From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PPSh-41 from soviet.jpg
PPSh-41 with a 71-round drum magazine
TypeSubmachine gun
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1941–1960s (USSR)
1941–present (Other countries)
Used bySee Users
Production history
DesignerGeorgy Shpagin
Produced1941–1947 (USSR)[12]
No. builtApprox. 6,000,000
VariantsSee Variants
Mass3.63 kg (8.0 lb) (without magazine)
Length843 mm (33.2 in)
Barrel length269 mm (10.6 in)

Cartridge7.62×25mm Tokarev

7.63×25mm Mauser

9×19mm Parabellum
ActionBlowback, open bolt
Rate of fire1250 RPM
Muzzle velocity488 m/s (1,600.6 ft/s)
Effective firing range150 m[13] - 200 m[14]
Maximum firing range250m[15]
Feed system35-round box magazine or 71-round drum magazine
32-round box magazine (Captured German versions)
SightsIron sights

The PPSh-41 (Russian: Пистоле́т-пулемёт Шпа́гина, tr. Pistolét-pulemyót Shpágina, lit. 'Shpagin's machine-pistol') is a Soviet submachine gun designed by Georgy Shpagin as a cheaper and simplified alternative to the PPD-40. A common Russian nickname for the weapon is "papasha" (папа́ша), meaning "daddy",[16] and it was sometimes called the "burp gun" because of its high fire-rate.[17]

The PPSh is a magazine-fed selective-fire submachine gun using an open bolt, blowback action. Made largely of stamped steel, it can be loaded with either a box or drum magazine and fires the 7.62×25mm Tokarev pistol round.

The PPSh saw extensive combat use during World War II and the Korean War; in Eastern Bloc countries, monuments celebrating the actions of the Red Army commonly feature a PPSh-41.[18] It became one of the major infantry weapons of the Soviet Armed Forces during World War II, with about six million PPSh-41s manufactured in this period, making it the most-produced submachine gun of the war. In the form of the Chinese Type 50 (licensed copy), it continued in use with the Viet Cong as late as 1970, and remains in use with irregular militaries.[19]


World War II[edit]

A 1942 PPSh-41 with a 35-round box magazine

The impetus for the development of the PPSh came partly from the Winter War against Finland, where the Finnish Army employed the Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun as a highly effective tool for close-quarter fighting in forests and built-up urban areas. Its 71-round drum magazine was later copied and adopted by the Soviets for their PPD-40 and PPSh-41 submachine guns.[20] The PPD-40 was subsequently rushed into mass production in 1940, but it was expensive to manufacture, both in terms of materials and labor, because it used numerous milled metal parts, particularly its receiver. Georgy Shpagin's main idea for cost reduction was to use metal stamping for the production of most parts. Shpagin created a prototype PPSh in September 1940, which also featured a simple gas compensator designed to prevent the muzzle from rising during bursts; this improved shot grouping by about 70% relative to the PPD.[21]

The new weapon was produced in a network of factories in Moscow, with high-level local Party members made directly responsible for meeting production targets. A few hundred weapons were produced in November 1941 and another 155,000 were made during the next five months. By spring 1942, the PPSh factories were producing roughly 3,069 units a day.[22] Soviet production figures for 1942 indicate that almost 1.5 million units were produced.[21] Its parts (excluding the barrel) could be produced by a relatively unskilled workforce with simple equipment available in an auto repair garage or tin shop, freeing more skilled workers for other tasks. The PPSh-41 uses 87 components compared to 95 for the PPD-40 and the PPSh could be manufactured with an estimated 5.6 machining hours (later revised to 7.3 hours) compared with 13.7 hours for the PPD.[23][24] Barrel production was often simplified by using barrels for the 7.62mm Mosin–Nagant: the rifle barrel was cut in half and two PPSh barrels were made from it after machining the chamber for the 7.62×25mm Tokarev cartridge.[25]

