HGR 107 - The Machine Pistol in Concept & Practice

Hello and welcome to Episode 107 of Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week, Nathaniel F from The Firearm Blog and Daniel Watters join me to discuss the machine pistol in concept and in practice!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Bullpup Shoot in September!

Week in Review:

Ryan- Bryan Bolivar of Modern Rifleman Radio sent me a message and said he agreed with Weerds Assessment last week that the Lee-Enfield that had hang fires was suffering from excessive headspace.

Doesn’t 303 British headspace on the rim like a revolver cartridge?

Yes. -N

Nathaniel- Ruger Blackhawk .45 ACP/.45 Long Colt

Daniel - You found some great magazine articles that pertained to our last episode! Links will be in the show notes.

Magazine 1

High Standard T3 & Experimental 9mm Ammunition

Main Topic: Machine Pistols & Personal Defense Weapons

The Theory/Concept of Machine Pistols:

  1. Machine pistols have a pretty long history, going back to the Steyr-Hahn M.12/P.16 machine pistol, which had a 16 round magazine, and an attachable shoulder stock.
  1. Machine pistols are pretty easy to design; they simply combine the semi-automatic handgun with an automatic fire sear.
  1. Machine pistols crop up on a regular basis, but never achieve wide scale popularity.

So they've been around a long time, didn't create major design problems for their engineers, and never caught on. Could there be a problem with the idea of a machine pistol?

Discuss PDWs - normally these are carbines (M1, M4) or more commonly handguns (M9).

Discuss how the trend in automatic weapons design has been to make them smaller and lighter. Machine pistols are the smallest and lightest, right? Discuss Trejo and Lercker machine pistols.

Discuss how full auto fire has fallen from favor in individual small arms (rifles). Hyperburst is all but dead, and full auto fire has proven to not improve hit probability. So if it's of extremely limited usefulness in individual weapons, what use is it in a pistol?

Lercker Machine Pistol .25 ACP

Prototype VZ-52 Machine Pistol


Discuss purpose-designed PDWs - Begin with Colt SCAMP and move into P90 and MP7. Many use smaller, extremely low-recoil rounds to facilitate more controllable full-auto fire. Is this what machine pistols need to finally catch on? Highlight the fact that these rounds have advantages (chiefly armor penetration), but may need and/or exploit full auto fire to improve terminal effectiveness, rather than hit probability.

Discuss civilian laws that may dampen the popularity of machine pistols

So is the machine pistol doomed to obscurity, or will it become the PDW of choice for our imminent cyberpunk future?

Some Machine Pistols:

Mauser 712 “Schnellfeuer”

(High-Speed Video of Ian from Forgotten Weapons shooting a Mauser 712)


Glock 18 (or 17 with Auto Sear)

Machine Pistols Viable? (Great Glock 17 with Autosear Pictures)

Beretta 93R

H&K VP70

VZ 61 Skorpion

CZ75 Full Auto Variant


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Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!