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Old October 13, 2004, 08:43 AM   #1
czmatt
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Difference between Sub-Machinegun and a Machine gun

Alot of you might think this is a silly question, But I was wondering if someone could fill me in on the difference between a sub-machine gun, and a machine gun. I havnt had any exposure to these types of gun.

If I had to guess, Sub being a prefix for small or below, I would say that a sub machine gun is smaller than a machine gun, but that doesnt sound right. Or maybe it shoots slower than a machine gun. but, i have no clue. Thanks!
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Old October 13, 2004, 09:04 AM   #2
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I may be wrong but I always assumed (and we not what that'll get ya) that they followed the same criteria as a short barrelled weapon. Now I know the barrel length law came out way after SMG's were produced but I'm just saying that it's along the same lines and an SMG is shorter than XX inches...I'm jst not sure what that measurement may be....
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Old October 13, 2004, 09:18 AM   #3
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Sub guns are typically pistol caliber machine guns. Of course, they also tend to be cabine or smaller as well.
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Old October 13, 2004, 10:49 AM   #4
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The difference USED to be pistol vs rifle cartridge

The line has become a litle blurred since Colt began calling the short, full auto M16 (XM177E2, etc.) a submachine gun.

Trivia - - the Brits used to call their examples "machine carbines." Then they began using the terminology "Sub-machinegun," as opposed to the US useage, "Submachine gun." I'll go with the term used by Col. Thompson, arguably the inventor. He had a working example, the Model 1919, which was so marked. Yup, the Germans had their limited-production MP18, a "machine pistol" in their lexicon, and the Brits followed with the Lanchester "machine carbine."

I don't think barrel length really has that much to do with the SMG terminology (Colt's nomenclature notwithstanding. )

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Old October 13, 2004, 06:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
The line has become a litle blurred since Colt began calling the short, full auto M16 (XM177E2, etc.) a submachine gun.
The HK53 doesn't help that problem any, either.
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Old October 13, 2004, 11:01 PM   #6
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Right , barrel length really doesn't have anything to do with SMG terminology. With that said, however, since most are primary pistol calibers and those calibers designed and loaded for short barrels, SMGs tend to have the shorter barrels. For many calibers, extra barrel length often adds little to the velocity and in some cases can result in reduced velocity as compared to short barrels. So the reference to shorter barrels/carbine setups was meant as a correlating attribute, not defining terminology.
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Old October 15, 2004, 11:00 PM   #7
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typically sub= pistol caliber
machine gun can be almost any full auto gun as a "common" term
a real machine gun would be qualified by Light, medium, or heavy...plus there are all kinds of variations...

it's like a "subset" problem..

All full auto that shoots rifle or pistol, or sub caliber rounds are machine guns...
then there are the machien guns based on mount type, crew, capability "normally a "weight" issue heavy, medium, light, then the rifle caliber battle rifles, assault rifles, sub guns, pdw guns, machine pistols....
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Old October 16, 2004, 05:10 AM   #8
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Here is an intersting link ( very famous in fact ) talking about military Handgun, SMG, Assault Rifle, Machine Gun,...
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Old October 16, 2004, 11:39 PM   #9
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In general, a submachine gun fires a pistol cartridge; and is supported by hand. A machine gun fires a rifle cartridge.
A light machine gun fires a rifle cartridge, and is supported by a bipod. A heavy machine gun fires a rifle cartridge, and is supported by a tripod or electrically powered mechanical mount.
By BATFE definitions, they are ALL machine guns.
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Old October 22, 2004, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
A light machine gun fires a rifle cartridge, and is supported by a bipod. A heavy machine gun fires a rifle cartridge, and is supported by a tripod or electrically powered mechanical mount.
Sort of...
A m249 SAW is a light machine gun, 5.56mm and is generally shot from a bipod, however it can easily be mounted to the same tripod a m240G uses.
The 240G is a medium machinegun 7.62X51mm. It has a built in bipod, but for better results it is used with a tripod. The M-2 .50BMG is a heavy MG that is fired from a tripod or mount.
Notice that almost all military MG are crew served. The exception of course would be SF, door gunners, and such. Subguns are obviously not crew served.
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Old October 22, 2004, 05:44 PM   #11
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Ok this is my opoin so dont jump on me.

I always thought that a SMG shot somthing with less range and power. A machine gun is one with the range of a rifle and the rate of fire over per say 500 rpm.
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Old October 22, 2004, 11:16 PM   #12
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It has nothing to do with RPM.
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Old October 25, 2004, 08:43 PM   #13
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SMGs are generally pistol caliber short barrel weapons capable of selective fire.

