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The MP30, also known as the Maschinenpistole 30, is a historical submachine gun with a remarkable service history that spans multiple decades and countries. Initially manufactured by Waffenfabrik Steyr as the Steyr-Solothurn S1-100, it was adopted by the Austria Police in 1930 as the Steyr MP30, chambered for the then-standard Austrian 9x23mm Steyr pistol rounds. Four years later in 1934 it was adopted by the Austrian as the MP-34. The only major differences between the MP30 and MP34 is the cartridge and the stock. The MP30 had a ‘Fishtail’ shaped stock while the MP34 boasted a traditional pattern rifle stock.  However, its use extended far beyond Austrian borders. Later, units of the German Army and the Waffen SS also utilized this firearm during World War II, and some forces continued using it until the 1970s due to its exceptional craftsmanship and reliability.

The MP30's origins can be traced back to a design for the MP 19 by Rheinmetall, a company based in Düsseldorf. The weapon's design shares similarities with the MP 18 Bergmann, which saw service towards the end of World War I. However, the development of the MP30 faced significant obstacles due to the restrictions imposed on the manufacturing of certain armaments within the Treaty of Versailles. Specifically, Germany was forbidden from producing light automatic firearms with barrels exceeding four inches and magazines holding more than eight rounds. To circumvent this treaty, Rheinmetall acquired the Swiss company Waffenfabrik Solothurn in 1929 and initiated secret production of a prototype. This prototype, which was initially designated as 'S1-100' following the company's standard naming convention, would eventually evolve into the MP30.

The intricate production process and the high-quality materials used in the MP30's manufacturing resulted in an exceptionally well-made weapon. It was so impeccably crafted that it earned the nickname "Rolls-Royce of submachine guns." However, the attention to detail and the high standards came at a cost, as the production expenses for the MP30 were considerably high.

Operating as a selective-fire weapon, the MP30 offered the option for single shots or fully automatic fire. It featured a sliding fire selector switch on the left-hand side of the stock, marked by letters 'E' and 'D,' for single shot and full-auto firing modes, Its blowback operation with an open bolt made it relatively easy to clean and maintain. The wooden stock housed the return spring, linked to the bolt via a long push rod, which made the weapon's design more user-friendly for maintenance purposes. The hinged top cover allowed easy access to the bolt and trigger assembly, simplifying cleaning procedures.

Early production models had a Schmeisser-style bolt-locking safety, which proved to be unsafe. Later variants included a manual safety on the top cover, positioned just in front of the rear sight, offering both cocked and closed positions.

The weapon's magazine housing was angled slightly forward to improve cartridge feeding and prevent jams. It could accommodate 32- or 20-round box magazines fed in from the left side. The same magazine housing incorporated a magazine refilling feature, allowing an empty magazine to be inserted from underneath and locked in place. From above, stripper clips of eight rounds each could be fed into the magazines, providing flexible reloading options.

The MP30's overall design also included a wooden stock with a semi-pistol grip, offering comfortable handling during use. The barrel was enclosed in a perforated cooling jacket, while a bayonet-fixing lug was present on the right-hand side. The firearm was equipped with front and rear rifle-type sights, with the latter marked from 100 to 500 meters for accurate aiming. Additionally, some versions of the MP30 were adaptable to a detachable tripod, allowing it to be used as a machine gun, further showcasing its versatility.

With the 1938 Anschluss between Germany and Austria, the German Army acquired most available MP30s and MP34s. Some were re-barrelled to chamber 9x19mm ammunition and issued to German troops as the MP34(ö) – Maschinenpistole 34 österreichisch (literally "Machine-pistol 34, Austrian"). Production of the MP34 ceased in mid-1940, as manufacturing lines at Steyr shifted to the more straightforward and cheaper-to-produce MP40 submachine gun. Although the MP30 had a relatively short combat service once quantities of the MP38 became available, some units of the Waffen SS used MP34s during the early stages of the war in Poland and France. Later on, it was allocated to security and reserve units, including military police and Feldgendarmerie detachments.

For more information visit : Part I Austrian MP.30 SMG and Austrian MP.30 SMG: Part 2.

Origin: Austria
Manufactured: 1929-1940
Manufacturer: Waffenfabrik Steyr

Type: Submachine Gun

Caliber: 9x23mm Steyr
Barrel Length: 200mm (7.9")
Action: Open Bolt Blowback

Magazine Capacity: 20, 32 Round Detachable Box Magazine


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