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Top 10 Submachine Guns

 

   Which is the best submachine gun in the world? Which is the best modern submachine gun and why? Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of accuracy, reliability, range, penetration, magazine capacity, production numbers, number of users, and some other features.

   This list includes only modern submachine guns, that are currently in service. It does not includes prototypes that are not yet in production, or obsolete weapons, that are no longer used.

   Currently top 10 submachine guns in the world are these:

 

 

Top Submachine Guns

Nr.1 Heckler & Koch MP5 (Germany)

 

   The MP5 submachine gun was developed by Heckler & Koch company in the early 1960s. It proved to be a highly successful design. In 1966 it was adopted by West German police, border guard and special forces. It proved to be an extremely successful design. Despite its age and the advent of new submachine guns and improvements in technology, the MP5 is in service with nearly 90 countries, including Germany. Its production still continues. This weapon is license-produced in Greece, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The Heckler & Koch MP5 is one of the most famous firearms of this class. Its only rival in terms of proliferation is the Israeli Uzi submachine gun.

   The MP5 is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for a standard 9x19 mm Parabellum ammunition. However this submachine gun is unusual because it fires from a closed bolt and has a roller-delay blowback mechanism, similar to that of the Heckler & Koch G3 automatic rifle. It makes this weapon extremely accurate. This submachine gun can be seen as a scaled-down and rechambered version of the G3. The MP5 is a high-quality, reliable and accurate weapon.

   Trigger units of the HK MP5 are available with various fire mode options, including semi-auto, full-auto and various burst modes. Modern versions have ambidextrous fire mode controls, mounted on either side of the receiver. Cocking handle is mounted at the front of the receiver, on the left side.

   First production models of the MP5 were fed from a straight box-shaped magazine. In 1977 a curved magazine was introduced. It has 15- or 30-rounds capacity. This SMG is also compatible with 100-round drum magazines.

   Sights of this submachine gun are similar to other Heckler & Koch weapon models and consist of front post and rear diopter. Red-dot, optical or night sights can be mounted on a quick-detachable clamp. Effective range of fire is up to 100 meters.

   A number of improvements were made to this SMG over time.

 

 

Top 10 submachine guns

Nr.2 Uzi (Israel)

 

   The Uzi Submachine Gun (SMG) was designed by Uziel Gal, an Israel's army lieutenant, in 1949. This weapon is named in honor to its designer. It was officially adopted in 1951 and was first introduced to Israel's army special forces in 1954. Two years later it became the standard issue submachine gun with the Israel Defense Force. Weapon was selected by Israel's army due to its simplicity and ease of production. The Uzi proved to be an extremely successful design. It was so successful, that eventually it had been adopted by more than 90 countries worldwide either for military use or law enforcement forces. Currently it is still used by around 70 countries from all over the world. Improved versions of this weapon are still produced in Israel. The Uzi was license-produced in Belgium and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Unlicensed copied have been produced in China and Croatia. Also there are numerous clones of this successful weapon.

   The Uzi is simple in design and technology. It is made primarily from stamped sheet metal. Also it has relatively few mowing parts. It is an open bolt, blowback operated submachine gun. It is chambered for a Standard 9x19 mm Parabellum round.

   This submachine gun is fitted with a manual safety switch, which is also a fire mode selector. It has a semi-auto and full-auto modes. There is additional automatic grip safety button. The weapon will not fire until both safeties are disengaged. These features reduce the chance of accidental firing.

   The weapon is simple to use and to maintain. This submachine gun can be easily field stripped for maintenance and repairs. The Uzi proved to be a reliable weapon, though can still jam if not cleaned regularly.

   Magazine is housed in the pistol grip. This feature makes the weapon shorter and reloading becomes more intuitive. This design feature was borrowed from British MCEM-2 experimental submachine gun, or Czechoslovak Sa vz.23 submachine gun. The Uzi is fed from 25-, 32-, 40-, or 50-round box-shaped magazines.

   Early production models had a detachable wooden stock. On later production models a collapsible metal stock was fitted as standard.

   Downside of the Uzi is its limited range and accuracy, especially in full-auto mode.

