Book Review: The US M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun

The Complete History Of America’s Famed “Grease Gun”

by
posted on September 21, 2021
The US M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun:  The Complete History Of America’s Famed “Grease Gun”

Until now, if you wanted to read anything in depth on the M3 “grease gun,” there was only one standalone publication available, Frank Iannamico’s The U.S. M3-3A1 Submachine Gun, a 166-page paperback published in 1999. Other than that fine tome, to find any useful information on the M3 you would have to wade through a multitude of books on the Thompson or other compilation compendiums.

Michael Heidler, no stranger to writing about firearm history, has produced a most impressive volume on one of this author’s favorite World War II firearms, the M3 “grease gun.” This new book is very impressive and informative, belonging on your shelf if you have even the slightest interest in World War II firearms, their development and use.

Heidler starts off with an enlightening chapter on the state of affairs within the U.S. Army Ordnance Dept.’s inventory of submachine guns (SMGs) prior to World War II. That is to say, up until 1939, there were Thompsons, and only 15,000 of them, to be exact. With the war in Europe starting in 1939, some effort was made by various private designers and firms to market a new SMG. Reising, Hyde-Inland, S&W, Star and High Standard, among others, all had potential contributions, but it was the M3 from the Inland Division of General Motors that found favor with the Ordnance Board and was adopted in January 1943. At a cost to the government of only $15 compared to the Thompson that cost $120, the M3 and its successor, the M3A1, were initially intended to replace the Thompson, but manufacturing delays contributed to only 650,000 “grease guns” being manufactured compared to 1.5 million Thompsons.

Heidler’s book is breathtaking in its scope. From copies of the various patents to the technical and field manuals issued with the gun, it is resplendent with up-close color photographs of remarkable clarity and detail. While collecting M3s is out of the price range of most of us, this is still a great reference for identifying the many variants and accessories that were issued with this workhorse of our armed forces for more than 50 years. This book will definitely be a reference that will be consulted for years to come. Retail price from Schiffer Publishing comes to $45.

To learn more, please visit schifferbooks.com.

Latest

Smith
Smith

Smith & Wesson SD9VE: A Budget Friendly Striker-Fired 9 mm

First introduced in 2012, the Smith & Wesson SD9VE provides a 9 mm striker fired handgun with a price point that has continued its popularity as a budget friendly pistol. 

Rifleman Review: Crimson Trace LS 250 Lasersaddle

Watch this American Rifleman Television segment of "Rifleman Review" from 2019 to learn more about the Crimson Trace LS 250 Lasersaddle shotgun mounted laser module.

Blackhawk Offers Product Customization

Blackhawk has launched a new custom Kydex holster and accessory program on its website, which allows customers to choose from a variety of colors, graphics and other features.

Firearm Actions For Mixed-Up Families

Can’t a lefty learn to run a right-hand platform? Sure, but the optimal answer is a firearm with a format that matches the shooter—although there are universally friendly, bilateral options.

This Old Gun: Model 1860 Henry Rifle

Although he probably didn’t plan it, when New England shirtmaker Oliver Fisher Winchester acquired the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co. in 1857 and re-named it the New Haven Arms Co., he ended up dramatically altering firearm technology, helped settle the American West and subsequently created a legacy that continues to this day.

Smith & Wesson Issues Safety Recall For M&P12 Shotguns

Smith & Wesson has issued a safety recall this week for the new M&P12 bullpup shotgun.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.