After the German Army captured large numbers of the PPSh-41 during World War II, a program was instituted to convert the weapon to the standard German submachine gun cartridge – 9×19mm Parabellum. The Wehrmacht officially adopted the converted PPSh-41 as the "MP41(r)"; unconverted PPSh-41s were designated "MP717(r)" and supplied with 7.63×25mm Mauser ammunition (which is dimensionally identical to 7.62×25mm Tokarev, but slightly less powerful). German-language manuals for the use of captured PPShs were printed and distributed in the Wehrmacht.[26] In addition to barrel replacement, converted PPSh-41s also had a magazine adapter installed, allowing them to use MP 40 magazines. The less powerful 9mm round generally reduces the cyclic rate of fire from 800 to 750 RPM. Modern aftermarket conversion kits based on the original Wehrmacht one also exist using a variety of magazines, including Sten magazines. Some enthusiasts have been able to make them work with the original Soviet drum and stick magazines, eliminating the adapter, as well as use of the more powerful 9×23mm Winchester ammo.[citation needed]

PPSh (left) compared to PPS (right) box magazine

As standard, each PPSh-41 came with two factory-fitted drum magazines that were matched to the weapon with marked serial numbers. If drum magazines were mixed and used with different serial numbered PPSh-41, a loose fitting could result in poor retention and failure to feed. Drum magazines were superseded by a simpler PPS-42 box-type magazine holding 35 rounds, although an improved drum magazine made from 1 mm thick steel was also introduced in 1944.[21]

The PPS-43 was later introduced in Soviet service in 1943, which was even more basic in its design than the PPSh, and had a more moderate rate of fire, but it did not replace the PPSh-41 during the war.

The Soviet Union also experimented with the PPSh-41 in a close air support antipersonnel role, mounting dozens of the submachine guns in forward fuselage racks on the Tu-2sh variant of the Tupolev Tu-2 bomber.[27]

More than five million PPSh submachine guns were produced by the end of the war. The Soviets would often equip platoons and sometimes entire companies with the weapon, giving them excellent short-range firepower.[28] Thousands more were dropped behind enemy lines in order to equip Soviet partisans to disrupt German supply lines and communications.

Korean War[edit]

Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun, Fort Lewis Military Museum, Fort Lewis, Washington, USA. Part of a display of the weapons of the Korean War.

After the Second World War, the PPSh was supplied in large quantities to Soviet-aligned states and Communist guerrilla forces. During the Korean War, the Korean People's Army (KPA) and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) fighting in Korea received massive numbers of the PPSh-41, in addition to the North Korean Type 49 and the Chinese Type 50, which were both licensed copies of the PPSh-41 with small mechanical revisions.[29]

Though relatively inaccurate, the Chinese PPSh has a high rate of fire and was well-suited to the close-range firefights that typically occurred, especially at night.[30] United Nations forces in defensive outposts or on patrol often had trouble returning a sufficient volume of fire when attacked by companies of infantry armed with the PPSh. Some U.S. infantry officers ranked the PPSh as the best combat weapon of the war: while lacking the accuracy of the U.S. M1 Garand and M1 carbine, it provided more firepower at short distances.[30] Infantry captain (later general) Hal Moore, stated: "on full automatic it sprayed a lot of bullets and most of the killing in Korea was done at very close ranges and it was done quickly – a matter of who responded faster. In situations like that it outclassed and outgunned what we had. A close-in patrol fight was over very quickly and usually we lost because of it."[30] U.S. servicemen, however, felt that their M2 carbines were superior to the PPSh-41 at the typical engagement range of 100–150 meters.[31]


A PPSh-41 on display

The PPSh-41 fires the standard Soviet pistol and submachine gun cartridge, the 7.62×25mm Tokarev. Weighing approximately 12 pounds (5.45 kg) with a loaded 71-round drum and 9.5 pounds (4.32 kg) with a loaded 35-round box magazine. The PPSh is capable of a rate of about 1250 rounds per minute,[32] a very high rate of fire in comparison to most other military submachine guns of World War II. It is a durable, low-maintenance weapon made of low-cost, easily obtained components, primarily stamped sheet metal and wood. The final production PPShs have top ejection and an L type rear sight that can be adjusted for ranges of 100 and 200 meters. A crude compensator is built into the barrel jacket, intended to reduce muzzle climb during automatic fire. The compensator was moderately successful in this respect, but it greatly increased the muzzle flash and report of the weapon. The PPSh also has a hinged receiver to facilitate field-stripping and cleaning the weapon.

