Q: I have seen references to .45-cal. Reising submachine guns that were used by the Marine Corps in World War II. All of the photos I’ve encountered depict full-length wooden stocks. However, I just encountered a photo of a Reising with a folding stock. Was this an experimental version or was it actually issued as well?
A: There were two types of Reising submachine guns procured by the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. The first type you described is the Model 50, which had a full length wooden stock and a compensator found on the barrel.
The variant with the folding stock was the Model 55 and was procured for use by the Marine Corps parachute units early in World War II. It differed from the Model 50 only in the folding stock and the lack of the compensator on most of the Model 55s.
Both variants were widely used by the Marine Corps early in the war, but functioning problems resulted in most of the guns being withdrawn from combat use and replaced by Thompson submachine guns, M1 Carbines and other arms. The Reising submachine guns remained in use through the end of the war, primarily as supplemental arms in rear-echelon units and aboard warships.
—Bruce N. Canfield, Contributing Editor