American Tactical German Sport’s 9mm MP40 — A Tribute to WWII

The Nazi’s inability to conquer Europe wasn’t their only failure of the Second World War. They also failed to successfully invade Russia, exercise basic humanity, march-like normal people, and a host of other blunders. Suffice it to say that in 1,000 years they won’t be remembered as successful, virtuous, or honorable.

But despite their eventual surrender, Hitler’s forces did manage to use more iconic weapons of war than any other army. The Luger pistol, the steel helmet, and the stick grenade became regular fixtures throughout the European theater, but Maschinenpistole 40 surpassed them all.

The MP40 from German Sport Guns and American Tactical combines a historically accurate appearance with modern manufacturing.

The MP40

Known in the English-speaking world as the MP40, it’s difficult to imagine a Nazi soldier without one of these firearms swinging by his side. The Germans produced over 1 million MP40s from 1940 to 1945 and used them to devastating effect against the Allied forces.

American Tactical is now importing the very first reproduction of the MP40 chambered in 9mm. It’s manufactured by German Sport Guns (GSG), and I had a chance to test drive one earlier this year.

A stock would have provided greater stability, but this gun is still seriously fun.

SPECS

  • Overall Length: 24.5 in.
  • Height: 7 in.
  • Frame Construction: Zamak 5 with Polymer Accents
  • Weight w/ Magazine (Unloaded): 7.875 lbs.
  • Cartridge: 9x19mm
  • Barrel length: 10 in.
  • All-metal detachable 25-round magazine
  • Includes loading assistance accessory
  • MSRP: $650

History of the MP40

German soldier with an MP40 on the Eastern Front in 1944. Photo: By Bundesarchiv.

The fun of this gun lies in its connection to history. According to Spencer Tucker’s Instruments of War: Weapons and Technologies That Have Changed History, the MP40 was one of the “outstanding small arms weapons of WWII.”

It was based on the MP-38, a similar “machine pistol” designed by Ermawerk a year before the war began. German engineers simplified the MP-38 to develop the MP-40, creating a cheaper version of the firearm by using stamped steel rather than machined parts. This change allowed the German army to manufacture huge quantities of this firearm quickly and easily.

The Nazis originally created the pistol to be used by tank crews and security personnel. Its innovative folding stock allowed soldiers to maneuver it in tight spaces while maintaining enough stability for accurate firing. Even so, accuracy obviously wasn’t a top priority as the original version only had one mode: fully automatic.

The firearm proved to be so effective that the Germans began assigning them to infantry units, who found them to be perfect for the kind of short-range urban warfare so common during WWII.

Today most people know the MP40 from movies and video games where Nazi soldiers shoot from the hip and never, ever hit anything. But the historic firearm claimed thousands of lives in WWII and remains one of the most famous guns in the history of war.

GSG MP40: Construction and Features

German Sport Guns designed their version of the MP40 to imitate the appearance of the original firearm. While it isn’t compatible with WWII-era MP40 parts or magazines, it is made with all-new parts that meet U.S. regulation specifications.

The firearm’s plastic sides can be easily removed to reveal the inner mechanisms underneath. The silver piece pictured above is the trigger bar.

 

 

The package comes with several different front sights to adjust for elevation. The rear sight can be flipped up to accommodate longer-range shots. It can also be adjusted for windage.

The frame is made from Zamak 5, a relatively tough zinc alloy most commonly used in Europe. At first, I thought the frame was polymer, but once I removed the plastic “accents” I saw the all-metal body underneath. The firearm feels solid in the hands, and all the parts appeared to be well-machined.

The rear sight includes two settings, one for short range and one for longer range. The front sight features a white bead to distinguish it from the rear black notch sights. The package includes several different heights of front sights, so users can choose the height that most closely matches the point of impact. The rear sight arrived loose, and though I couldn’t determine a way to secure it, it didn’t seem to affect accuracy.

Shootability could be improved with either a sling or a shoulder stock, both of which can be attached to the firearm.