 

 

Top 10 Best Submachine Guns

Nr.3 FN P90 (Belgium)

 

   The P90 is not a typical submachine gun. It was developed in Belgium by Fabrique Nationale (FN) in the late 1980s. It was chambered for entirely new ammunition and intended as a personal defense weapon for non-frontline troops, vehicle drivers, tank and artillery crews. The FN P90 was introduced in the early 1990s. At the time of its introduction it was considered as a new generation weapon. It was the first personal defense weapon and in terms of dimensions, weight and firepower took intermediate position between submachine guns and assault rifles. The P90 was so successful, that it is currently in service with nearly 50 countries, where it is used by military and law enforcement forces.

   The FN P90 is a clean sheet design with a number of unusual features. It is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon with a  bullpup layout, which fires from closed bolt. It is chambered for a newly-developed 5.7x28 mm ammunition with sharp nose bullets. This round has enhanced penetration comparing with the standard 9x19 mm Parabellum round and is effective against body armor at ranges of 100 m and beyond. It resembles a scaled-down standard NATO 5.56x45 mm rifle round. Eventually the P90 has significantly improved range and penetration comparing with standard submachine guns.

   The FN P90 has minimal size and weight. Its furniture is made of impact-resistant polymer. This submachine gun is easy to use and maintain. It has low recoil and can be easily controlled with one hand.

   Due to its compact dimensions, range, penetration and high magazine capacity, the FN P90 is often used for the role, directly opposite to its original role. This weapon is often used for offensive roles at close ranges. Sometimes it is used as a primary weapon of assault teams.

   The FN P90 is fully ambidextrous. It has charging handles located on either side of the receiver. Spent cases are ejected downwards. A safety switch is located below the trigger.

   The P90 has an unusual magazine, which is located above the barrel. This feature allowed to make weapon as compact as possible. The magazine is made of semi-translucent polymer and holds 50 rounds. It is an impressive capacity for a submachine gun.

   This submachine gun comes with integral non-magnifying red dot-type sight. Backup iron sights are provided. The P90 can contain an integral laser aiming module in its forward handgrip. It sends either visible or infra red laser beam. This weapon has an effective range of 150-200 meters. It penetrates a standard US Army helmet at a range of 150 m.

   The FN P90 SMG is compatible with silencer, which is used in conjunction with special subsonic ammunition.

 

 

Best Submachine Gun

Nr.4 Heckler & Koch MP7 (Germany)

 

   The MP7 submachine gun was developed by the famous Heckler & Koch company of Germany. Originally this weapon was known as the HK PDW or Personal Defense Weapon. It was designed as a competitor for a successful Belgian Belgian FN P90. The German weapon uses new intermediate ammunition. It is intended for non-frontline troops, vehicle drivers, tank and artillery crews, as well as special forces units, VIP protection teams and hostage rescue units. The MP7 was first revealed in 2000. Its production commenced in 2001. Currently it is in service with Germany and more than 20 other countries, including South Korea and the United Kingdom.

   The Heckler & Koch MP7 is a gas operated, selective fire weapon. Its internal design resembles that of the HK G36 assault rifle, but scaled down. Otherwise it has a layout of a typical submachine gun. This SMG is chambered for a new Heckler & Koch 4.6x30 mm high-velocity ammunition. This ammunition is also used by the HK UCP pistol. The 4.6x30 mm round fits the gap between pistol rounds and rifle rounds. It is superior in terms of range and penetration to the standard 9x19 mm Parabellum round, used by most submachine guns.

   The MP7 has dimensions and weight of a typical submachine gun, but at close ranges delivers firepower of an assault rifle. It is claimed that the MP7 penetrates a standard CRISAT body armor at a range of 200 m.

   Many operators use this weapon for offensive, rather than defensive roles. The MP7 is often used for offensive roles by assault teams or special operations forces for close quarter combat. Sometimes it is even used as a primary weapon.

   An ambidextrous safety and fire mode selector switch allows for single shots or full automatic fire. An ambidextrous cocking lever is located at the rear of the receiver and resembles that of the M16 assault rifle. The weapon can be cocked using either hand. However there is only one spent case ejection port on the right side of the receiver, so this weapon is not fully ambidextrous.

   This submachine gun is well balanced and is easy to operate. It can be fired like a pistol, using only one hand. This weapon has a folding forward grip and retractable shoulder stock.

   Magazine is housed inside the pistol grip. It uses 20- or 40-round capacity magazines.

   This personal defense weapon has a standard Picatinny-type scope rail on top of the receiver. It can mount various sights. It comes as standard with flip-up detachable iron sights. However the MP7 is typically seen with various and a red dot sights. Range of effective fire is around 150-200 meters.