Machine guns are generally rifle caliber weapons capable of full auto fire.

Like Johnny said, the distinction became blurred. With the introduction of the full automatic rifle (sturmgewehr) and the intermediate cartridge guns have evolved greatly since the 29" barrel (or so) rifles of WW I. Still the predominant definition for SMG is selective fire weapon that is chambered for a pistol caliber cartridge.
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Old October 27, 2004, 04:02 AM   #14
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My always assumed definition

Machine gun: Fully automatic

Sub Machine gun: Fully automatic in pistol caliber

Light Machine gun: Fully automatic in Rifle caliber

Heavy Machine gun: Fully automatic in .50 BMG or larger caliber

However I can find an example and an exception to every one of these definitions,

So I just want this SUV and gun and I'll be Happy, LMFAO!
I love this:
For best results right click and select "Save Target As..." then just put it on your desktop or something and play, it plays much better that way.

http://www.bsg-dornier.de/schiessen/...ry/minigun.wmv

Notice theirs no recoil, his hands aren't even moving, be sure to keep watching they reload and keep going till there's no rubber left on that car!
Now thats My
Definition of a Machine gun!!!!!
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Old November 29, 2004, 02:19 AM   #15
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A machine gun is what is commonly called a heavy machine gun these days. An M-60 or SAW is a machine gun. An M-16, Ak, or MP5 are all sub-machine guns.

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Old November 29, 2004, 06:42 AM   #16
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The M-16 is not a submachine gun. It fires a rifle caliber.

How is it that select fire is a defining criterion for submachine guns?
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Old December 3, 2004, 01:06 AM   #17
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Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. I submachine gun uses pistol ammo.

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Old December 3, 2004, 08:02 PM   #18
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Ak isn't a sub gun either. It is also a rifle and a d&nm good one too.
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Old December 3, 2004, 08:59 PM   #19
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Sub Machine gun = da littler ones...

Machine gun = da big ones

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Old December 8, 2004, 01:40 AM   #20
alan
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Sub machine gun, full automatic or selective fire weapon chambered for a pistol round.

Machinegun, a full automatic weapon, perhaps selective fire, chambered for the full power service rifle round, or in the case of the U.S. M2, a larger caliber round.
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Old December 23, 2004, 06:07 PM   #21
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M249

M249's are "crew-served" but in reality they aren't. In the Air Force, we used them with the 200 round box that mounted under the reciever, and the only "crew support" was the poor soul that had to lug his extra ammo boxes/spare barrel. They have been fired from the standing position, but that was in a training CQB situation (and quite cool, btw). Its a versatile weapon, thats for sure. It even has a magazine slot for m-16 mags (highly advised against, jam-o-matic). I just never really understood the reason for having a SAW and then making someone carry a spare barrel, and also have M240s (we did), as the m240 is a "heavier weapon" not in the sense of being weighty, but because it fired 7.62. They are quite heavy, btw (29 lb, unloaded I believe). In my experience, SAWs come into their own for quick suppression fire, and times when large volumes of continueous fire are needed, but mobility is paramount. Neithor of these situations really give time for barrel changes, etc.
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Old December 23, 2004, 06:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
The line has become a litle blurred since Colt began calling the short, full auto M16 (XM177E2, etc.) a submachine gun.
A short, light fully automatic rifle is an 'assault rifle'. I think that an SMG has to shoot pistol cartridges.
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Old December 24, 2004, 06:28 PM   #23
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The "official weight" fluctuates between 24.6 and 25.4 lbs. on the M-240G
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Old December 24, 2004, 07:49 PM   #24
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Meek and Mild:

A SMG is an automatic weapon, chambered for a pistol cartridge, you got that right.

As to the following, "A short, light fully automatic rifle is an 'assault rifle'", boo. The proper definition is as follows. Assault Weapon: Selective fire weapon, usually of rifle configuration, chambered for an intermediate power cartridge.

Intermediate power cartridge being less powerful than the full power service rifle round, but more powerful than the service pistol cartridge. In it's day, the M-1 or M-2 Carbine round, same thing, was that Intermediate Power Cartridge, and the M-2 Carbine could properly been described as an Assault Rifle, in that it was a selective fire weapon, chambered for that intermediate power round. It was not so described, as I recall.
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Old December 25, 2004, 10:44 AM   #25
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The term "Sub-Machine Gun" was first coined by Thompson, meaning an automatic weapon firing cartridges less than .30 caliber. This is still the basic rule of thumb, with the cut off for the "sub" being 5.56mm. Of course there have been many new weapons developed and new definitions created or broadened including terms such as "light machine gun."

I'll stick with the original entry into the lexicon.
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