The MP40’s weight (7.875 lbs) reduces recoil to almost nothing but makes the firearm tiring to aim for extended periods of time. I would recommend using a sling, which can be attached at two points on the gun. Shooters will also be able to purchase a rear stock kit from American Tactical in the near future.

GSG MP40: Function

Just a few notes on how this firearm operates. The safety is located underneath the firearm, and it functions like a rotating dial. I’ve never seen a safety like this, but its location is intuitive and the dial is easy to operate.

The magazine release is a large button on the left side of the firearm. It’s also easy to operate, but I found that the heel of my hand accidentally pressed it while firing. I could adjust my support hand towards the rear of the gun, but it felt less comfortable.

The trigger isn’t designed for a crisp break.

The trigger is not what I would call match quality. The pull is heavy (it maxed out my analog scale), mushy, and long. It works fine, but don’t expect to be hitting any squirrels at 50 yards (unless you want to unload the magazine, which is always an option).

The MP40 can be broken down in just a few minutes for cleaning and maintenance. Removing the action pin allows the firearm to be separated into two halves, and from there the bolt and spring can be removed and cleaned.

The bolt can be locked to the rear to check the chamber or load another magazine.

GSG MP40: Testing

Despite the MP40’s quirks, I had a blast shooting it. Its lack of a stock limits its applications, but it’s a great range gun and fun to shoot. While I don’t advocate pretending to be a Nazi, shooting from the hip like a Hollywood SS officer is more than a little amusing.

If you’ve read other reviews of this gun, you might have seen writers report feeding problems. While the gun jammed twice the first time at the range, it fed perfectly for hundreds of rounds after that. I used loads from Federal, Hornady, and American Eagle—both round nose and hollow point—and I never experienced any issues.

The folks at American Tactical say they’ve tested the firearm with “115 & 147 grain factory new ammunition” and “135 grain hollow point” loads. While they admit that “it is not possible to adjust a semi-automatic gun to all loads,” a properly lubed firearm should be able to handle a wide variety of ammunition.

I experienced two failures to eject within the first 60 rounds or so. After that, the gun functioned flawlessly.

Like I mentioned previously, this firearm isn’t designed for extreme accuracy. I used a front rest and fired five-shot groups with several different loads from 25 yards. I used…

  • American Eagle 115-grain TSJ
  • Federal Train and Protect 115-grain Versatile Hollow Point
  • Hornady Steel Match 125-grain Hollow Point

The results weren’t overwhelming, but it’s difficult to maintain the same point of aim with iron sights.

All groups are within approximately 5 inches.

I also fired Hornady’s 115-grain. XTP Hollow Point ammunition and Federal’s 124g. Personal Defense HST. I didn’t do accuracy testing with these rounds, but they fed without any issues.

I should also mention that I didn’t have any trouble hitting 6-inch steel plates from 20 yards. That’s nothing to write home about, but it demonstrates that the MP40’s accuracy won’t get in the way of having a good time at the range.

Lasting Impressions

If you’re a WWII buff looking to have some fun, the MP40 is for you. It functions well, it looks great, and it’s a blast to shoot.

With the addition of a stock, this firearm could also function as a truck gun or even a home defense weapon. It stores easily in a small space, the magazine capacity is excellent, and the low recoil allows for easy maneuvering. Handgun caliber carbines are a popular choice for these applications, and the MP40 could fill that hole nicely.

As original WWII-era guns become ever more rare, I hope companies like German Sport Guns and American Tactical continue to provide customers with the ability to own a “part” of history without breaking the bank.

For more information about American Tactical Imports MP40, click here.

To purchase an American Tactical Imports MP40 on GunsAmerica, click here.

 

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 41 comments… add one }
  • john hemeyer November 8, 2019, 12:15 pm

    Germans issued a more powerful 9mm submachinegun round for use in the MP40, but not for pistols. The regular 9mm round will function the MP40 but not as well as the SMG 9mm. I know this because our Sheriff’s Office had an MP40 and we fired it regularly. It is a hoot to shoot, had all the original stuff – even the sling. The hotter round also sped up the rounds per minute. Being an open bolt, the gun is simple but prone to accidental discharges.

    I would not waste my money on this.

