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The Forgotten Finn: The Jatimatic SMG - 9mm Parabellum

The Finns have had a long history of gun manufacture, and many of high quality. M39 Mosins, Suomi SMG’s, Valmet rifles, all of these have been successes in both the Finnish Military and abroad. But one that’s forgotten is a SMG design from Finland. The Jatimatic.

Designed by Jali Timari and made by Tampereen Asepaja Oy and later Oy Golden Gun Ltd, the Jatimatic was a basic idea for a PDW style of submachinegun, intended for tank and helicopter crews, VIP protection and so on. The basic idea was straight blowback 9mm SMG, using an idea of an inclined ramp where the bolt travels up then down when cycling to minimize recoil, an idea borrowed from the French MAS 38.

The Jatimatic was an interesting design, but had flaws. The most notable is the lack of a stock, opting for a one piece sling. This kept it tight out of the military market, especially after it’s disassembly was built around the sling swivel. The gun’s takedown process began with moving the sling swivel, so it could on firing be pulled down, spilling out the gun’s guts.

This killed it’s military appeal, and a theft of 22 guns in 1984 from the shop led to the Jatimatic earning a rather infamous appeal. It failed two different Finnish Military tests, and the gun went out of production in 1986.

To cinema goers, the Jatimatic’s a relatively uncommon sight. To recoup costs, the Jatimatic’s manufacturer would rent it out to film productions for a cost. This led to a couple action movies featuring the Jatimatic. The two most famous are John Milius’s Red Dawn, where it’s carried by Soviet officer  Colonel Strelnikov as a substitute for the PM-63. 

It’s most famous usage was by Sylvester Stallone in Cobra. There, Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cobretti is armed with two weapons, a modified Colt Gold Cup National Match, and a Jatimatic SMG. If that wasn’t enough, he also has it fitted with a very early model Surefire laser sight.

If that wasn’t enough, comic fans know the Finnish SMG due to it’s heavy usage by DC Comic’s vigilante Wild Dog. Following the story of Jack Wheeler, former college football star and former US Marine, following his girlfriend’s murder at the hands of a local Mafia, he begins a streak of vigilante killings, armed with ballistic vests, electrified chock gloves, and a Jatimatic.

And that’s the short tale of the Jatimatic, a design with some promise killed by some rather bad design decisions. Had it be fitted with a different takedown procedure and folding stock, it could’ve gone somewhere. But it didn’t pan out that way, and the Jatimatic has faded into relative obscurity, showing up now and then on the illegal gun market and film.