A chrome-lined bore enables the PPSh to withstand both corrosive ammunition and long intervals between cleaning. No forward grip or forearm was provided, and the operator generally has to grasp the weapon behind the drum magazine with the supporting hand, or else hold the lower edge of the drum magazine. Though 35-round curved box magazines were available from 1942, the average Soviet infantryman in World War II carried the PPSh with the original 71-round drum magazine.[33]

Although the PPSh drum magazine holds 71 rounds, misfeeding is likely to occur with more than about 65.[34] In addition to feed issues, the drum magazine is slower and more complicated to load with ammunition than the later 35-round box magazine that increasingly supplemented the drum after 1942. While holding fewer rounds, the box magazine does have the advantage of providing a superior hold for the supporting hand. Although the PPSh is equipped with a sliding bolt safety, the weapon's open-bolt design still presents a risk of accidental discharge if the gun is dropped on a hard surface.


Wehrmacht Feldwebel Wilhelm Traub armed with a PPSh-41 scanning the view of Stalingrad in the middle of a ruined town in autumn 1942. The ruined town today is known as Gagarin Park.
A Red Army soldier armed with a PPSh-41 marches a German soldier into captivity after the Battle of Stalingrad, 1943.




K-50M submachine gun, captured from the NVA
  • Type 50: A Chinese-made version of the PPSh-41. Unlike its Soviet counterpart, it only accepts column-type box magazines.[37] Although new reports have suggested that due to various drum magazine dimensions used, some can be used while others cannot be used at all.[70]
  • Type 49: A North Korean made version of the PPSh-41. This model only accepts drum-based magazines.[37]
  • K-50M: A Vietnamese-made submachine gun based on the Type 50s supplied by China during the Vietnam War. Produced between 1958 and 1964. The chief difference is that the cooling sleeve of the K-50 was truncated to three inches (76 mm), the front sight based on the AK-47's front sight[71] and a foresight based on that of the French MAT-49 was attached to the front of the barrel.[72] Modifications include the addition of a pistol grip,[71] a steel wire-made stock[71] and the shortened barrel.[73] The changes resulted in a weight of 3.4 kg (7.5 lb), making K-50M lighter than the PPSh-41 by 500 g (1.1 lb).[74] The weapon uses a 35-round stick magazine, but the 71-round drum magazine can be used if the stock is fully extended.[73]
  • MP41(r): A captured PPSh-41 converted to 9×19mm Parabellum caliber for use by German forces.[75]
  • MP717(r): A captured, unconverted PPSh-41 placed in German service and supplied with 7.63×25mm Mauser ammunition[75]
  • M-49: A Yugoslavian produced variant of the PPSh-41 design, which utilizes a round tube for the receiver and a round bolt styled after the Beretta Model 38.
  • PPS-50: A semi-automatic manufactured by Pietta. A non-restricted firearm in .22LR ammunition. The box magazine holds 30 and the drum magazine holds 50. It is cosmetically similar to the PPSh-41, although the two share no other features.
  • VPO-135: A semi-automatic version of the PPSh-41 from Russia.
  • LDT PPSh-41: A semi-automatic-only clone of the PPSh-41. This variant with its fixed wooden stock is manufactured by Luxembourg Defence Technology for the civilian European sport shooting market.
  • SKL-41: A semi-automatic version of the PPSh-41 which became available on the German market in 2008. This version is converted to fire the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge. Aside from replicas of its original magazines, it also accepts MP 40 magazines.
  • IO SR-41: A semi-automatic version of the PPSh-41 sold by American company InterOrdnance and manufactured by A. A. Arms. The barrel on this version extends past the shroud and is non-removable. Most were made of surplus PPSh parts, however many enthusiasts criticized the gun for dubious quality.
  • Additional semi-auto versions for the American market made by Wiselite and TNW. They were similar to IO SR-41 but had the shroud extend along with the barrel and were much more well received quality wise.
  • Šokac : A Croatian version of the PPSH-41, produced in the 1990s for use in the Croatian War of Independence. Using a metal folding stock and a square receiver, it doesn't look like a PPSH-41 appearance wise, but mechanically the gun is a copy of the PPSH-41. The Šokac was produced because of the lack of arms the Croatians were facing, and turned to producing simple small arms to fix this issue.[76]