   Additional accessory rails can be installed over the foregrip. The MP7 is compatible with a number of accessories, as well as a sound suppressor.

 

 

Submachine Guns

Nr.5 Heckler & Koch UMP (Germany)

 

   The Heckler & Koch UMP submachine gun was designed as a successor to the famous MP5 in the mid-1990s. The main goal was to design a lightweight and powerful SMG, which would be cheaper than the MP5. This weapon was aimed mainly at US law enforcement market. Its production commenced in 1999 and it is still produced. However this weapon could not surpass its predecessor in terms of popularity and proliferation. The UMP is in service with more than 20 countries.

   The HK UMP is a blowback-operated, selective fire weapon, fired from the closed bolt. Its first versions, the UMP-45 and UMP-40 were chambered for .45 ACP and .40 SW ammunition respectively. Later a 9x19 mm version became available (UMP-9). All versions have similar design, apart from the different chambering.

   The UMP can fire in semi-auto, full-auto, 2- or 3-round burst modes. Its fire mode selector is also acts as a safety lock. This fire mode selector is fully ambidextrous. Cocking handle is located at the front of the receiver.

   The HK UMP is available with 25- and 30-round capacity magazines. The UMP-45 is typically fed from 25-round magazines. Other versions are fed from the 30-round ones. It is worth mentioning that the .45 ACP and .40 SW versions use straight magazines, while the 9 mm version comes with curved magazines.

   This SMG comes with adjustable iron sights and also has a scope rail on top of the receiver, which is used to mount various sights. This submachine gun has an effective range of about 100 meters.

   The UMP comes with a side-folding buttstock, which folds to the right side. Weapon can be fired when buttstock is in folded position. Its accessory rail on the foregrip accepts a wide variety of equipment, such as tactical flashlights, vertical grips, laser pointers and so on. A silencer can be attached to the barrel.

 

 

Best Submachine Gun

Nr.6 Beretta PM12 (Italy)

 

   The Beretta PM12 submachine gun was developed during the 1950s. It was first revealed in 1959. Letters PM in the designation stand for "Pistola Mitragliatice", or machine pistol. In 1961 this weapon was adopted by Italian Army, special forces and law enforcement forces. By modern standards this weapon is out-dated. Though it is still used in Italy and some other countries. It is likely that it will remain in service for many years to come. This submachine gun was license-produced in Belgium, Brazil, and Indonesia.

   The PM12 is a compact weapon. Beretta designed this submachine gun, that could be used by foot soldiers, as well as vehicle crews. The Beretta PM12 has a stamped steel construction and a tubular receiver. Both ends of the receiver are blocked by screw-on caps. This weapon has minimum of moving parts. However despite its simplistic appearance this submachine gun was actually expensive to produce.

   The PM12 is a blowback-operated weapon, which fires from an open bolt. This submachine gun is chambered for a standard NATO 9x19 mm Parabellum ammunition. The Beretta PM12 proved to be a robust, comfortable to use and accurate weapon. The weapon is very stable when being fired. Though by modern standards this submachine gun is too heavy.

   The original PM12 had a safety button, located over the pistol grip. A fire mode is changed between "semi-auto" and "full-auto" by pressing another button located above the pistol grip. Such arrangement was quite unusual. There is also an automatic grip safety, which is disengaged only when the shooter grips the weapon. Overall this submachine gun is very safe to use. Both manual and automatic safeties prevent accidental discharges.

   This weapon is fed from 20-, 32-, or 40-round capacity magazines.

   The original PM12 had a side-folding metal stock. Once folded, the metal stock protrudes from the weapon only slightly. Early versions of this weapon were also available with a quick-detachable wooden buttstock.

   This submachine gun has an integral forward grip which improves stability of the weapon during firing.

   This submachine gun has got simple iron sights. Both front and rear sights have protective side walls, that protect from damage and battlefield abuse. The rear flip-up sight has settings for 100 and 200 meters. The PM12 proved to be a highly accurate weapon at close ranges. At ranges over 100 meters this submachine gun can place aimed shots, firing in semi-automatic mode. With the help of add-on accessories the PM12 can mount various sights, such as red dot sights.

   Beretta has produced a number of accessories for the PM12 submachine gun, including a flashlight, encased in the foregrip.