  • J Hansen April 9, 2019, 12:03 am

    Does anyone in this conversation besides me actually own one of these? I’ve had mine for about a year, bought it for the cool factor (which is very high) and have only shot it a couple of times. Its fun but the fun does wear off. I’d sell mine quick if the price were right.

    • Kody June 27, 2020, 5:21 pm

      how much is the right price?

  • jrkmt1 February 9, 2018, 1:12 am

    Germany did successfully invade Russia. It failed to conquer Russia due to poor supply lines.
    Should you examine maps of late WWII, you will see that Germany did conquer most of Europe. Much of what wasn’t conquered actually joined the Axis powers or its coalition.
    Due to its difficulty, goose step marching was reserved for ceremonial purposes. It was also used by various militaries around the world, including the Soviet Union.
    The majority of German military pesonnel did not belong to the Nazi Party.
    Mr. Michaels needs to take a refresher course in World War II history.

    • R. Walker March 20, 2019, 10:00 pm

      It seems like you are quite the admirer and apologist of the the 3rd Reich. Nazi Germany was impressive from the standpoint of technical achievements and their modernization of war in the 20th Century. But do not for one moment excuse their moral failings. Just because not everyone one was a card carrying Nazi doesn’t absolve their society’s shared culpability. It’s like a crowd of people watching a couple of people murder an individual. If it happens once those who were witnesses can easily say it was “not me.” If it happens multiple times then it becomes support through complicity which cannot be as easily excused.

  • Jonny5 January 27, 2018, 5:19 am

    Those Nazi dudes? They were like… the bad guys, right!? With that Hitler guy?

    Can we stop outsourcing the review writing to the boss’s 14 yr old nephew?

  • loupgarous January 24, 2018, 9:04 pm

    While this is snoreburgers in 9mm Parabellum, in 10mm Norma it’d be great – enough mass to make the weapon controllable, and it’d probably shoot flatter than the wonder-nine version. A version in 10mm “long” would also justify a stocked version (even better, one with an “arm brace”). Still, it’d look great over the fireplace mantel/on the gun rack. Not to original specs, so its curio appeal is nil, but a fun gun for those of us who can afford to go through clips of 9mm for fun.

  • Mattie Monday January 23, 2018, 2:34 am

    Being a trained CP Operator, I think this would be an ideal vehicle weapon in hostile environments.

  • Area 52 January 22, 2018, 11:58 pm

    I don’t care for stockless carbines pistols. They are only made for the tacticool look. Once the novelty wears off it becomes a safe queen. Sig brace or SBR are an option if part are available. However the MP 40 is no Thompson , UZI or MP5.

  • Hawkeye January 22, 2018, 2:12 pm

    I’m assuming this is classified as a “pistol” for ATF purposes? If so, wouldn’t the manufacturer’s promised stock then make it an SBR; requiring an STF SBR license? Maybe the piece said and I missed it?

  • Jeff Richards January 22, 2018, 12:21 pm

    The author sounds like Pelosi and Feinstein describing the Black Evil Guns !
    Lol
    Clueless !

  • srsquidizen January 22, 2018, 11:48 am

    Nit-picks about Nazi exploits notwithstanding, this article gave me some good information about the subject product. I saw this gun on the website of a well-known ‘net dealer for under $500 and thought about buying one just for the fun of it. After reading the article don’t think I will, and would about as soon have the Umarex CO2 replica to plink at soda bottles. Looks as authentic, costs a lot less, and even shoots full-auto (so far Big Brother doesn’t restrict BB guns).

  • Mike V January 22, 2018, 11:33 am

    Looks like the first two paragraphs have been rewritten. Makes more sense now.

  • John Bibb January 22, 2018, 11:11 am

    ***
    Why not go with the superior WW2 era .30 cal. M-1 Carbine instead? Or it’s modern clones? Good up to 180 yards, more accurate, higher muzzle velocity and about double the energy. Also–lighter and stronger. It replaced the .45 1911 pistol and the .45 Grease Gun SMG for good reason.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

    • Rick January 22, 2018, 7:04 pm

      I recall the M1 carbine left service in 1973. The 1911 is still in use by some units even after the M9 replaced it as the standard sidearm of the U.S. military. So I wouldn’t say it was “replaced” by the M1. I can’t really disagree about the M3 and M3A1. They only made it as far as Korea, though.

