The M3 was a workhorse submachine gun for the U.S. military from WWII until the early 90’s. It was a cheap and easy to produce replacement for the M1 Thompson during WWII chambered in the venerable .45 ACP cartridge. Nicknamed the “Grease Gun” because it looked like, well a grease gun.
Around 700,000 of the open bolt, blowback-operated M3s were made. It was first introduced in 1944 and was also issued during the Korean War, Vietnam War and was still in use by armored vehicles and truck drivers during the Gulf War. While the M3 has been replaced by most of its operators around the world, there’s one country’s military that still uses the trusty ol’ Grease Gun.
The Philippine Navy and Marine Corps needed a sub machine gun for their boarding parties and crews. The Uzi, M4 and Floro 9mm SMG were in the running but because of budget constraints they chose to upgrade their stocks of M3s as opposed to purchasing newer firearms. Dubbed the “M3 SpecOps Generation 2”, The Philippine Marine Corps armorers added weaver mounts, a Simmons red-dot to replace the stamped sights, a sling, new paint job and of course a suppressor. Not much known is about the suppressor that’s used on the M3 SpecOps Generation 2, it’s most likely a locally produced unit. A few were even nickel-plated and are used by guards at the Philippine Navy Headquarters, most likely for show, but probably to also combat rust in the tropical humid Philippine weather .
As a WWII history buff I think it’s actually pretty dang cool that these are still being used. Sure there are better submachine guns available, but if ain’t broke don’t fix it. Just add a suppressor and red dot. Check it out in action below, it’s pretty darn quiet!
[Images source: Timawa.net]