 

 

Most Advanced Submachine Gun

Nr.7 MAC-10 (United States)

 

   The MAC-10 submachine gun was designed by Gordon B. Ingram, an American arms designer. He began to work on this compact weapon in the mid 1960s. This submachine gun was mainly aimed at special operations and law enforcement forces, as well as VIP security teams. By 1965 several prototypes were made. This submachine gun was evaluated by the US Army, however it was not adopted. Production commenced in 1970 by the Military Armament Corporation (MAC). In 1976 the MAC went bust and production rights for this weapon were transferred to RPB Industries Inc. Later this submachine gun was also manufactured by some other companies. Ingram's submachine guns were exported to Chile, Yugoslavia and some other Asian and South American countries. Copies of this weapon were manufactured in Japan, South Africa and Taiwan. Today the MAC-10 is no longer a premier submachine gun. However it is still used by around 15 countries.

   This submachine guns has been designed for close encounters and concealed carrying. It is a blowback-operated, selective fire weapon, that fires from an open bolt. It has some features of the Israeli Uzi. There are two baseline MAC-10 (or M10) models, chambered for 11.43 (.45 ACP) and 9x19 mm Parabellum rounds.

   This weapon is simple in design and technology. Its receiver is made of sheet steel and consists of only two parts. These are held together by a steel pin. Generally the MAC-10 is a reliable weapon.

   Cocking handle is located at the top of the gun. It does not reciprocates when the gun is fired. The weapon can be reloaded with either hand. The cocking handle also acts as a safety, as it locks the bolt in forward position, when turned 90 degrees sideways. When this safety is on, you can not see the front sight, as the sighting line is blocked. Another safety switch is located inside the triggerguard. A separate fire mode selector is located above the triggerguard on the left side of the receiver. It has settings for single shots and full-auto firing.

   The MAC-10 is fed from a box-shaped magazines, inserted in the pistol grip. The .45 ACP model comes with 30-round magazines, while the model chambered for 9x19 mm ammunition is fed from 32-round magazines. This weapon can be fired by holding it with one hand, in the same manner as firing pistols. A leather loop is attached to the front of the weapon. It can be held by a non-firing hand and provides additional stability.

   The MAC-10 has a simple non-adjustable diopter-type sights. Sighting range is set at 100 m. Though effective range of fire is limited to around 50-70 meters. So this weapon lacks range. Also its accuracy suffers as it is uncomfortable to hold the MAC-10 with both hands. However at close ranges it is great for spraying bullets.

   This submachine gun comes with a telescopic steel wire stock. Some of its versions were fitted with detachable wooden buttstocks. This submachine gun is compatible with silencers. Silencers on this weapon are quite efficient. Due to the short barrels of the MAC-10 bullets leave the weapon without generating enough muzzle velocity to cause sonic boom.

 

 

Best Submachine Gun

Nr.8 CZ Scorpion EVO 3 (Czech Republic)

 

   The Scorpion EVO 3 is a submachine gun, developed by Ceska Zbrojovka company. This weapon is referred as Skorpion in the Czech Republic. However for the rest of the world it is marketed as Scorpion. The "EVO 3" denotes that it is a third generation weapon. Though in terms of design this weapon is unrelated to the original Sa vz.61 Skorpion. It is actually based on a Luago prototype submachine gun, developed in Slovakia in around 2002. Design on the Luago was sold to Ceska Zbrojovka company. The Scorpion EVO 3 was first publicly revealed in 2009. This weapon is mainly aimed at law enforcement forces. It has been adopted by armed forces and police of the Czech Republic. The Scorpion EVO 3 has been exported to Argentina, Bolivia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Malta, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia, Thailand, Vietnam, and possibly some other countries.

   The Scorpion EVO 3 is a lightweight and compact submachine gun. It is suitable for concealed carrying and for use inside buildings, vehicles and other narrow spaces.

   It is a blowback operated weapon, which fires from a closed bolt. This weapon is chambered for a standard 9x19 mm Parabellum ammunition. There is also a version chambered for .40S&W ammunition, which is very popular as a police round in the United States. Receiver and many other components of this weapon are made of polymer materials in order to save weight.

   An ambidextrous fire mode selector is located above the pistol grip. It has settings for "safe", "semi-auto", "3-round burst" and "full-auto". There is also a semi-automatic only version of this weapon.

   A charging handle can be installed on either side of the receiver. However spent cases are extracted only to the right side.

   This weapon is fed from 20- or 30-round capacity magazines. The magazines can be made from semi-translucent plastic. It allows to see how many rounds are still left in the magazine. Magazine release switch is located on a triggerguard. Two magazines can be clamped together for faster reloading.

