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Historical Military & Law Enforcement

The M3A1 “Grease Gun” Submachine Gun

by David Fortier   |  February 15th, 2018 0
The Caliber .45 M3A1 Submachine Gun is a classic American design adopted in Dec. 1944 and known as the Grease Gun.

The Caliber .45 M3A1 Submachine Gun is a classic American design adopted in Dec. 1944 and known as the Grease Gun.

Recently I had the opportunity to handle and fire a classic American M3A1 submachine gun while filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV. We were filming on location in Uvalde, Texas at DriveTanks.com which is a unique living history museum. What makes it unique? Not only can you see and touch historical small arms, armored vehicles and anti-tank guns, but you can actually shoot many of them. Tanks included. On the range the M3A1 proved simple to operate, reliable and fast handling. Thanks to its slow rate of fire, it’s very easy to trigger off single-shots. While the sight radius is short, the sight picture is fairly good and it’s relatively easy to hit a man-sized target at reasonable distances. An important piece of American firearms history, the M3A1 is a true classic. I wanted to share this with FirearmsNews.com’ fans, so I shot this short video during a break in filming. FirearmsNews.com has a variety of interesting videos coming up which include hitting the range with a M4A2E8 Sherman and Soviet T-34/85, along with a host of small arms and an anti-tank gun or two. So make sure to check back here, and tune into Guns&AmmoTV, available on The Sportsman Channel, for separate coverage.

A look at how the M3 Submachine Gun operates. Note the charging system eliminated on the M3A1.

A look at how the M3 Submachine Gun operates. Note the charging system eliminated on the M3A1.

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If you’ve cut the cord to cable TV you can stream it through our MOTV.com streaming service. If you’d like the opportunity to handle and fire an M3A1 submachine gun, and many others, take a look at DriveTanks.com.

Fielded towards the end of World War II the M3A1 saw extensive use in both Korea and Vietnam and remained in U.S. inventory into the 1990s.

Fielded towards the end of World War II the M3A1 saw extensive use in both Korea and Vietnam and remained in U.S. inventory into the 1990s.

M3A1 Submachine Gun Specifications

Operation: Blowback, Open Bolt

Caliber: .45 ACP

Barrel Length: 8 inches

Muzzle Velocity: 920 fps

Sights: Fixed rear aperture and unprotected front blade

Cyclic Rate: 450 rpm

Feed: 30-round detachable box magazine

Weight: 7.9 pounds

Length: 21.9 Inches w/stock collapsed, 29.1 inches w/stock extended

Practical Range: 100 yards

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