Beretta M-38

     Notes:  Just after World War 1, Beretta designed a new version of the Vilar Perosa (said to be the first true submachinegun), modifying the original design considerably and calling it the M-1918.  The original version of the M-1918 removed a number of troublesome and cumbersome featured from the Vilar Perosa; the more definitive model moved the magazine feed to the bottom of the weapon and lengthened the barrel somewhat, and it is a judgment call as to whether the M-1918 is a submachinegun or an automatic carbine.  The magazine move simplified both the sights and general construction considerably.  The later M-1930 (also called the M-1918/30) is a semiautomatic version of the M-1918, and is therefore what would be called today a “short-barreled rifle.”

      Both of these weapons fired from a closed bolt and used an unusual bolt carrier group that was nicknamed the A Siringa after its resemblance to a syringe, especially in the shape of the cocking ring.  Both fired from 12 or 25-round magazines.  If the cocking ring is already pulled back, the magazine will automatically feed a round and be ready to fire; otherwise, the cocking ring must be pulled.  Some features from already-existing Italian weapons were borrowed to speed development and production; the bayonet is the standard Carcano M-91 bayonet, the stock is modified from the Vilar Perosa, the trigger guard is from a popular Italian training rifle of the time.  Both the M-1918 and M-1930 were meant to be civilian weapons, so cost was a factor, though most ended up being used by the Italian Army.  Barrel length is 12.5 inches.  Perhaps its greatest weakness was its ammunition – 9mm Glisenti.

     The M-38 series was a long-lived submachinegun in Italian service, being used by the Italians starting in late 1937 and continuing in use until the early 1960s.  It is sometimes found in use in some African countries to this day.  The first version, the M-38A, was an upgrade of the Model 1918.  It was chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge and also for an Italian round of slightly different dimensions but of equal power and ballistics.  The M-38A uses unusual twin triggers; the front trigger is used for semiautomatic fire, and the rear trigger for automatic fire.

     The M-38A, though an excellent weapon, uses expensive and time-consuming milled steel construction.  In addition, the Italian round proved to be unreliable, and the ability to fire that cartridge was removed.  The stock was shortened so that it ran only to the magazine well; this saved some wood and money.  The result of these modifications was the M-38/42.  A minor change of this weapon, with a simplified bolt and the return spring strengthened, became the M-38/44.

     The M-38/49, also known by the postwar designation of Model 4, is an M-38A with a cross-bolt safety.  In addition, the M-38/49 could be customized to a certain extent; versions are available with a folding bayonet, a wooden stock or a folding metal stock, a grip safety, and various types of slings.  This model continued in production until 1961. 

     Despite appearances, the M-3 is merely a modified form of the M-1938 series of submachineguns.  The mechanism is basically the same, but changes were made to simplify production and make the weapon less expensive.  Despite this, the M-3 was never a great success and few were built.  An M-4 was also made; it differs from the M-3 only in having a folding bayonet.  There is no manual safety catch, but there is a grip safety.

     The Model 5 was the last version of the M-38A.  It is an M-38/49 with a spring-loaded safety catch which had to be depressed when firing the weapon (making one-handed fire impossible).

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

M-1918

9mm Glisenti

3.63 kg

12, 25

$320

M-1930

9mm Glisenti

3.63 kg

12, 25

$317

M-38A

9mm Parabellum and 9mm M-38A

4.19 kg

10, 20, 30, 40

$374

M-38/42 & M-38/44

9mm Parabellum

3.26 kg

20, 40

$333

M-3

9mm Parabellum

3.47 kg

20, 40

$352

M-38/49 & Model 5 (Wooden Stock)

9mm Parabellum

3.26 kg

20, 40

$247

M-38/49 & Model 5 (Folding Stock)

9mm Parabellum

2.76 kg

20, 40

$272

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

M-1918

10

2

1-Nil

6

1

5

32

M-1930

SA

2

1-Nil

6

1

Nil

32

M-38A

5

2

2-Nil

6

1

2

32

M-38/42 & M-38/44

5

2

Nil

5

1

2

22

M-3

5

2

Nil

3/5

1

2

20

M-38/49 & Model 5 (Wood Stock)

5

2

Nil

5

1

2

22

M-38/49 & Model 5 (Folding Stock)

5

2

Nil

4/5

1

2

22

 

Beretta PM-12/PM-12S/PM-12S2

     Notes: Work on the PM-12 began in the early 1950s, but the first production examples did not appear until 1958.  The PM-12 is simply made of sheet metal stampings that are spot-welded together.  The PM-12 is a reliable weapon that is formed and sealed as well as possible to continue operation even when wet or dirty.  The grip safety is unusual in that it must be held in when the weapon is cocked; this helps prevent an accidental fire during loading.  The normal stock is a folding metal one, but this can be replaced by a wooden butt.

