MANUFACTURER(S): Productos Mendoza - Mexico
ACTION: Gas-Operated; Open Bolt
CALIBER(S)*: 7x57mm Mauser
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear
Detailing the development and operational history of the Mendoza C-1934 (M1934) Light Machine Gun (LMG).
Entry last updated on 8/1/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Mexico is not a nation one thinks about when they think of indigenous firearms design and development. However, engineer Raphael Mendoza and his Productos Mendoza firm began work on a light machine gun automatic weapon in 1928 to which this continued through 1933. The weapon was intended to serve with the Mexican Army as its standard squad-level LMG. At its core, the weapon would serve the same function as the competing American M1918 BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), augmenting the standard infantry squad with high-volume repeating firepower. Production of the new weapon - the "C-1934" (or "Mendoza Model B" of 1933) - was ordered in 1933 to which the series was formally adopted for service in 1934 (hence the designation). Despite the weapon owing much to the British Lewis and French Hotchkiss machine guns, the C-1934 was something of an evolutionary design in its own right - lighter than her contemporaries, cheaper to produce and just as effective and robust in-the-field.
Like the American BAR, the Mexican C-1934 sported a rifle-type exterior with a solid wood stock making up the gun body, forestock and integrated shoulder stock. The pistol grip was held under the rear portion of the receiver. The internal working components were all encased in metal and set within the wooden body shell. The "quick-change" barrel was affixed to the receiver at its base with the barrel protruding ahead, capped by a muzzle brake. A folding bipod was added to the end of the forestock for stabilization when firing. The weapon was fed by a 20-round magazines housing 7x57 Spanish Mauser cartridges and these were inserted into the top of the receiver. Due to the nature of the magazine fitting, the included iron rear and front sights were offset to allow for some aiming around the magazine installation. Overall length was 1,170 millimeters with the barrel measuring 630 millimeters. The internal action was gas-operated from an open bolt. Rate-of-fire was approximately 450 rounds per minute - the rather contained rate controlling barrel overheating. Muzzle velocity was 2,640 feet per second with an effective range out to 600 yards. Overall weight was in the vicinity of 8.4 kilograms. Unlike other light machine guns of the day, the C-1934 actually had provisions for selective fire, allowing for a safety, single-shot and full-automatic modes through a selector along the left side of the receiver. The charging handle was set to the right side.
In practice, the C-1934 was well-remembered and a low-cost substitute against the more expensive offerings of the day. This budgeted approach, however, did not interfere with the quality construction and function inherent in the series. Infantrymen appreciated the rather handy and portable nature of the weapon and their fellow soldiers found comfort in its repeat fire nature. The weapon could be field-stripped in a relatively short amount of time, useful for repairs, general maintenance and cleaning after use. The weapon was designed with a down-folding stock/rear receiver which facilitated removal of both the bolt and gas piston system. The C-1934 remained in frontline service until 1945.
The C-1934 was later refined in 1945 in an effort to replace the use of the outdated 7x57mm Spanish Mauser cartridge with the readily available American .30-06 (30-caliber M1906) cartridge. This became the improved Mendoza Model 45 that introduced a refined receiver, new muzzle brake design and a shorter barrel.
In the latter years of World War 2 and in the months following, Mendoza released yet another refinement of the C-1934 and this became the Mendoza "RM-2", also chambered for the .30-06 cartridge as in the Model 45. The weapon was developed in response to the American military need for more automatic weapons to stock the war effort. However, the RM-2 did not have the anticipated market impact for Mendoza for the war ended in 1945 and nullified any contractual purchases from the US. Subsequent attempts by Mendoza to market it to the Mexican military also failed and the restrictive Mexican export laws precluded it from being sold overseas. At least 50 evaluation models were known to be produced of this variant.