   The Scorpion EVO 3 has got a side-folding stock. It has a telescopic design and can be adjusted for length. The stock can be completely removed from the weapon.

   This weapon has got a standard Picatinny-type scope rail and comes with detachable iron sights. This weapon can mount various red dot sights. Effective range of this weapon is most likely to be up to 100 meters. Though it is claimed that effective range of fire in semi-automatic mode is up to 250 meters.

   Three accessory rails are installed on the foregrip. This submachine gun can mount various tactical accessories, such as grips, tactical flashlights, or laser pointers. This submachine gun can also mount a sound suppressor.

 

 

Modern Submachine Gun

Nr.9 Brugger & Thomet MP9 (Switzerland)

 

   The Brugger & Thomet MP9 submachine gun is a further development of the Austrian Steyr TMP. In 2001 Steyr stopped production of the TMP submachine gun because the lack of sales and sold production licenses to the Swiss arms manufacturer. Swiss arms designers made over 19 engineering changes to the Austrian weapon. Production of the MP9 commenced in 2004. Currently it is in service with Swiss army and law enforcement forces. This submachine gun has been exported to Bulgaria, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, and possibly, some other countries.

   The Brugger & Thomet MP9 is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon, which fires from closed bolt. This submachine gun is chambered for a standard 9x19 mm Parabellum ammunition.The Brugger & Thomet submachine gun is smaller than the German Heckler & Koch MP5 or similar designs, however this SMG offers more controllable fire than automatic pistols. It falls in the same niche as the Mini Uzi and MAC-10. Its compact size and light weight make this weapon suitable for law enforcement teams and special operations units. However it looses to bigger SMGs in terms of range and accuracy.

   The B&T MP9 comes with integral front grip and thus is more controllable during fully automatic firing. This SMG can be fired single-handedly. Housing of this weapon is made from lightweight polymer materials.

   The MP9 has new trigger safety, as well as ambidextrous safety/fire mode selector button, located behind the trigger. An ambidextrous cocking handle is located at the rear of the receiver. It resembles that of the M16 assault rifle. It does not reciprocates when the weapon is fired.

   This submachine gun is fed from 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-round magazines. Magazine receiver is located inside the pistol grip.

   The main improvement of the MP9 over the Steyr TMP is a side-folding stock and integrated Picatinny-type scope rail, which accepts a wide variety of sights and other tactical accessories.

   This SMG also has adjustable iron sights. This weapon has an effective range of about 50 - 100 meters.

   This submachine gun is compatible with silencers.

 

 

List of 10 Best Submachine Guns

Nr.10 FAMAE SAF (Chile)

 

   The SAF is a submachine gun developed in Chile by Fabricas y Maestranzas del Ejercito (FAMAE). The FAMAE is a small state-owned arms factory. Production of this weapon commenced in 1993. It is in service with Chilean armed forces and law enforcement forces. Also it has been exported to some countries, including Portugal.

   The FAMAE SAF is modeled after a popular and highly successful German Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. It is based on FAMAE SG 540 assault rifle, which is a license-produced version of the Swiss SIG SG 540. This assault rifle was produced by FAMAE in the 1980s. The SAF can be seen as a scaled-down and rechambered version of the SG 540 assault rifle. It is a blowback-operated weapon, which is fired from a closed bolt. Though rotating bolt has been redesigned replaced by a simple blowback bolt. Upper and lower receivers are connected by two steel pins in the same manner as on the M16 assault rifle. This submachine gun is chambered for a standard 9x19 mm Parabellum ammunition. There is also a version chambered for .40S&W ammunition. Overall design of this weapon proved to be successful.

   A fire mode selector is located over the pistol grip. It is conveniently operated by a thumb. It has settings for "safe", "semi-auto", "3-round burst" and "full auto". There are semi-automatic only versions of this weapon, intended for civil customers and law enforcement forces. The trigger group is similar to that of the FAMAE SG 540 assault rifle.

   This submachine gun is fed from 30-round capacity magazines. Magazines are made of steel or translucent polymer. When the translucent magazines are used, the shooter can easily see how many rounds are left in the magazine. Two or more magazines can be clamped together for faster reloading.

   This weapon has got a side-folding wire stock. Though it is also available with a solid polymer buttstock.

   The FAMAE SAF comes with simple iron sights. The rear sight post is adjustable for range. Newer versions are also fitted with Picatiny-type scope rails. Range of effective fire is up to 100 meters.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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