The Swedish K and the Smith & Wesson M76
Invented by Gunnar Johnsson in 1945, the Carl Gustav M/45, AKA the “Swedish K” was a Swedish submachine gun prized for its incredible reliability and ruggedness. The Swedish K utilized the best design principles and features from various successful World War II designs such as the Russian PPsh 41, the German MP40, and the British Sten. As well as its ruggedness, the Swedish K noted for its simplicity and economy. Produced mainly from stamped metal and a 7.45lbs was also very light and compact, making it ideal for close quarters combat. It utilized a 36 round double stack magazine, the highest capacity magazine available at the time short of drum mags. Firing from an open bolt it had a cyclic firing rate of around 600 rounds per minute. While fully automatic only, it was very easy to pull the trigger without cycling the next round in order to achieve semi auto fire. Recoil was very modest, and could be easily managed with a foldout metal stock. By far the Swedish K’s greatest feature was its incredible reliability. Neither water, nor sand, nor dust, nor temperature extremes could jam up the works of the K. To aid in reliability, the K featured an interesting magazine design in which the rear of the mag was wider than the front, creating some extra room in the magazine allowing the cartridges to feed more efficiently without being hindered by particulates.
The Swedish K was adopted by the Swedish military and served in that capacity until the mid 1990′s. However the K was originally intended as an export arm, being exported for used by Algeria, Estonia, Indonesia, Ireland, Latvia, and Paraguay. An licensed copy was also produced by Egypt. Perhaps the most popular used was the United States. Upon word that the K was resistance to sand and could operate after being submerged in water, the K became popular among special forces in Vietnam, especially the newly created Navy SEALs. In 1966 Sweden embargo arms sales to the United States as a result over the Swedish government’s disapproval of the Vietnam War. The American’s said “be damned” and created their own clone, produced between 1967 and 1974 by Smith & Wesson and called the M76. Swedish production of the K continued until 1964 and the Egyptians ended production in 1970. Around 300,000 were produced.