PPSh-41 file photo

PPSh-41 Submachine Gun

Country of OriginRussia
TypeSubmachine Gun
Caliber7.620 mm
Capacity71 rounds
Length843 mm
Barrel Length269 mm
Weight3.630 kg
Rate of Fire900 rounds/min
Range200 m
Muzzle Velocity488 m/s

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Note on history of Russian submachine gun development by Alan Chanter:

In 1922, Aimo J. Lahti of Finland produced his first SMG, and this was subsequently followed by several other similar guns, including in 1931 with the Suomi model which sold widely around the world and was probably still in widespread use during the Winter war of 1939/40. Lahti made a drum magazine for his guns which took 71 rounds of 7.65mm Parabellum ammunition, and when Vasily A. Degtyarev was commissioned by the Soviet Army to produce a similar SMG in 1934, he took Lahti's magazine with hardly a single alteration. He also took a great deal from Hugo Schmeisser's MP28 and this developed into the PPD34. After the winter war debacle the Red Army demanded a simpler version for mass-production and Georgi S. Shpagin remodeled it to the well-known PPSh-41 (Pistolet Pulomet Scpagin, Model 41).
Designed by Georgi Shpagin, the PPSh-41 submachine gun design was built upon the philosophy of low cost, quick production time, and low field maintenance. Production began in Nov 1941, and by Apr 1942, 155,000 of these nick named "Pah Pah Sha" guns were available. One reason for the quick production ramp-up was the use of crude but yet effective parts. By the end of the war, over five million were built. As a result, unlike the German Army which assigned the MP40 submachine gun only to specialized platoons, the Russians often equipped entire regiments with PPSh-41 submachine guns, thus providing great short-range firepower that could not be challenged in urban fighting. The soldiers loved PPSh-41 submachine guns' low recoil, great durability, and their ability to fire in either semi-automatic or full-automatic modes; even German soldiers were known to use captured PPSh-41 submachine guns in combat, which were sometimes modified to use 9-mm German ammunition. There were drawbacks of the design, however. For example, reloading the standard drum magazines was difficult, and incorrect loading during the heat of battle sometimes caused the guns to jam. That particular problem was resolved partially when box magazines became available for PPSh-41 submachine guns. When WW2 ended, many PPSh-41 submachine guns remained in service in various communist countries, including forces of Communist China and North Vietnam, who used PPSh-41 submachine guns in quantity during the Korean War (as Type 50 submachine guns) and Vietnam War (as K-50 submachine guns), respectively.

Sources: Firearms of the Sword World War, the Red Army at War, War Monthly (periodical), Wikipedia.


German soldier with a captured PPSh-41 submachine gun, date unknownSoviet soldiers in the field with Maxim M1910 heavy machine gun and PPSh-41 submachine gun, date unknownSoviet troops posing with PPSh-41 submachine guns and a captured German MG34 machine gun, date unknownSoviet troops at Smolensk, Russia, 1 Jul 1941; note PPSh-41 and Mosin-Nagant weapons
See all 48 photographs of PPSh-41 Submachine Gun

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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    16 Feb 2009 05:38:55 PM

    The ppsh-41 was used in vietnam, i was able to fire this weapon only one setting, full auto. also picked up chinese model of ak-47 the type 56. had my hands into alot of things
  2. mlw9009 says:
    30 Jun 2009 02:15:40 AM

    im looking for a price range on the ppsh-41. i have fired one before but i dont know where to find one. could someone send me a internet site where i would be able to find out?
  3. Anonymous says:
    23 Oct 2009 05:42:07 AM

    that was a powerful gun in ww2 its fire rate was almost perfect
  4. Bill says:
    11 Apr 2010 07:59:25 PM

    The Russians produced about 6,000,000 of the
    PPSH-41 sub-machine guns. It was a simple
    blowback operating weapon, had a drum magazine of 71 rounds and fired the 7.62x25
    pistol round.
    The weapon was cheap to make,easy to operate,
    and had a chrome-lined chamber, same as the
    later AK-47, something the U.S. Army had to
    learn later on with its first M-16E1's.
    The Russians issued whole units and even
    divisions with the weapon.
    The weapon had low recoil and was reliable
    and effective at close range. The PPSH-41 was
    so effective, the Germans also used the weapon, and was converted to fire the 9mm
    pistol round, in German service the PPSH-41
    was called the MP-41(r)
    Fired the 7.62x25 pistol round
    Rate-of-Fire 900 rpm
    Effective Range 200 Meters
    Feed System 71 round drum magazine or a 35 round box magazine.
    Fully Automatic Sub-Machine Gun

    I was able to fire a PPSH-41 in Vietnam, also
    used a Chinese Model Type 56 / AK-47
  5. Anonymous says:
    24 May 2010 10:41:09 AM

    I can not belive it holds 71 rownds. I would have accepcted more the that.
  6. Bill says:
    30 May 2010 09:37:33 PM

    To Anonymous, May 24, 2010 #5

    The Russians made 6,000,000 million PPSh-41 submachine guns. The weapon fired 7.62x25mm
    Tokarev Cartridge.
    Action Blowback, open bolt
    Rate of fire 900rpm
    Feed system 35 round box magazine,or 71 round
    drum magazine.
    Effective range 200 meters
    Maximum range 400 meters
    Service 1941 to the present

    The Germans were impressed with the PPSh-41
    that they converted the weapon to fire the
    7.63x25mm Mauser Cartridge.
  7. TarY says:
    1 Jul 2010 07:24:10 PM

    Got 1. very reliable and the function is simple.
    made in 1945,
    can fire the whole drum magazine in only 5-6 seconds.
    drum magazine holds 74 rounds.
    could not find the box magazine.
  8. Anonymous says:
    6 Oct 2010 07:54:04 PM

    I have one never fired it, was given to me by a old ww2 vet. it was in a fire and I am looking for a stock
  9. Justin says:
    15 Nov 2010 08:07:02 PM

    It was also used by the VA in Vietnam and was nicknamed "The Birp gun".
  10. Anonymous says:
    21 Dec 2010 06:57:30 PM

    The ppsh was not nicknamed the birp gun, your thinking of the german mp-40.
  11. Anonymous says:
    16 Feb 2013 12:07:26 PM

    i hear they around 20,000.00

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German soldier with a captured PPSh-41 submachine gun, date unknown
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