Recently I reviewed the American ww2 Thompson M1A1 and the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine, a couple of really nice replica guns, but to make sure I’m not favouring one side or another, time to take a look at the other side so to speak, because the Germans were more than well armed, and Umarex have got this nicely covered off too. Time to take a look at the MP40 I have covered this off many years ago, but I think a revisit is well worth it (certainly after looking back at the young pup filming it in the dark.)
So let’s pull out a couple of cracking replicas and do them some justice shall we.
Let’s start with the MP40 legacy.
Time for a brief history lesson....
The MP40 Machine Pistol 40 Or Macschinenpistole veirzig. Designed in 1938 by Heinrich Vollmer with inspiration from the MP38 which was a development and simplification of the MP36. The main focus on the development of the MP40 from it predecessors was simplification, to aid mass production, by using stamped and folded steel rather than machined parts. It was often referred to as the Schmeisser by the allies after the weapon designer Hugo Schmeisser, but he developed the MP18 and had nothing to do with the MP40, he did however hold the patent on the box magazine that was used in the MP40.
Fully automatic was the only option and no single shot choice. But, the relatively low rate of fire meant, with careful trigger control, it was possible to fire off single rounds. The original had no safety to speak of and relied upon the bolt being locked into one of two cut outs. Forwards locked it into the uncocked position. Rear wards locked it into the cocked position.
The original weighed 3.97kg or 8.75 lbs. It was 833 mm or 32.8” with the stock extended or 630 mm or 24.8” with the stock folded, and of course it was still fully functional with the skeleton stock folded away. There was an issue with the stock not being sufficiently strong to take too much heavy abuse though.
It was 9mm and used 9x19mm parabellum rounds. Being pretty much pistol ammunition fed, it had a maximum range of about 250m with effective firing ranges of 100-200m depending on which rear sight setting you were using. The box magazine was a 32 round item, but was susceptible to jamming and misfiring, because the double column, duel feed system was prone to dust and debris affecting the action. Holding the magazine in use could also misalign the rounds. So operators were taught to hold the magazine housing or the Bakelite stock behind the magazine to avoid the issue. Holding the barrel wasn’t a good idea, because it would get hot in use and result in burns.
There were about 1.1 million made in the various variants, and in spite of being produced between 1940 and 1945 it was still being found in use for many years after in various theatres of war. It was even being used by the Norwegian Territorials up until 1990.
The majority of the german forces were issued with the K98 rifles, but the MP40 found its way into the close quarter situations increasingly and in some cases was issued to entire assault platoons.
A real classic.
Let’s take a walk around then of this Umarex MP German legacy version, there is of course the standard version which doesn’t have that weathered battle field look to it.
Sizes first, this weighs in at a little over 3.5kg or 7.7 lbs and has an open length of 830mm or just over 32.5inches, and closed stock length of 620mm or just under 24.5 inches. These dimensions are so close to the original. It is folded metal as was the original and has that Bakelite body.
The front sight is a closed post type and is fixed. Moving back we have the barrel with its odd shape piece on the underside which was added to be able to rest the gun when shooting from vehicles, such as the half track, without damaging the gun. Then we come to the hook for fitting a strap to which mates up with the counterpart to the rear of the gun. Which helped in the carrying and also gave stability when shooting from the hip i suppose. Then we come to the main body and the stick magazine which holds the BBs and the Co2, but we’ll look at that a little later.
Moving further back still is the big mag release button. Then we come to the main body which has a Bakelite style material just like the original above which is the bolt, with markings for those two positions of safety on the original, sadly this isn’t operational and has a separate safety on the underside, which is big and functional and stiff enough. When i say stiff enough, I mean it takes a little force and is not likely to be able to operated by little hands and fingers, which means this is safer in the family situation. Just in-front of this safety is the circular knob that would unscrew and allow it to be stripped in the field, sadly this is non functional on this one.
Along the top is the rear sights which has that two position flip up sight for approx 100 m and 200m ranges. We then have that skeleton stock which swings into action by depressing the large button on the rear, it swings all the way back and then the butt piece opens up to give it its full length. The grip on the underside is a pistol grip. The trigger is a single action and has a pull weight of around. 4.5lbs. Unlike the original, this, the uk version, is semi auto single shot only, so its down to some fast trigger work. It is blowback and has a great feel to it, again adding too the overall experience.
Let’s take a look at that magazine now shall we.
It takes two 12g co2’s which are loaded face first on the first one and bottom first on the second. Then tighten up with the supplied hex key. As usual you can simply pop in 1 full one and 1 empty one if your not going to be doing a lot of shooting, but why you wouldn’t fill her up to the 50 bb capacity and just keep blasting away until your finger aches I can’t understand. Yes i said 50 rounds, which are loaded in the usual way by pulling down on the spring, dropping them in through the cut out and then release the spring, drop the magazine in and let the fun begin. I’ve often wondered why pellets are sold in tins of 500 and bbs sold in pots of 1500, well its because of tools like this, your going to need loads..
Lets check on the power levels, because it would be rude not to.
This was shot with Umarex 5.35 grain steel bb’s and saw a maximum of 498 fps which equates to just under 3 ft-lbs or 4.1 joules. No surprise, it isn’t a rat rearranger its a plinker and a collectors gun. And in this the battle type finish, it looks like it was picked up off the front line, in Bastone or the like. If you prefer your guns to look new, then there is the basic black version, which looks terrific in all its “newness” if there is such a word.
Can you hit anything with it? Let’s take a look shall we. Out at around 10-15 metres shooting freehand, good enough, but what about that plinking target work.. That’s better, that’s what its all about, and great fun too. No German Helmet for this video I’m afraid, but that doesn’t mean i wont get one in future.
Price wise? I think the basic black costs around £295 uk and the legacy version in its battle worn attire comes in at around £325 uk. They currently have both in at Vector-Air who kindly loaned these two to me to review.
I know these have been out for a while, but I couldn’t resist a revisit and weather they are new out or not, they are pretty timeless with a very big place in history. You know i was always a straight forward Rifle airgunner for many years, but when you eventually give in to it and try some of these historic replicas you appreciate the history behind them and really enjoy using and owning these things, and they are so well made. I know I’ve said it before, but the R&D guys at Umarex do a pretty good job when it comes to the legacy range.
Again, I’ve enjoyed this week, I feel I’m in quite a privileged position to get involved with these guns. I will be sneaking some more out as soon as i can.
That’s it I’m off, i’ll be back next week as always, hope to see you then. Until then stay safe and shoot safe. Thanks for reading.
Watch the review here: