The M3 submachine gun, or M3 Grease Gun, was adopted by the United States Military in 1942.[1]


The M3 was created by George Hyde. It was designed to be a cheaper alternative to the Thompson Submachine Gun. The M3 fired the .45 ACP Cartridge and had a magazine capacity of thirty rounds. The fact that it was just stamped metal parts built together made it far less complicated to build over the Thompson.[2] The M3 could only fire on fully automatic and had a rate of fire of about 450 rounds per minute.[3] It also had a weight of about 3.70 kilograms and a length of 57 centimeters without the extended stock. The M3 was named the "Grease Gun" for its resemblance to a mechanic's tool.


The M3A1 was the first variant of the original M3 SMG and it entered production in 1944. Although it did simplify the design of the original M3 and had a new bolt retracting system, the M3A1 was not very different from the original M3.[4] Still, it had improved reliability and less weight. There was also a variant of the M3A1 that had an integrated silencer.[3] The M3A1's ability to be easily disassembled made it easy to convert the gun to fire 9mm rounds, by simply replacing the barrel and bolt.


The M3 SMG was first prototyped in 1941 and it was first delivered to frontlines in 1943. The M3 and M3A1 were used throughout the war despite not being the favored weapon of troops, which meant the M3 and M3A1 never did replace the Thompson Submachine Gun. The main complaints that appeared among users of the M3 included its unreliability, inaccuracy, etc. The other standard American weapons such as the M1 Carbine, M1 Garand, and M1 Thompson were far more accepted. They were mainly used by troops operating in the European Theater.


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