Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bostodelphia 21 Gun Salute to the Firearms of 2007 #16: M3 Grease Gun

The M3 submachine gun, a.k.a. the "Grease Gun" for its resemblance to, well, a grease gun, was not in the news in 2007. Are we stretching a bit here? Perhaps, but 50 years ago in 1957 it was retired from US service, and we here at Bostodelphia like things that are evenly divisible by 10. Granted the gun was used into the '90's inside of cramped vehicles, but work with me here.

This gun was meant to be a cheap replacement for the popular (and expensive) Thompson submachinegun. Like the Thompson, it fires the 0.45 ACP pistol round. Gun forum poster brianh notes:

The M3 is truly an iconic American machinegun, but the truth is that there was very little that could be maintained on them (the were made so cheaply and simply) that when the broke the were simply scrapped rather than fixed. I once talked to a guy who was one of the original Delta Force Iranian hostage rescue team members. They used a lot of M3s and 1911s because Beckwith wanted them to carry machineguns and pistols that shared the same cartridge. He commented that they went through a LOT of M3s in training as they went through their "dump and run" drills (shoot the M3 until it's dry, toss the thing on the ground in front of you, draw your pistol and finish the fight). Rather than fix them they just requesitioned replacements. Why spend money to fix a gun that cost all of $12 to make in the first place?

However that cheapness came at a cost, since the gun never matched the popularity of the Thompson with US troops in either theatre of WWII. Finally, here's a video of it in action:

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