      • ejharb February 4, 2018, 11:21 pm

        Grease guns were used by tankers in desert storm.I’d bet there’s still a few in some depots now.

    • Oaf January 23, 2018, 12:15 am

      Because it’s not an MP40!

  • Douglas Riding January 22, 2018, 9:05 am

    Clue: Look up ‘Semantics’ in the dictionary…
    I clearly understood his ‘meaning’…

    My concern is the lack of a folding stock… It’s like buying half-a-gun ! & “Oh, we’ll get back to you later on that one”…
    I really appreciate Paul’s explanation of the zinc alloy… I remember my cap pistols cracking just like he said !
    I own an STG-44 in .22, & I’m still waitin’ for Hill & Mac to ship mine in .300 aac…
    But I’ll have to pass on this ‘un…

    • DaveGinOly January 22, 2018, 11:20 pm

      It should ship with an inoperative folding stock in the folded position. This would make it look more authentic without becoming an NFA item. The maker could then make an authentic stock available for those willing to jump through the necessary hoopage. (Yeah, I just made that up for this comment!).

  • KurtW January 22, 2018, 8:55 am

    Zamak – a.k.a “Potmetal”, the choice of kwalluh-tee stuff like the Lorcin, and chap children’s toys that break.
    And it only jams occasionally, regularly!!!

  • Paul Ruffle January 22, 2018, 8:22 am

    Mr. Michaels writes above, “The frame is made from Zamak 5, a relatively tough zinc alloy most commonly used in Europe.” He’s right that Zamak is a zinc alloy, but it’s not relatively tough, it has very poor mechanical properties. It has low strength, low elongation and low toughness as compared to heat treated high strength aluminum such as 7075-T6 or high strength low alloy steel such as AISI 4130 commonly used to make gun parts. It’s also relatively soft and has poor wear characteristics. It’s widely used to make inexpensive toy guns because parts can be made to net shape via die casting, rather than the more expensive machining required for aluminum or steel components. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a 9x19mm firearm with a zinc alloy frame. At the very least it will wear prematurely and at some point the frame will crack and the gun will not be safe to fire. Any gun made with die cast zinc parts is a piece of junk. I’m a retired mechanical engineer with many years of experience in ammunition design.

    • Jimmy Joe Meeker January 22, 2018, 9:07 am

      He said “relatively” tough. The flaw in your logic is comparing it to “heat treated high strength aluminum” such as 7075-T6. OF COURSE it isn’t as strong as that. Relative to Zytel, or Delrin, or a modern Hot Wheels car (not a late 60s red line), or a Vlasic chilled dill, he’s absolutely right.

  • FAL Phil January 22, 2018, 7:38 am

    If he’s going to write, he needs to get it right. It’s a credibility thing.

  • FAL Phil January 22, 2018, 7:37 am

    Clue: It is extremely difficult to fight the Battle of Leningrad and the Battle of Stalingrad by failing to invade Russia.

    • Aydene Militello January 22, 2018, 8:13 am

      LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,like Napoleon didn’t meet his Waterloo!

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn January 22, 2018, 6:31 am

    Spot on commentary, James. I thought the same thing. I will add what I believe at least some of the others thinking: This would be a head-turner at the club\’s pistol range, and no doubt ammunition manufacturers will salivate over its existence. But I have to believe that this is a \”mass shooting\” weapon waiting to be applied. Of course I will do my best to defend the right to own the MP 40. However, I also concede that simply because there is a right to do something does not mean that it\’s always right to do that something.

  • DEFENDER January 22, 2018, 6:15 am

    Add a fixed stock and some rails for scopes, lights, etc and it could appeal to the PCC market.
    Or even a poor mans MP5 or home defense.
    Otherwise its a another Ghetto Blaster.

