Semi-Automatic Versions of Vintage Machine Guns – The Next Best Thing
Michigan –-(Ammoland.com)- Certain collectible guns bring out that “wow” factor.
This is especially true of the vintage firearms from the Soviet Union that helped turn back the Nazi invaders and were carried by soldiers of the Red Army during the so-called Great Patriotic War.
Of course actually trying to obtain a live firing version of the infamous PPSh-41 submachine gun, or DP-28 light machinegun can be no small challenge.
Non-firing versions of both guns were once fairly common, but have since dried up. However, some of those old parts kits have been used to good effect by skilled gunsmiths such as Brennen Noble of Military Gun Supply, who has converted those into semi-automatic versions. The results are guns that are chambered for the original wartime ammunition yet are generally legal to own wherever semi-autos can be owned. These truly are the next best thing to have a wartime full-auto version, and Brennen took the time to answer a few questions.
FirearmsTruth: Semi-automatic version of famous machine guns seems to be growing in popularity. Why do you believe this to be the case?
Brennen Noble: The famous machine guns from wars past have always been a fascination for many people. Movies and games have been getting better at accurately portraying old military weapons and have helped close the generation gap, getting younger people into the older guns as well. I think as more people begin to see an attainable version of these desirable military relics, people begin to realize what it possible and they will only continue to grow in popularity and demand.
FirearmsTruth: What are the more popular semi-automatic conversions?
Brennen Noble: The PPSH-41 and PPS-43 have been very popular for us. The pricing is mid-range as far as semi-auto recreations are concerned, and the pricing and availability of surplus 7.62×25 has always been a huge selling point for these guns. The same goes for our DP-28, which runs like a Rolex and eats inexpensive ammunition. The Suomi carbines by TG and the “Colefire” Sterling recreations by Wise Lite Arms have also seen a lot of popularity. Bren guns and RPDs are pretty popular for the DIY guys also.
FirearmsTruth: Are there any guns that you'd like to bring out in the future?
Brennen Noble: Oh boy! What wouldn't we like to bring out? We do not have any current active plans for other semi-automatic conversions at this time. There is a reason that it has taken a long time for the semi-autos to catch on despite the several that have come out and failed over the years. The amount of trial and error, blood, sweat, and tears required to bring these back to life in semi-automatic form that can function reliably is astounding. Not only that, but you have to develop a solution that is practical on the production level.
Keeping the correct “look” is also a hurdle, but is absolutely paramount because that's the whole idea behind them. People love these guns because they are recognizable and well known. People see these guns in movies and video games and it's the cool factor of “Oh WOW, that's a Pa-pa-shaw like in Enemy at the Gates!” or “HOLY COW I saw one of these in Defiance!” It's a conversation piece and attention getter at the gun range. People enjoy that.
FirearmsTruth: Are you seeing more newly made semi-automatic firearms, or are many of these built on original “fully automatic” parts kits?
Brennen Noble: One of the things that makes any semi-auto reproduction a good candidate for large-scale production is that the parts kits are out there and you can use a lot of the original parts like the buttstocks, sights, etc. A 100 percent reproduction would cost more to produce and have less value to the market because it loses its authenticity. Some of the details on these guns would be very hard to reproduce, like the specific feel and color of the wood used in the real thing. You can also see original proof marks and other things that add character and really remind you that you're holding a piece of history in your hands.
FirearmsTruth: Given the limited number of parts kits do you believe these have a limited number for collectors?
Brennen Noble: Absolutely. There are already kits out there that have gone dry. Our KP-44 pistol is a good example of that. The kits are gone and once we sell out, we're not going to have any more. I've watched RPK and PKM kits pretty much vanish, Galil kits are gone. It does happen and these are not unlimited.
FirearmsTruth: While the semi-automatic versions of some of the firearms, such as the DP-28 or PPSh- 41, are a great alternative to the full-automatic versions, are you seeing that new restrictions are making even these difficult for some to own – such as California residents?
Brennen Noble: Absolutely. The biggest obstacle we come across is magazine capacity. States that allow pre-ban high capacity magazines are appreciated in these instances, but that's a pretty silly law to begin with. Another problem you run into is obscure requirements like weight restrictions on pistols, or overall length restrictions on rifles which means we have to weld folding stocks open before shipping a gun out, etc. It's unfortunate that everyone can't enjoy these firearms, but we do try to accommodate customers in those States and make necessary modifications so they can own one if possible.
FirearmsTruth: Do you think there will be greater restrictions on some semi-automatic firearms? And while these are a gray area in regards to assault weapons, would you agree that the truth is that these are often impractical compared to other commercially available firearms at least to the badguys out there?
Brennen Noble: You don't usually see restrictions reducing; they generally only tend to get tighter. Many semi-auto reproductions do not meet any of the criteria of the “assault weapon” definition except for the magazine capacity. Clunky WWII guns are far from concealable. Inversely, they are also not well suited for self-defense.
Not to go off-topic, but let's face it, instead of controlling guns we should be controlling CRIME and preventing the conditions that breed criminal activity. Gun crime might go down if guns are banned, but violent crime will skyrocket. If not a gun, a knife. If not a knife, a hammer.
Thank you to Brennen Noble for talking with us.
Peter Suciu is executive editor of FirearmsTruth.com, a website that tracks and monitors media bias against guns and our Second Amendment rights. Visit: FirearmsTruth.com