  1. ^ a b c Bishop, Chris (1998). Guns in Combat. Chartwell Books. ISBN 0-7858-0844-2.
  2. ^ a b c McNab 2014, p. 68.
  3. ^ "PPSh 41 Submachine Gun : North Korean Forces". Australian War Memorial.
  4. ^ McNab 2014, p. 74.
  5. ^ McNab 2012, p. 73.
  6. ^ a b de Quesada, Alejandro (10 January 2009). The Bay of Pigs: Cuba 1961. Elite 166. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-84603-323-0.
  7. ^ a b Raeburn, Michael (1978). We Are Everywhere: Narratives from Rhodesian Guerillas. New York City: Random House. pp. 1–209. ISBN 978-0-39450-530-5.
  8. ^ "Jackal Hunt One". Outpost. British South Africa Police. March 1968. Retrieved 29 March 2018 – via Rhodesia.nl.
  9. ^ Howze, Hamilton H. (July 1983). "The Soviets after Afghanistan: Armaggedon in the Middle East". Army. Vol. 33, no. 7. pp. 45–50 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ a b McNab 2014, p. 23.
  11. ^ a b c McNab 2014, p. 69.
  12. ^ "PPSh41 Submachine Gun". Classic Firearms. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  13. ^ Edwards, Paul M. (2006). The Korean War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-313-33248-7.
  14. ^ Taylor, Mike (September 2011). World War II: Weapons. Edina, MN: Abdo Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-61478-027-4.
  15. ^ Chen, C. Peter. "PPSh-41 Submachine Gun". ww2db.com. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  16. ^ Ranstadler, Robert (11 July 2017). "The Tools of War: 10 Deadly Infantry Weapons of WWII". History Collection.
  17. ^ Lawrence, Erik (2015). Practical Guide to the Operational Use of the PPSh-41 Submachine Gun. Philippi, WV: Erik Lawrence Publications. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-94199-824-3.
  18. ^ Budnik, Ruslan (2019). "PPSh-41 – The Most Mass-Produced Submachine Gun of WWII". War History Online.
  19. ^ Bishop, Chris (2002). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Illustrated ed.). Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 261. ISBN 1-58663-762-2.
  20. ^ Kekkonen, P. "Suomi Submachine Gun, KP/-31, part 2/2". Gunwriters. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  21. ^ a b c Болотин, Давид (1995). История советского стрелкового оружия и патронов [History of Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition] (in Russian). Полигон. pp. 109–114. ISBN 5-85503-072-5.
  22. ^ Braithwaite, Rodric (2006). Moscow 1941: A City and its People at War. London, UK: Profile Books. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-86197-759-5.
  23. ^ "Kalashnikov, Part 2: Soviet Political Economy and the Design Evolution of the Kalashnikov Avtomat". Cruffler.com. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  24. ^ Болотин, Давид (1995). История советского стрелкового оружия и патронов (in Russian). Полигон. pp. 111 for the early estimate vs. PPD and p. 119 comparison with PPS. ISBN 5-85503-072-5.
  25. ^ Pauly, Roger (2004). Firearms: The Life Story of a Technology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 141. ISBN 0-313-32796-3.
  26. ^ a b "9 mm Conversion of the PPSh-41". Bill's PPSh-41 Pages. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  27. ^ "Tu-2 Gunships!". Bill's PPSh-41 Pages. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  28. ^ Bishop, Chris (2002). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. New York: MetroBooks. ISBN 978-1-58663-762-0. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  29. ^ McNab 2012, pp. 22–23.
  30. ^ a b c Halberstam, David (2007). The Coldest Winter. Hyperion Press. p. 447. ISBN 978-1-4013-0052-4.
  31. ^ Thompson, Leroy (2011). The M1 Carbine. Osprey Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-84908-619-6.
  32. ^ McCollum, Ian (16 December 2017). "The Iconic "Burp Gun" – Shooting the PPSh-41". Forgotten Weapons. Retrieved 11 December 2021. The Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun is most distinctive for its very high rate of fire – approximately 1250 rounds/minute
