By Dean Roxby
The Umarex Legend MP is a surprisingly accurate rendition of a late model, World War II-era MP40. The first thing I noticed upon picking it up is the weight. This is made from metal, not hollow plastic! (Not steel, though. It does not hold a magnet.)
The Legend MP is a CO2-powered, full-auto, blowback operated BB gun. This high-quality BB gun is part of the Legend series from Umarex USA. This series features several different pistols and revolvers, and a Thompson M1A1, in addition to the MP40. Actually, the MP40 comes in two versions, one with a factory fresh appearance, and one with a weathered look. I opted for the weathered type.
After reading several great books about German submachine guns, Blitzkrieg: The MP40 Maschinenpistole of World War II by Frank Iannamico and The Schmeisser Myth: German Submachine Guns Through Two World Wars, I was eager to compare this gun to detailed photos of the real guns. I am impressed! Umarex has done a fine job of capturing this iconic weapon. I did not expect it to be indistinguishable from a real one, but it is pretty darn close! The BB viewport that runs down the front of the magazine is a dead giveaway, and the slot on the left side of the receiver for the charging handle is noticeably shorter. However, the receiver does have the continuation of the slot molded in, to simulate the correct appearance.
The Legends version also lacks all the many serial numbers, factory codes, and Waffenamt marks that the Germans were so fond of stamping into almost every part of their weapons. Although, it does have one tiny “ac” factory code mark on the left side of the magazine well. This is a private joke, as ac was the code for Walther during WWII. Now, as Walther owns Umarex, they took the liberty of adding their own factory code. However, Walther did not actually build any MP40s during WWII. As expected, it does have the Legends name and a true serial number on the right side, along with a safety warning in English. Not a big deal at all; but noted. I may add some stampings of my own later on but haven’t yet.
The forward sling mount should be on the right side as issued from the factory, but the Umarex gun has the mount on the left side. Fortunately, it is easy to reverse the sling mount bracket. (Here’s a good video that shows how.) It must be noted that the original gun could, and often did, have this bracket swapped from right to left side, so it is not technically wrong. It may well be that the sample gun that the Umarex engineers based their copy on was so altered. Speaking of the sling, the weathered version comes with a leather sling, while the factory fresh version does not include a sling. The booklet that comes with the gun is no use at all in setting up the sling, so here’s another helpful video.
The removable magazine holds 52 BBs, in comparison to the 32 rounds of 9mm that the original carried. It is a bit difficult to load, as the follower pushes back against the BBs while loading. It has a small tab to hold down, but it is a bit troublesome to work with. I made a tool of sorts out of wire and that helps somewhat. I tell myself that the original 9mm mag was also difficult to load as well…
The mag also holds the two 12-gram CO2 cylinders. Besides propelling the BBs, the CO2 also cycles the blowback action, creating a back and forth cycling movement. It is this blow-back action that really puts a smile on my face!
Unlike the real powder-burner, the CO2 version has a Safe/Semi/Full selector switch. This is well hidden underneath, just in front of the trigger guard. I checked the full-auto cyclic rate with a cellphone app IPSC shot counter. The splits between shots averaged about 0.20 seconds, or five per second, giving a cyclic rate of around 300 RPM. This is with fresh CO2 cylinders, as it slows down noticeably as the cylinders empty.
Velocity is in the 430 to 460 FPS range, depending on BB weight and air temperature. CO2 guns are very temperature sensitive, gaining about 2 FPS for each degree F rise in temperature. And a similar drop in velocity on a cold day can be expected.
Accuracy is a relative thing, and with BB guns having a smooth bore (and therefore no spin stabilizing of the projectile) pinpoint accuracy is not to be expected. Having said that, accuracy is pretty good by BB gun standards. Empty soda cans are not safe within 10 or 15 yards!
In addition to the Thompson M1A1 and the two versions of MP40, Umarex also has an M3 “grease gun”. And who knows, perhaps there might be a few more subguns added in the future. I would love to see a Sten gun and a PPSh-41 added to the line-up. Or maybe an M.P. 38 with its distinctive milled receiver. And perhaps an early M1928A1 “Tommy gun” with a 50-round drum mag. A drum mag could hold a lot of BBs, and maybe even extra CO2 cylinders… I am just wishing out loud here, I do not know what else is planned.
For $240 for the base model (The weathered look is $267.50 and includes a sling.) this is a fun little gun at a great price. Combined with a good book on the subject, this makes a great combo.