    • Will January 22, 2018, 12:11 pm

      If the nazis had won the war your wife’s son wouldn’t be a gangbanger. Just sayin’.

  • DEFENDER January 22, 2018, 5:41 am

    My fear is, as it stands, with no stock, this gun will be at a low enough price point to appeal to the
    gang bangers. They will wear it like a pistol under their shorts.
    Just what we need another, cheap, Ghetto Blaster.

    • Cyrus January 22, 2018, 7:28 am

      Exactly – as legal law-abiding gun owners we are so Fucking Doomed!

      • Mike V. January 22, 2018, 8:49 am

        We’re doomed because of this?

  • Mike Lamb January 22, 2018, 5:32 am

    As a student of history, and not being biased to the Germans, just truthful. The introduction to the article stating the failure and blunders of the NAZIs were so distorted, untruthful, biased and downright just plain propaganda, I just skipped the rest of the article. Your author needs a lot more educating. I hope he isn’t as educated concerning firearms…

    Michael- Deo Vindicabamur
    Classical Historian Western Civilization

    • Aydene Militello January 22, 2018, 8:20 am

      There is a misconception that all German soldiers were Nazis, or that we simply fought against the Nazis in WWII. Obviously, the German government was Nazi based. However; many brave Germans gave their lives for the Fatherland, and they weren’t Nazis! That period in History saw the choice between much of the old and a promise of the future, but as a hinge pin in History, a lot of old feelings had to be put to rest. Alas, they are gaining momentum once again.

      • John Bibb January 22, 2018, 9:27 pm

        ***
        HI AM–I worked with an older engineer from Germany who was a physics student when he was drafted into the WW2 German Army. After his basic training he was put on an artillery crew in Russia. Later when the Army noticed his physics degree they made him a rocket plane pilot–he never actually had to fly one into an Allied bomber formation. He was transferred to radar controlled AA guns instead. At the end of the war he was picked up by the U.S. Army Paperclip(?) project that swept up technical German troops and took them to the U.S.A. to work on V-2 Missiles.
        ***
        He said that nobody ever had a choice. You did what you were told, or got taken out back and shot if you didn’t do so. He wasn’t a Nazi either. He was our Missile Motion Model expert on a White Sands Missile Range radar and missile simulation system. He died in his 90’s 2 decades ago.
        ***
        John Bibb
        ***

    • Patriot January 22, 2018, 8:42 am

      the man said “successfully invade”.which is correct,the Germans did not ‘SUCCESSFULLY” invade Russia,so get off your Liberal high horse and go back to brainwashing students,

      • Frank January 22, 2018, 8:59 am

        They did successfully invade, they didn’t successfully conquer. Maybe there’s something else you would like to share when you are not busy singing the Horst-Wessel Lied.

    • Capn Stefano January 22, 2018, 2:33 pm

      Mike, the author comes across as someone who got his WW2 history lesson from recent hollywierd movie abominations or a Marvel cartoon. It’s clear that he is so terrified of being considered a “nazi” by merely reporting on this rather inaccurate copy of a fine German tool of war that he had to prostrate himself morally, like a whipped puppy rolling onto his back

  • James January 21, 2018, 11:09 pm

    Michaels’ article is annoying from the start for its inexcusable ignorance. The Germans actually invaded the Soviet Union (“Russia”) and all three weapons he mentioned as developments of Hitler’s forces were either developed before or early in World War One. Where was the editor?

    • BobD January 22, 2018, 5:58 am

      Wholly concur on your assessment of the beginning of this article. I suspect if you ask any of the older Europeans what it was like to live in Europe prior to and during WWII they would have a much different assessment. The 13 million Russian soldiers killed during the years of the invasion would likewise disagree with Michaels’ assessment.

    • Jared Neirinckx January 22, 2018, 7:01 am

      Give the guy a break, his job is to review Firearms not teach history. Although he painted with a broad brush, he got the point across about the war and tied it into this article. “Inexcusable ignorance” – that’s just being inexcusably ignorant.

      • Capn Stefano January 22, 2018, 2:34 pm

        If his job was to do a gun report, why did he post that goofy PC historical revisionism as a preface?

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