Vigneron submachine gun

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Vigneron machine gun IMG 1529nc.jpg
Vigneron M2
Type Submachine gun
Place of origin  Belgium
Service history
In service 1950s-1980s
Used by Belgium
Production history
Designer Georges Vigneron
Weight 3kg (empty); 3.68kg (loaded)

Cartridge 9x19mm
Action Blowback
Rate of fire 620 rpm
Muzzle velocity 381 m/s
Effective firing range 100 m
Feed system 32-round MP40 magazine
Sights Fixed

The Vigneron is a submachine gun manufactured in Belgium during the 1950s. It used the 9x19mm NATO cartridge and was used by the Belgian Army until the 1980s. It had the ability to use MP40-type magazines which were popular in Europe at the time. The Vigneron is a selective-fire weapon for short-range street and brush fighting. It remains reasonably accurate up to 100 m using sighted semi-automatic fire. For close-range combat, 2- or 3-shot bursts are recommended.



After World War II the Belgian Army was equipped with a mixture of British and American guns. The army, wanting to replace them with a modern and, if possible, Belgian design, held tests between several prototypes:

  • the Imperia, an improved Sten gun;
  • the RAN, a design by "Repousmetal S.A.";
  • several FN prototypes; and
  • The Vigneron M1


The Vigneron M1 was designed by a retired Belgian army Colonel, Georges Vigneron, and officially adopted by the Belgian army in 1953.

The first series of Vignerons was manufactured by the Societe Anonyme Precision Liegeoise in Herstal. Some parts were subcontracted to the State Arsenal at Rocourt in Liège, who eventually began making complete guns. Other Vignerons were fabricated by the company Ateliers de Fabrications Electriques et Metalliques or AFEM in Brussels. An unconfirmed story says that the CMH inscription on the grip means Compagnie de Manufacture Herstal, and this company is supposed to have made the plastic lower receiver.

The first model Vigneron was made until serial number 21300 in 1954.


The M2 version was an improvement in several ways:

  • a front sight protector was installed
  • a rear sight notch was used instead of a peep sight
  • the dust cover closing spring was made stronger

Design and influence[edit]

The Vigneron is a simple blowback design and was made out of stamped sheet metal and a plastic grip frame. It uses the standard 9x19mm NATO round out of a 32-shot box single-column magazine. Army doctrine recommends to shortload the magazine to 28 rounds to prevent failures. A loading tool is used to assist loading the magazine.

The gun was designed with a long barrel (305mm) which featured a compensator and cooling fins. Empty casings are ejected out of the ejection port on the right which has a hinged dust cover. This cover opens automatically when cocking the gun.

The bolt handle is on the left side and is non-reciprocating.

The stock is heavy steel wire and it telescopes along the receiver; one end is slotted for swabs and the other is threaded for a cleaning brush.

The sights are fixed and set for a range of 50 m. The M2 has a simple notch rear sight and a hood cover that protects the front sight.

The pistol grip contains a grip safety which must be held before the weapon can be cocked or fired.

There are three selector positions: safe, semi-automatic and full automatic fire. When set to full-auto; it is still possible to squeeze off single rounds with good trigger control.

Influence by some popular WW-II-era designs is apparent. The barrel compensator and cooling rings are reminiscent of the Thompson submachine gun, the wire stock looks like the M3 submachine gun, the bolt design is nearly identical to the Sten and the magazine is almost the same as the one designed for the MP40; German magazines are usable in the Vigneron, but not the other way around.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]