades of the British Army deploying to India for the first Afghan war in their heavy wool uniforms.

  5. So the Swedes were clutching their pearls because their military export firearm was being (gasp) used in actual FIGHTING?

    • Some nations have the equivalent of “end user” requirements. It is why Heckler und Koch will only sell to European and/or OECD countries now as opposed to, say, El Salvador in the 1970s and 1980s, etc.

      Swedish Social Democrat politicians opposed the U.S. war in Vietnam. Hence the objection to a Swedish-made gun being used there. Swedish social democrats similarly supported the ANC in South Africa during apartheid at the time Reagan supported “constructive engagement” with SADF and the white nationalist state. As an ostensibly neutral and independent nation, the nation has its own foreign policy of which arms transfers and sales are a part. Doubtless a Swede will be along shortly to explain how and why the AK-5 was derived from the Belgian FNC 5.56mm rifle when a copy of the Israeli Galil was once tested as eventual replacement for the AK-4 / G-3 copy.

  6. Not in fighting, but in war. Swedish export laws.
    They actually used old 1896 Mausers in 6.5×55 for almost 100 years. Last 20 years for National guards.
    m/96 was replaced by H&K G3, and later FN FNC.

  7. Two little points:

    I always thought that this was the gun the Charlton Heston character uses in the Omega Man. Looking at it again it turns out it was a S&W M76; which makes much more sense. I always wondered how a Swedish gun was chosen for a post apocalypse America film

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=84&v=NUkU18MrBzU&feature=emb_title

    If you want to find Ian’s review of the M76 you have to look it up as S&W 76. M76 will not find it.

  8. They are nice, aren’t they?

    Ignore the Keenie-meenie SEAL/MACV-SOG connection, which can distract through assumed coolness.

    Not a single novel feature, beyond perhaps the really good magazine. But not better or much better than, say, Beretta 38 or Patchett/Sterling magazines. Which predate it.

    Just a really well-made improved open-bolt blowback tube gun, with some nice features, like the sights. Anyone sensible would take it over a Sten, MP40, etc.

    The carry over of late MP40/Mk5 Sten safety arrangement disappoint. Surely CG could have improved on them? The one thing I don’t like. The roughly contemporary Uzi and Sterling have much better safety arrangements.

    The D model had the smaller pistol grip that Ian wanted.

  9. What about the “windage adjustment” on the front sight?
    To be honest, the only similar arrangement that comes to my mind is that on the “last ditch” Röchling / August Coenders rifle designs put forward in very late 1944/ early 1945 for the prospect of arming the last ditch Nazi party militia, the Volkssturm… Signts seem like such a specialized genre or niche of firearm design, I frankly don’t know where such a system was used first? Perhaps someone knows?

  10. Up to at least the late 1970’s S&W was trying to sell left over clones to the US police market. Do not think they sold many, in an age when revolvers and pump shotguns were the norm. But they did not seem to know what else to do with the left overs after Vietnam.

  11. Sinai dust is real dust. Very thin, wading literally everywhere.
    And what works in the Sinai desert will work even on the Moon.
    And the Egyptian heir (this is no longer a copy and not a replica, too significant differences), although inferior to the original, is not critical.

    By the way, “primers were very hard” and “D-cell battery behind the spring” have a direct relationship. Original Swedish cartridges (respectively, weapons for them) have noticeably more power than the standard 9×19.

  12. When bought by the Irish Army the requirement was for a SMG to have a bayonet mount on the barrel, so the Model C was purchased. Unfortunately the purchase did not include the bayonet. The standard Swedish bayonet then used was a 14 inch one, and with scabbard they cost not quite 17 USD, whilst the 1959 cost of the SMG was 31 USD. So with some lateral thinking the bayonet of the No 4 Rifle the No 9 Bayonet (Google The British No. 9 Bayonet & Foreign Copies) which replaced the extremely effective Bayonet No 4 Mk 1 and 2, that were removed from UK service due to complaints that the spike bayonet was against the Rules of War as laid down by the Hague Agreement. The Irish Army had received a substantial number of No 4 Rifles from the UK, 5,000 of which were placed into long term war stocks and never ever used (their complex story as they wandered the world being sold on and sold on is worthy of a book, part of it is told at https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=52400). So the No (bayonets and with a minimum of work by Army Workshops in the Curragh, fitted the K. These were used in the Congo, Cyprus, Egypt and the Lebanon. For some bizarre reason a small number of standard Swedish Bayonets were purchased for the Officer Cadet College in the Curragh, with a photo of the Cadets using the combo for a military funeral in DUGGAN John P. A History of the Irish Army. Gill & MacMillan, Dublin, 1991, 2nd revised edition.

  13. The K-pist was my weapon during my Swedish military service. Excellent weapon, accurate (despite open bolt) and never failed. There were/are national target competitions (100 m) for this weapon. One thing to remember is that the ammunition to be used for this sub machine gun is 39/B which is way more powerful than what is used in videos on youtube. 39/B was upgraded from the poor performing 39/ as a result of the Congo crisis. The experience with anything else than 39/B will not be what was originally intended.

Leave a Reply to Stiven Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*