World War 2 showcased to the Swedes a general lacking of indigenous firearms. As an interim measure, the government contracted the local firm of Husqvarna Vapenfabrik AB to produce the Finnish-made "Suomi" series of submachine guns under local license. Looking to the near-future, authorities also enlisted the state-run small arms detachment of "Carl Gustav" (Carol Gustavs Stads Gevarfaktori of Eskilstuna) to design an indigenous submachine gun line based on the Suomi that was both easy-to-produce and relatively inexpensive to procure in the quantities required. Both Husqvarna Vapenfabrik AB and Carl Gustav would submit prototypes but the Carl Gustav submission eventually won out.
Work on the new submachine gun began in 1944 and the group responded with the "m/45" - a thoroughly basic, if highly utilitarian, design that was both cheap and functional. The submachine gun borrowed much of what made previous submachine gun attempts elsewhere successful. The design was formally attributed to engineer Gunnar Johnsson. The m/45 was formally adopted into the Swedish Army in 1945 as its standard issue submachine gun. The m/45 would also become known under the "Kulsprutepistol m/45" and "Swedish K" designations.
The m/45's operation was based on the blowback principle and was designed for only full-automatic fire in an effort to keep the technical workings of the gun as basic as possible. The receiver was not unlike that of the famous British Sten series of submachine guns in appearance in that it sported a tubular receiver with "extensions" comprised of the pistol grip, trigger unit and magazine feed. Spent shell casings ejected from a large rectangular ejection port along the forward top right side of the receiver. The trigger was large and curved, set within a curved, thin guard. The pistol grip handle was straight in design and angled rearwards. A simplistic wire stock was hinged at two points - the top at the rear of the receiver and the bottom at the base of the pistol grip. The stock was hinged to fold over the right side of the receiver when compactness was required. The cocking handle was affixed to the right side of the body with the internal spring visible through the slotted receiver compartment. The barrel protruded from the forward end of the receiver and was housed in a perforated jacket (circular perforations). Sights were affixed at the top of the receiver and at the forward end just above the muzzle. The magazine was fed through a magazine feed located under the receiver, the feed situated well ahead of the pistol grip and trigger unit. Its rather straight forend design could double as a forward hand grip for a firm two-hand hold - somewhat critical to the full-automatic fire nature of this gun.
The m/45 was originally developed to fire from the Suomi's 50-round straight detachable box magazine. An interesting two-column 36-round spring-loaded straight detachable box magazine was later introduced. To compensate for the two feed types, a removable magazine housing ensured that both magazines could be used with the weapon. The 36-round magazine eventually became the standard with a fixed housing that gave birth to the m/45B variant designation and reflected the general production (definitive) models. The m/45 series was of course gradually branched out into other useful forms. The m/45C designation was used to signify the inclusion of a bayonet lug for the fitting of field bayonets (for ceremonial purposes) while the m/45D was developed and produced with a useful single-shot fire mode for police and security elements.
The m/45 measured in at 37.75 inches fully extended and 21.75 inches with the wire stock collapsed along the side of the receiver. The barrel featured a length of 8 inches with 6-grooves and a right-hand twisting. Unloaded weight was in the vicinity of 7lbs, 9oz. The m/45 was chambered to fire the proven and readily available 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge from either the aforementioned 50- or 36-round magazines. Rate-of-fire was listed at 600 rounds per minute. Muzzle velocity was rated at 1,250 feet per second.
The m/45 proved a success once in service with the traditional Swedish attention to detail showing through in its design. The m/45 went on to see production under local license with parties in both Indonesia and Egypt. For the latter, the type was designated as the "Port Said" and the "Akaba" (the Port Said is an exact copy of the m/45 whilst the Akaba is a simplified form). In Swedish Army service, the m/45 series was slowly replaced in operational service by the Ak4 and Ak5 series of assault rifles. Amazingly, the Swedish Home Guard would utilize the m/45 up until 2003.
Operationally, the m/45 has seen combat actions with the Irish Army and was featured in the Lebanese Civil War as well. Perhaps most notably, the m/45 saw combat with the United States Navy SEALs and CIA during the Vietnam War. The SEALs, in particular, enjoyed its rugged qualities and portability and respected the fact that the weapon was ready to fire after being submerged for periods. Such was the success of the m/45 in US service that the American firearms firm of Smith & Wesson was contracted to make slightly modified copies (a firearms embargo between Sweden and the USA was established in 1966, forcing this "work around"). This local version was designated as the M76 but it arrived at a time when the SEALs were beginning to wind down their activities in Southeast Asia.
Algeria and Paraguay are two other known operators of the m/45 submachine gun series.
Algeria; Egypt; Indonesia; Poland; Ireland; Paraguay; Sweden; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.
808 mm 31.81 in
212 mm 8.35 in
7.39 lb 3.35 kg
Iron Front and Rear
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)
Rounds / Feed
36-round detachable box magazine
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources. **Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
820 ft (250 m | 273 yd)
1,394 ft/sec (425 m/sec)
m/45 - Initial Production Model
m/45B - Fixed magazine feed; revised barrel jacket with smaller perforations; early metal and late grey-green production finishes.
m/45C - Ceremonial Variant; fitted with lug mounts for fitting of bayonet.
m/45D - Police Variant; selective fire; revised stock.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
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Right side view of the Carol Gustav m/45 submachine gun.
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