Despite all of its external changes, the North Vietnamese Model K-50M was the Soviet World War 2-era PPSh-41 submachine gun through and through.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense.
During the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the North was supplied by outside parties including communist China. China adopted the World War 2-era, Soviet-originated PPSh-41 submachine gun as the "Type 50". Having acquired stocks of the Chinese version, North Vietnam now held the required engineering to reproduce the weapon closer to North Vietnamese requirements. This produced the "Model K-50M" which went on to see action in the war against America.
In its original PPSh-41 form, the submachine gun was given a simple wooden stock which incorporated the rifle-style grip handle and shoulder stock in a single-piece unit. The metal working components were inlaid in the usual way consisting of the action, charging handle and feed. The trigger unit was underslung on the body in the usual way. The feed utilized a long, curved 35-round detachable box magazine. The barrel protruded a distance away from the receiver though it was shrouded by a large, perforated heat shield. Sighting was through an iron front and rear arrangement.
For the K-50M, the heat shield was shortened some three inches, exposing more of the barrel. The original wooden stock was given up in favor of a metal receiver coupled with an extending/collapsible twin-strutted wire butt, its design taken from the French MAT-49 submachine gun. The loss of the wooden stock also introduced a stand-alone pistol grip handle with integrated trigger group. The muzzle compensator was dropped and a barrel-mounted forward sight device installed. Beyond these changes, the weapon system remained true to the Chinese Type 50 and truer to the original Soviet World War 2 PPSh-41 model series - save for a few external changes and additions to produce a more localized submachine gun offering.
Specifications for the K-50M include an overall length of 29.5 inches with stock extended, a 22.5 inch overall length with the stock collapsed and a weight of 7lbs, 8oz. The chambering remained the widely-available 7.62x25mm Tokarev Soviet pistol cartridge and the action blowback with an open-bolt design. The submachine gun held a rate-of-fire of 700 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 1,600 feet per second from its 35-round detachable box magazine. The box magazine was wholly faithful to the original PPSh-41 and completely unchanged.
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