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
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.
top 10 submachine guns in the world are these:
& Koch MP5 (Germany)
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
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 &
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
& Koch MP7 (Germany)
submachine gun was developed by the famous Heckler & Koch company
Originally this weapon was known as the HK PDW or Personal Defense Weapon.
It was designed as a competitor for a successful 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.
& 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
the pistol grip. It uses 20- or 40-round capacity magazines.
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.
accessory rails can be installed over the foregrip. The MP7 is
compatible with a number of accessories, as well as a sound
Heckler & Koch UMP (Germany)
& Koch UMP submachine gun was designed as a successor to the famous
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
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.
Beretta PM12 (Italy)
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.
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.
is fed from 20-, 32-, or 40-round capacity magazines.
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.
submachine gun has an integral forward grip which improves stability
of the weapon during firing.
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.
produced a number of accessories for the PM12 submachine gun,
including a flashlight, encased in the foregrip.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CZ Scorpion EVO 3 (Czech Republic)
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
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.
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
handle can be installed on either side of the receiver. However
spent cases are extracted only to the right side.
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.
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
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.
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.
Brugger & Thomet MP9 (Switzerland)
& 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.
& 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
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
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
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
assault rifle. It does not reciprocates when
the weapon is fired.
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.
also has adjustable iron sights. This weapon has an effective range
of about 50 - 100 meters.
submachine gun is compatible with silencers.
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,
SAF is modeled after a popular and highly successful German
& 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
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.
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.
has got a side-folding wire stock. Though it is also available with
a solid polymer buttstock.
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.