M3

M3 'Grease Gun' Submachine Gun

Country of OriginUnited States
TypeSubmachine Gun
Caliber11.430 mm
Capacity30 rounds
Length756.900 mm
Barrel Length203.200 mm
Weight3.700 kg
Rate of Fire450 rounds/min
Range91 m
Muzzle Velocity280 m/s

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe M3 submachine gun was designed by George Hyde in 1942, and they entered American military service on 12 Dec 1942, aiming to replace the Thompson submachine gun. Designed during war time, Hyde focused, and succeeded, in achieving a design that would be simple and cheap to produce. Between 1942 and 1945, 600,000 M3 submachine guns were manufactured.

The M3 submachine guns fired in automatic mode only. They were operated by blowback and fired from an open bolt. When American soldiers received the weapons, they nicknamed them "grease guns" as the weapons looked like the common mechanic's tool by the same name.

After the WW2, M3 submachine guns, along with the M3A1 variant designed in 1944, remained in service. They were officially retired in 1957 after an additional 80,000 units were made since 1945, but in actuality they continued to serve long after the official retirement. In the early 1990s, during the Desert Storm conflict, US Army 19th Engineering Battalion troops were equipped with M3A1 submachine guns. They were also used during the Chinese Civil War, Korean War, Vietnam War, and others.

Source: Wikipedia. ww2dbase

Photographs

Sun Liren posing with a newly arrived American-made M3 submachine gun, date unknownTSgt3 Donald B. Calamar field-cleans a magazine spring of an M-3 Submachine gun. Europe, circa 1944.A soldier of the US Army looks at a German half-track camouflaged with branches near Le Neufbourg, France, Aug 12 1944. The half-track SdKfz 251 Ausf D, SS 926256 is from the 1.SS-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. Note the soldiers M3 Grease GunTwo German prisoners being taken to the 6th Division Prisoner of War Encampment, Brest, France 28 Aug 1944
See all 8 photographs of M3 'Grease Gun' Submachine Gun



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
22 Feb 2009 02:52:09 PM

I was able to fire the M3A1 'GREASE GUN' it had one setting full auto, hell of a kick magazine capacity 20 or 30 rounds of 0.45 caliber ammo designed for short range, and it was heavy, but a very simple weapon to field strip.The rate of fire was 270rpm
2. Commenter identity confirmed BILLAnonymous says:
27 May 2009 06:41:51 PM

Field striping the Grease Gun was easy just un-screw the barrel, and the bolt and spring come out. To fire the weapon, all you had to do was flip open the small door on the right side, this is were the empty brass flies out you can look and see the 45 ammo in the magazine pull the bolt back with your first finger, a cut-out was designed for this, take the weapon off safty, shoulder the weapon, and fire. Designed to fire on full automatic only. it was a brut designed for close range. I think I've remembered it all,when that .45 slug hits you, your goin down.
After World War II the U.S. exported the weapon to NATO and Allied Nations. Over 655,000 were produced. Some models were made under licence in Argentina, Taiwan and Portugal. Even into the 1990's this weapon could still be found in many armed forces, the U.S. Army still used the weapon into the 1960's.
3. Anonymous says:
17 Feb 2010 11:45:49 AM

I was in the 3RD ACR at Ft Bliss in 1993 and we still had them in the arms room.
4. Annonymous says:
5 May 2010 09:03:34 AM

i'd like to say a big thanks to C. Peter Chen for helping me so much on my history homework. thank you! :)
5. Anonymous says:
25 Apr 2011 10:05:32 AM

Thanks for all the articles Peter! Really helped me with my WW2 project. Thank you Peter and all WW2 Veterans.
6. Michael says:
29 Jul 2012 02:26:26 PM

-They were in use in (at least) the 73rd Cavalry Rgt (ABN), the only airborne armor unit in the US Army, until they turned in their M-551 Sheridans in 1996.
-BillAnonymous is wrong in one respect. There is no "safety" as such on the M-3. The dust cover had a small tab that would lock the bolt in place when closed but only an idiot would close the dust cover on a cocked gun. See: http://www.shootingillustrated.com/index.php/7343/m3-grease-gun/ for more information.
-I fired the gun and hated it. IF (big if) the magazines worked the rate of fire was terribly slow and the gun was extremely inaccurate.
-There were two clever ideas in the design: 1) the wire stock coulde be removed and used as a wrench to unscrew the barrel locking nut. 2) the stock also has a little tab on it that was used to aid in loading the magazines.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
15 Oct 2012 09:53:56 PM

MICHAEL THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT DATED ON
29 JULY 2012. GLAD TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK

IF I REMEMBER THE M3 GREASE GUN COULD BE FIELD STRIPED DOWN TO SEVEN PARTS. AND YOUR RIGHT THE M3 FEATURED A SPRING-LOADED EJECTOR PORT COVER, THAT ALSO ACTED AS A SAFETY, LOCKING THE BOLT WHEN IT WAS CLOSED.

THE LAST TIME I FIRED THE M3 WAS AT FT.SILL,
OKLAHOMA, IN 1966, AND LATER FIRED IT AGAIN IN 67/68 SERVING W/THE 9TH INFANTRY DIVISION DURING MY FIRST TOUR IN VIETNAM'S MEKONG DELTA.
MY SECOND TOUR 69/70 WAS WITH(IFFV)I FIELD FORCES VIETNAM LOCATED IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS.THE WEAPON WAS STILL IN USE BY THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY(ARVN)I LIKED THE M3 LATER ON I HAD A CHINESE CHI-COM TYPE 56/AK47
7.62x39mm.
THIS OLD SERGEANT CAN'T REMEMBER EVERYTHING, BUT I DO MY BEST, BUT THAT WAS WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, MUCH YOUNGER...THANKS FOR THE INFO
AND THE MEMORIES MICHAEL.

THE CHINESE CONNECTION:

THE COMMUNIST CHINESE PRODUCED A COPY OF THE
.45 CALIBER M3A1 GREASE GUN, IN LOCAL WORK SHOPS AND MILITARY ARSENALS, AS THE TYPE 36
THE WEAPON WAS ALSO USED BY THE CHINESE NATIONALIST FORCES.
8. Buddy says:
1 Mar 2014 10:58:22 AM

I recently purchased a weapon the box says cz25
it looks like a grease gun, but the barrel is less then 4 inches. It has a removable stock, and the gun appears new. It has been cut in three places on the main body before the barrel rendering it unfireable. I don't see any other markings on it. It appears to have a 30 round clip. Can you help me identify this gun, and possibly a complete drawing of the weapon. The rounds seem longer than a 9mm but slimmer. Buddy

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M3 'Grease Gun' Submachine Gun Photo Gallery
Sun Liren posing with a newly arrived American-made M3 submachine gun, date unknown
See all 8 photographs of M3 'Grease Gun' Submachine Gun




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