The FNAB Model 1943 achieved only modest production totals during World War 2 (1939-1945) and added to the variable stock of submachine gun (SMG) types used by the Italians in the conflict. A delayed blowback system of operation was selected for the action while chambering was in 9x19mm Parabellum feeding from a 20- or 40-round detachable box magazine. About 7,000 examples were produced by Fabbrica Nazionale d'Armi di Brescia (FNAB) of Italy from 1944 to 1945 and these found their way into the hands of operators from the Italian Social Republic, Italian Resistance forces and Nazi Germany before the end.
Brescia opted for a rather expensive milling and machining route which was interesting considering the wartime situation in Italy come 1943. The Parabellum cartridge was a no-brainer as it was a widely available pistol round and proven for submachine gun-type weapons. The deep magazines provided the operator with a considerable ammunition load, particularly when utilizing the 40-round count. Rate-of-fire reached 400 rounds-per-minute with muzzle velocity peaking at 1,250 feet per second. Sighting was through a front-and-rear iron arrangement.
The shoulder stock was wired which added little weight to the weapon and it was also hinged at the receiver butt to fold over the weapon when not needed - thus reducing the weapon's profile considerably when on-the-march or in transport. The pistol stock was set under the receiver in the usual way with the magazine feed situated well-ahead of the trigger group. Magazines were straight and slender and served as a foregrip when firing the gun. Additionally, the magazine well was hinged to allow the magazine to fold forward and under the barrel for transport/marching - again reducing the chance of snagging the weapon on brush or clothing when on-the-move (this design feature is also seen in the French MAT-49 SMG detailed elsewhere on this site).
Internally the weapon relied on a two-piece bolt mechanism as part of the lever-delayed blowback action - a rather interesting and complicated engineering choice for a submachine gun design. What this resulted in, however, was a lower - and more controlled - rate-of-fire (400rpm) so as to aid accuracy and retard muzzle climb. A muzzle brake/compensator unit was fitted to the business end of the gun for further support and added as an extension of the heavily perforated barrel jacket.
Notable design work on the submachine gun occurred in 1942 which resulted in a prototype for evaluations. Serial production did not occur until 1944 and the gun lasted in useful circulation until the end of the war in Europe in May of 1945 after which point they seem to have fallen out of use rather quickly - indeed there proved a glut of better, cheaper submachine guns to be had in the post-World War 2 market.
Manufacturing Fabbrica Nazionale d'Armi di Brescia - Italy
Kingdom of Italy (including resistance elements); Nazi Germany (specialist troops)
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