The PPs-43 Submachine Gun,
The Soviet PPSh-41 was an excellent weapon, so much so that it has become an iconic Soviet weapon of World War II. However the PPSh-41 still had some flaws and needed further refinement. For example its blisteringly fast 800 round per minute rate of fire quickly exhausted a 35 round magazine, thus it worked best with a large, heavy, and unreliable 71 round magazine. The PPSh-41 was heavy for a submachine gun at 8 pounds. Finally, while the PPSh-41 was easy to mass produce, the Soviet government wanted a submachine gun that was even quicker to produce using less resources, machining hours, and skilled manpower.
In 1942 a Russian officer named Lt. I.K. Bezruchko-Vysotsky invented the design which would provide the basis for the PPs-43. The design would be adopted by the firearms designer Alexei Sudayev, who improved upon it with an emphasis in simplifying it for mass production. The first prototypes were tested in Spring of 1942, and the weapon was adopted as the PPs-42. Later Sudayev improved upon the design further, which was again adopted as the PPs-43.
Like the PPSh-41, the PPs-43 was chambered for the 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge. However several changes were made that created a much different submachine gun. First and foremost, whereas the PPSh-41 used a simple wooden stock, the PPs-43 used a collapsible metal stock. The PPs-43 made extensive used of stamped metal rather than machined parts. Thus machining time of the PPs-43 was only 2.7 hours whereas machining time for the PPSh-41 was 7.3 hours. The PPs-43 utilized a blowback operated action which fired with an open bolt. Rate of fire was purposely decreased to 500-600 rounds per minute, a significant decrease from the the 800 RPM of the PPSh-41. Thus, the PPs-43 was only issued with a double stack 35 round magazine. Fire was in fully automatic only, and a stamped metal recoil compensator was attached to the muzzle to decrease recoil and muzzle climb. Overall, the PPs-43 was much lighter and economical than the PPSH-41, weighing 1.5 pounds lighter.
During World War II, the Soviet Union was the king of submachine guns, producing 6 million PPSH’s alone. PPs numbers are impressive as well, with 2 million being produced by the end of the war. Like the PPSH, German forces often used captured PPs’, using the German 7.63x25 Mauser cartridge. Production ended in 1946 due to an oversupply of submachine guns after the war. As a result, thousands were shipped to other communist nations such as China, North Korea, Vietnam, and the eastern European Soviet Bloc countries. A modified copy called the M/44 was also manufactured by Finland and chambered for 9mm Para.