Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country

Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)

Submachine Gun (SMG) / Carbine

United States | 1941

"The M50 Reising had a relatively short American military history, being too susceptible to environmental factors to be used as a frontline military firearm."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/10/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Before the arrival of the various classic American firearms of World War 2 such as the M1 Thompson, M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, the United States pressed into service many lesser-known firearms that proved both available or promising. This opened up the field to various talented gunsmiths to extend their wares and expertise in attempting to fill the vast inventory requirements of the United States military. Of course, the lesser-name firearms failed the US standard in some way - being too delicate in the field, too expensive to produce in the numbers required or too faulty in their general design to be of much military service. For the Reising Model 50 (M50) series of submachine guns, the undoing proved to be its complex internal arrangement and function which led to many stoppages in the heat-of-battle. As such, the weapon received a relatively short service life in American frontline hands.

Design of the Reising (attributed to Eugene Reising, having worked at once point with legendary gunsmith John Browning) began prior to American involvement in World War 2 in 1940. Reising secured a patent for his new weapon the same year and partnered with Harrington & Richardson Arms Company to produce it, the weapon to bear the name of "Reising" for its life. The firearm utilized a close-bolt mechanism which required multiple internal functions to work properly in succession following each press of the trigger. The internal working components were housed in a metal frame which was further set within a wooden service-rifle-style body integrating the pistol grip and shoulder stock. The frame was partially exposed along the top of the wooden body which gave access to the sights and ejection port. The barrel sported cooling fins to help prevent overheating and was supported throughout its length underneath by the wooden body which continued forward as the forend for the supporting hand. A long Cutts compensator capped the muzzle end of the barrel. The magazine was fed through a bottom well directly under the ejection port and well ahead of the trigger unit. The trigger was conventional, seated under the rear portion of the receiver and ahead of the pistol grip within an oblong trigger ring. A cocking lever was seated in a slot under the forend, hidden from view. The weapon was chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge, the same as in the Colt M1911 semi-automatic pistol and the M1 Thompson, and fed through a 12- or 20-round detachable box magazine. The gun measured an overall length of 35.75 inches with an 11 inch barrel and sported a weight of 6lbs, 12 ounces. It was a select-fire weapon capable of semi- and full-automatic modes. An optional adjustable shoulder sling could be fitted for ease of transport.

Production of the Reising began in late 1941 and the type was adopted for service as the "M50" with the United States Marine Corps (the US Army had rejected the Reising after trials due to its maintenance requirements). Manufacture spanned through to the end of the war in 1945 under the Harrington & Richardson Arms Company (Worchester, Massachusetts) brand label. Performance included a rate-of-fire of 550 rounds per minute and the .45 ACP cartridge was a proven man-stopper while the general appearance of the weapon was sleek.

While the M50 was a serviceable weapon in a controlled environment, its complicated internal arrangement was wholly inadequate for military frontline use. It was quickly found - through American US Marine actions at Guadalcanal and Bougainville - that dirt and debris, unavoidable in the field, could jam the action and general fouling caused by the breech-locking process could furthermore render the weapon useless at the worst possible times. Problems with the weapon proved so persistent that many service members gladly dropped their Reisings in favor of whatever other weapon became available during the course of the fighting. As other, more refined, firearms became available in useful numbers (primarily the M1 Carbine), the Reising was retired from frontline use and relegated stateside for security and policing for the duration of the war. In this role, lacking the abuse inherent in a battlefield setting, Reisings performed as expected.

For the short time that the American military made use of "Paramarines" - marine paratroopers - Reising attempted to sell a lightened, shortened and modified form of their Model 50 as the "Model 55". The Model 55 brought about use of a folding wire stock and shortened barrel assembly lacking the Cutts compensator. The wire stock folded over the left side of the body while the pistol grip was well-formed for ergonomics and formed vertically in its appearance. The result was a 31-inch long weapon with a lowered rate-of-fire of 500 rounds per minute. All other facets of the Reising design remained including the complex internal working. As such, the weapon was not really an improvement over the original and inherited all of its existing limitations. Like the Model 50 before it, the Model 55 was no more a commercial nor military success. As an aside, the US military establishment eventually dropped its dedicated marine paratrooper force before the end of the war in February of 1944.

A pair of semi-automatic fire only forms emerged from the Model 50 line and this included the M60 and M65. The Model 60 was intended as a carbine rifle-type implement and chambered for the .30 Carbine cartridge. The Model 65 was a training version of said carbine, chambered for the .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge.

The Reising M50 and M55 served until 1953 and some 100,000 examples were produced until 1945. Stocks of Reising submachine guns were also sold to the United Kingdom and issued to the Canadian Army. The Soviet Union received the type under the Lend-Lease agreement. Other operators went on to include Iceland and the Philippines.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55). Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
959 mm
37.76 in
O/A Length
280 mm
11.02 in
Barrel Length
6.83 lb
3.10 kg
Delayed Blowback; Closed-Bolt
.45 ACP; .30 Carbine
12- or 20-round detachable box magazine
Rear Notch; Front Blade.
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55). Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
920 ft/sec
280 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55) Submachine Gun (SMG) / Carbine family line.
M50 - Initial Production Model; select-fire; solid wooden body with inegrated stock and grip.
M55 - Select-fire model intended for US Paramarines; shortened form; wire folding stock; wooden pistol grip; sans compensator.
M60 - Carbine form; chambered for the .30 Carbine cartridge; semi-automatic only.
M65 - Carbine training rifle form of the M60; chambered for the .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge; semi-automatic only.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Harrington and Richardson - USA
National flag of Canada National flag of Iceland National flag of the Philippines National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ Canada; Iceland; Philippines; Soviet Union; United States; United Kingdom ]
1 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
4 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image from the Public Domain.
5 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image from the Public Domain.
6 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image from the Public Domain.
7 / 7
Image of the Reising Model 50 (M50/M55)
Image from the Public Domain.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Reising Model 50 (M50/M55) Submachine Gun (SMG) / Carbine appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)