View Full Version : What are the best techniques for controlling an SMG?

June 26, 2002, 02:52 PM
I FINALLY got to shoot my first full auto last Sunday. It was a 1928 style Thompson. It was SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO much fun! I was having no trouble knocking down some pepper poppers with bursts or by feathering off a single round. So what are some good techniques for controlling a 3-8 round burst? I didn't have much trouble hitting what I was aiming at but I just want to better my technique. Do you keep your elbows out? in? How do you position your body? Do you lean forward? Etc. Thanks in advance.

June 26, 2002, 04:01 PM
I like to look at it like using a hose. If you relax and go with it, you will have much better results. If you tense up and try to make it do what you want, it will tend to run up and to the right (if your right handed), at least it works that way for me. You kind of just ride the thing. You will be amazed at the results you will get. As for stance, just get a comfortable stance with a little forward lean, and again, relax, dont tense up. If you want a fun and challenging little drill, try loading a mag with 10 rounds, then in one burst on full auto, put them all on a 10" paper plate at 15 yards. I just wish they'd let me shoot at that damned red star at the fair with my MP5. :D

June 28, 2002, 09:11 AM
I was taught to use short bursts with my M-16A1, never shoot fromt he hip and control your fire with your eyes open (you would be amazed to see how many people actually close their eyes when firing a full auto anything!).

But my old man was a Coastie in WWII and they issued them Thompson's with the old drum mags. The story I got from one of his buddies was that when they were qualifying on the range with the Thompsons, every guy there was shooting anti aircraft after four or five rounds, except my Dad.

He cut the center out of the target ... at first the instructor thought maybe it was because he grew up in Chicago during the 30's, then the Bosun spotted him standing on one end the sling he had unclipped.

Unorthodox and not really useful in real life but apparently effective on the range.

Don P.

June 28, 2002, 10:16 AM
You want to use a position that allows for recoil management. Let me see if I can describe it. HK calls it the CQB position. You stand leaned over, almost as if you will fall over after the gun is dry. Leaned over enough that your butt sticks out. Your feet are about shoulder width apart, even with each other, knees bent, on weight on the front of the feet. Elbows are tucked in tight, and the gun is tight on the body. Front hand rests on the foregrip, not the magazine.
It is easier to demonstrate than describe, like most things. This is a photo of the stance, sorry about the quality, darned camera.
As for bursts, find the sweet spot in the trigger. Once you get that, it's a cinch. You have to find the right amount of trigger pressure and listen to the rounds go.

June 28, 2002, 02:30 PM
Feet, knees, hips, shoulders square to the target, strong foot dropped slightly to the rear; a little bit of knee bend with the weight of the upper body transferred forward over the balls of the feet. The best way to accomplish this is to roll the shoulders forward of the hips. The toe of the weapon's stock mounted high on the pectoral muscle and as close to center line on your body as you can. Elbows down, weapon pulled into the body mount with the master hand, support hand grasps the handguard and offering vertical support to the weapon.

With a Thompsoin or standard MP5 the rate of fire is slow enough that you should be able to hear and 'feel' the weapon cycling. With enough practice you can release the pressure on the trigger as you hear or feel the next to last round of your desired burst cycle. Single round and burst of three rounds are typically the most difficult to achieve, initially, in managing the trigger in select fire mode. Doubles are easier as are longer bursts though with the latter, unless you're locked in to your platform, accuracy will decline.

June 28, 2002, 04:21 PM
On an SMG with a forward handgrip * (such as the Beretta 12 or the M1928 Thompson), start with your hand loosely grasping the forward grip with the elbow perpendicular to your body. Now twist your arm inward, bringing your elbow in close to your body. Flex your wrist inward as well. Now your support hand is holding the grip with a lot of torque, which provides stability.

* this refers to a pistol-style forward grip and not a typical style stock.

edit: Here's a pic of that style grip:


June 28, 2002, 09:31 PM
Might check out the Paladin Press site and see if they've still got the old WWII gunnery manuals. They have pictures to add to the verbal descriptions already given.

Johnny Guest
July 3, 2002, 03:19 PM
When Bill Toney (?) was an instructor with Border Patrol, there was a demonstration at the range in El Paso--

He fired both from high hip (underarm) position and from the shoulder and did some real magic with short bursts--two to four rounds. He rested the fore grip, either vertical or horizontal, or the magazine, on the open palm, and allowed the Cutts Compensator hold the gun down. He showed that a full 20-round mag can be kept on a silhouette target at 50 feet, using this technique.

Later, in a magazine article, Toney was quoted as saying that most people take a death grip on the fore end, and the recoil lifts the muzzle anyway. This tight hold just keeps the muzzle at the higher position, and subsequent rounds lead to some pretty spectacular muzzle climb. Resting fore end or magazine on the open palm allows the gasses directed upward from the comp to drop the gun back onto the open hand.

This technique is depicted in the old movie, "The FBI Story," starring James Stewart. The agents are shown on the range shooting vertical-foregripped 1928 guns with the 30-round magazines in just this manner.

Of course, it is not necessary to have the hand opened flat, but you should NOT grab ahold and try to keep the muzzle down by brute force. A partly closed hand is okay, but, as noted above, the shooter should RELAX the forward hand.

I have taught this technique to people who have never fired a submachine gun. In under 50 rounds, they can keep short bursts on target at 20 to 30 feet.

The same procedure works, though not as well, with non-compensated Thompsons. I have yet to find ANYTHING that works for accurate full auto fire with an M2 carbine. There, you use semi for hits, full auto for sound effects. :p


July 4, 2002, 05:42 AM
Wow, can't believe no one here's mentioned the current issue of SWAT magazine, they have a very good article on Carbine Manipulation Tips :

"When it comes to gunhandling, myths and misinformation abound. In this feature renown trainer Pat Rogers not only dispels those myths, but provides useful, practical tips to help enable you to become a better shot with the magazine-fed carbine."

Much of the same info is applicable for SMGs. Good read!