Best Buy for the Beginner: Madsen M50 Submachine Gun

Best Buy for the Beginner: Madsen M50 Submachine Gun

You've saved your money and decided to take the plunge into full-auto firearms. Which SMG to choose? Kokalis says you won't go wrong with this Danish-made star of films like The Godfather. Read more about it in the Jan. 1 issue of SGN.

Connect to

The Madsen's most notable screen appearance was in the 1972 Mafia epic "The Godfather." In this classic sequence, you can see the Madsen being assembled at 43 seconds, carried at 2:45 and put to fatal use at 4:17. The actual Madsens used in the film were auctioned in the last couple of years.

Sturdy and reliable, the Danish Madsen M50 was fielded in Latin America and the Far East during the 1950s and 1960s. Kokalis recommends it for the beginner.


When placed together, the two receiver halves become the receiver body with two hinges at the rear, which are also the pivot points for the folding buttstock.

The Madsen M50's eight-splined barrel-locking nut caused major criticism from some end users and the gun's uncomplimentary nickname — "The Banana Peel Gun."

Many Madsens were imported to the United States. Some of them were among those purportedly used by CIA field operatives early on during the Vietnam War.

The Madsen's second safety system is in the form of a spring-loaded, sheet metal lever. It must be held forward with the non-shooting hand for the gun to fire.

The M50's magazine loader is cleverly stored inside the receiver at the bottom of the pistol grip, where it's far less likely to be misplaced by the operator.

The Madsen was a popular movie SMG, and was featured prominently in films like the 1968 Ice Station Zebra and probably most memorably in The Godfather.

If the barrel nut came loose, the two receiver halves could open and the gun's internals spill out on the ground, a very annoying thing when in a firefight.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.