By James L. Ballou
When discussion turns to the “best of the best” Class Three weapons, the Swedish “K” is usually at or near the top of the List. It is known as the Carl Gustav, M-45 B, or Swedish K. The K stands for Kulsprute Pistol, which roughly translated from the Swedish means “bullet spurter”. This superb design was the result of excellent engineering and production at the Carl Gustufs Stads Gevarsfakturi at Eskilstuna, Sweden in the Post WWII years. (Carl Gustav is the name given to every King of Sweden, sort of like the Phantom or “Ghost Who Walks”, this also makes the Monograms much easier.)
In the 1950’s the export contracts for the “K” were very good for the Swedes. They sold a large quantity to the Egyptians, and eventually installed the equipment in one of the Egyptian’s factories in order to built them in-country. These are the “Port Said” (Sa-eed) models. Port Said is a major seaport city at the head of the Suez Canal. In 1952 the Egyptians overthrew the Monarchy of King Farouk and established the United Arab Republic; and placed in power an obscure Army Officer named Gamal Nassar. At this time they began to produce weapons for themselves, though still relying heavily on Swedish engineers.
I came to know this excellent weapon when I worked for the ill-fated Viking Program of Weapons System in Malden Massachusetts. Once, Bertil Johansson was brought over from Aimpoint in Sweden. Bert brought many interesting pieces with him, including the Swedish magazine; undoubtedly the finest magazine system in the world today. It feeds 36 rounds of 9mm as smoothly and reliable as any box feed system ever designed. The truncated body allows easy acquisition in the dark. Many other submachine gun designers have copied this format, or made actual “Clones” for their own submachine guns.
The elegance of the Swedish design is that there are elements of the crude Sten and sophistication of the MP-40 series, with the simplicity of wood and steel. The only anachronism in the design is a silly appendage for the attachment of a bayonet found only on the M-45C.
There are two main variations of the Port Said; the first being a direct copy of the M-45B. The other, not commonly seen, is a simplified version utilizing a crude collapsible wire stock. The one feature that endeared the m-45 B to the CIA was a sturdy man sized folding stock that remained rigid when opened.
The modified or simplified M-45 has an unshrouded 6” barrel, this variation is known as the AKABA.
I have what could be called a hybrid Swedish K/Port Said. It is definitely a mismatched gun. How does one tell? Quite simple, the Swedish guns have the Crown and C denoting national production. The parts are all numbered in Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3, etc. All of the Port Said parts are numbered in Farsi, and Arab language quite indistinguishable to western eyes. The Port Said in most of the photos accompanying this article is an original all Egyptian.
The Swedish guns are finished in high quality blue or in many cases a forest green so familiar to veterans of SouthEast Asia.
Now don’t get me wrong- my Swedish K/Port Said is still the most accurate and controllable SMG that I own. This gun cost me $189.00. Purchasing one today will cost you ten times that- plus! Original transferable guns are hard to come by- Wilson Arms registered a small quantity of receivers for these guns before the 1986 machine gun ban (Ban on manufacture for private ownership), and Recon Ordnance still has some that have been manufactured into complete transferable machine guns by gunsmith Stan Andrewski. There are some pre-86 dealer sample guns around, and occasionally some importer brings in a few for law enforcement use- they are very accurate and reliable, and make a fine submachine gun for a department on a tight budget. A few moments at the range comparing ease of use and accuracy of bullet placement with submachine guns that cost 5 times as much will quickly convince many doubters.
My favorite trick is to empty one entire 36 round magazine into a NRA B-2 target at 21 feet and have one large hole eliminating the black entirely. It is not hard to do, and the accuracy potential is there. It is my gun of choice for introducing novice shooters to the wonderful world of Class Three. In fact, this is the first SMG my wife Pat ever shot. It is safe, slow, reliable, and super accurate.
There are at least three variations of the Swedish K and two of the Port Said.
The M-45 B has an improved end cap and a removable magazine housing that when removed, allows use of the 50 round Suomi M-37 magazine, or the 71 round drums.
Specifications of M-45/Port Said
Caliber: 9mm (packed in 36 round boxes)
Magazine: Detachable box
Mag Capacity: 36 cartridges
OA Length: 31.8”, Folded 21.70”
Weight: 9.25 # Loaded
Cyclic Rate: 550-600 RPM
Type of Fire: Automatic only – slow rate allows singles.
Types of Action: A P I Blowback
Sights: Front Adjustable Post Rear Three Step Notch
The Suomi 50 Rd 4 column magazine alone and installed
AN INTERESTING ACCESSORY
One of the neat accessories Bertil Johansson brought with him was a combination Blank Firing/ sub caliber training Barrel.
If you have ever seen the movie “Invasion USA” with Chuck Norris, you have seen this device, but do you know its secret? It has a bulbous appendage buried in of all things, a flash hider. But how many of you know that this is removable to reveal a 5-mm sub caliber training barrel for barracks practice?
There are two types of blanks available for the Swedish K type submachine guns. One has a red plastic bullet and the other black plastic bullet. Imbedded in the red plastic is a 5-mm steel ball.
Indoors at 21 feet, the weapon fires in the full auto mode, and tiny holes appear on the target to point of aim at 25 meters. The smell of burning plastic permeates the air. The plastic bullet disintegrates about 5 meters from the muzzle. When functioning as blanks, the bulbous appendage would not only contain the steel pellets, but also the shredded plastic sabots.
I only had a fifty of each to fire and they both had the same recoil and accuracy. There was a lot of flash from the ejection part but fun to fire nevertheless.
The next time you see this in a movie you will be “in the know”.
MY WIFE’S FAVORITE MACHINE GUN;
The Swedish K series of submachine guns have a well-deserved reputation for controllability. Those of you who are married and want a good shooter for your wife to learn with, or a submachine gun to shoot together at the range- this might be just the one. It’s inexpensive, very controllable, a real pleasure to shoot. I am fortunate that my wife enjoys shooting, but the Port Said / K is certainly her favorite!
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N1 (October 1997)|