     The PM-12S was produced to make a number of improvements to the PM-12.  The manual safety has been improved; before the PM-12S, the weapon could be switched to Safe without the weapon actually being fully on safe.  When the manual safety is engaged, the grip safety automatically deploys and is held in.  The catch for the cap at the rear of the receiver (used when stripping the weapon) was moved top of the receiver to make it both easier to intentionally release and more difficult to accidentally release.  The catch for the folding is also improved so that the stock is sure to remain locked when in the extended position.  Further improvements resulted in the PM-12S2; changes include a charging handle safety to further enhance safety.  Options for all of the PM-12 series include a modified foregrip with high-intensity white light or IR light built in, a mount fitted to the top of the receiver to allow the use of night vision scopes or laser aiming modules, a modified barrel threaded for a suppressor or silencer, and a grenade launcher attachment allowing the firing of irritant gas grenades (this also requires a ballistite cartridge, a modified recoil spring, and a modified end cap for the receiver). 

     Other than Italian use, the PM-12 and 12S can be found in several South American, African, and Middle Eastern countries.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

PM-12 (Folding Stock)

9mm Parabellum

3 kg

20, 32, 40

$375

PM-12 (Wooden Butt)

9mm Parabellum

3.4 kg

20, 32, 40

$345

PM-12S (Folding Stock)

9mm Parabellum

3.2 kg

20, 32, 40

$375

PM-12S (Wooden Butt)

9mm Parabellum

3.6 kg

20, 32, 40

$345

PM-12S2 (Folding Stock)

9mm Parabellum

3.4 kg

20, 32, 40

$375

PM-12S2 (Wooden Butt)

9mm Parabellum

3.8 kg

20, 32, 40

$345

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

PM-12 (Folding Stock)

5

2

Nil

3/4

1

3

22

PM-12 (Wooden Stock)

5

2

Nil

4

1

2

22

PM-12S (Folding Stock)

5

2

Nil

3/4

1

3

22

PM-12S (Wooden Butt)

5

2

Nil

4

1

2

22

PM-12S2 (Folding Stock)

5

2

Nil

3/4

1

2

22

PM-12S2 (Wooden Butt)

5

2

Nil

4

1

2

22

 

Franchi LF-57

     Notes: This small weapon is in use in small numbers by the Italian Navy, and somewhat larger numbers by a few African nations.  The weapon uses the telescoping bolt to decrease size, and is very easy to maintain and disassemble.  It was not a commercial success, and it is a rather rare weapon.  The weapon is made entirely of steel stampings, including the pistol grip.  This weapon is made by the same company (Franchi) that makes the SPAS-12 and SPAS-15 shotguns (see Italian Shotguns). 

     Merc 2000 Notes: Production of this weapon quietly restarted in 1999, and they were sold to a variety of clandestine agencies in the world, and reportedly some rather unsavory individuals as well. 

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

LF-57

9mm Parabellum

3.17 kg

20, 40

$304

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

LF-57

5

2

Nil

3/4

1

2

21

 

Socimi Type 821

     Notes: This is a small submachinegun, similar in design and concept to Uzi-type weapons.  Designed for use by vehicle crews, special operations, and paramilitary and police forces, the Type 821 was sometimes carried by Italian police guarding places like airports, as well as bodyguards and some Carabineri officers, but was generally a little-seen weapon.  Socimi is supposedly still making the 821, but for whom, it is not known. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: This weapon was placed into large-scale production in 1996, and issued to Italian troops (and later, partisans loyal to the government).

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Type 821

9mm Parabellum

2.45 kg

32

$302

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Type 821

5

2

Nil

2/4

1

3

20

 

SITES Spectre M-4

     Notes: An Italian submachinegun used by the Swiss armed forces and by Italian special forces, and has otherwise been sold to “undisclosed recipients.” It is a compact and light weapon, with several unusual features.  The barrel shroud completely hides the barrel. The Spectre uses special 50-round four-column magazines which are the same length as standard 32-round magazines and short 30-round magazines which are half the length of a normal 30-round magazine. It can also use normal magazines. The safety is incorporated into the trigger mechanism.  A rare variant of the Spectre fires .40 Smith & Wesson ammunition and has 22- and 35-round four-column magazines, but is otherwise identical. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: the .40 Smith & Wesson variant does not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Spectre M-4

9mm Parabellum

2.9 kg

30, 32, 50

$324

Spectre M-4

.40 Smith & Wesson

3.08 kg

22, 30, 35

$397

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Spectre M-4 (9mm)

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

2

16

Spectre M-4 (.40)

5

2

2-Nil

2/3

1

2

17

 

TZ-45/BA-52

     Notes:  This Italian design was produced very quickly by the thousands in World War 2 between 1944 and 1945.  After the war, the design was sold to the Burmese Army, where it was again produced by the thousands and issued to the Burmese Army as the BA-52.  The Burmese sold it far and wide across the Middle East, Far East, and Southeast Asia.  Today, it can be expected to show up anywhere in those locales.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

TZ-45/BA-52

9mm Parabellum

3.26 kg

20, 40

$315

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

TZ-45/BA-52

5

2

Nil

4/5

1

2

24