  33. ^ "Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun (USSR)". WorldGuns.ru. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  34. ^ Mosier, John (2003). The Blitzkrieg Myth : How Hitler and the Allies misread the strategic realities of World War II. New York City: Perennial. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-06000-977-9.
  35. ^ a b c Jones, Richard D.; Ness, Leland S., eds. (27 January 2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010 (35th ed.). Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  36. ^ McNab 2014, p. 73.
  37. ^ a b c US Department of Defense. "North Korea Country Handbook 1997, Appendix A: Equipment Recognition, PPSH 1943 SUBMACHINEGUN [sic] (TYPE-50 CHINA/MODEL-49 DPRK)" (PDF). p. A-79.
  38. ^ Thompson, Leroy (31 October 2017). "Gun Review: The Soviet PPSh-41 Submachine Gun". Tactical Life.
  39. ^ Ferguson, Jonathan; Jenzen-Jones, N.R. (2014). "Raising Red Flags: An Examination of Arms & Munitions in the Ongoing Conflict in Ukraine. (Research Report No. 3)" (PDF). ARES. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  40. ^ Кашуба, Г. П. (1981). Афганские встречи [Afghan Meetings] (in Russian). Moskva: Izd-vo DOSAAF. p. 73.
  41. ^ Афганистан сегодня: фотоальбом. / сост. Хайдар Масуд, А. Н. Сахаров. М., «Планета», 1981. стр.202-203
  42. ^ de Quesada, Alejandro (2014). MP 38 and MP 40 Submachine Guns. Osprey Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-78096-388-4.
  43. ^ a b Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. London, UK: Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  44. ^ Brnardic, Vladimir (22 November 2016). World War II Croatian Legionaries: Croatian Troops Under Axis Command 1941—45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4728-1767-9.
  45. ^ McNab 2014, p. 50.
  46. ^ Rottman, Gordon (2008). The Berlin Wall and the Intra-German Border 1961-89. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-84603-193-9.
  47. ^ Thomas, Nigel; Caballero Jurado, Carlos (25 January 2002). Germany's Eastern Front Allies (2): Baltic Forces. Men-at-Arms. Osprey Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-84176-193-0.
  48. ^ "Machine Pistols, Captured and Bought". Jaeger Platoon: Finnish Army 1918-1945. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  49. ^ "9 mm version of PPD-40 and PPSh-41". Bill's PPSh-41 Pages. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  50. ^ Small Arms Survey (1998). Politics From The Barrel of a Gun (PDF). Cambridge University Press. p. 40. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2011.
  51. ^ Keegan, John (1983). World Armies (2nd ed.). London, UK: Macmillan. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-33334-079-0.
  52. ^ "7.62mm Submachine Gun PPSh41". Manowar's Hungarian Weapons & History. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  53. ^ a b Owen, J. I. H. (1976). Warsaw Pact Infantry and its Weapons: Manportable weapons and equipment in service with the regular and reserve forces of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania, and of Yugoslavia. London, UK: Brassey's Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-90460-903-5.
  54. ^ Bonn International Center for Conversion; Bundeswehr Verification Center. "MP PPSH 41". SALW Guide: Global distribution and visual identification. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  55. ^ Ohlson, Thomas (1988). Arms Transfer Limitations and Third World Security. Oxford University Press. p. 103. ISBN 0-19-829124-8.
  56. ^ Gianluigi, Usai; Riccio, Ralph (28 January 2017). Italian partisan weapons in WWII. Schiffer Military History. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-76435-210-2.
  57. ^ Vincent, Hunt (2017). Blood in the Forest: The End of the Second World War in the Courland Pocket. Warwick, UK: Helion and Company. p. 223. ISBN 978-1-912866-93-9.
  58. ^ Berman, Eric G. (March 2019). Beyond Blue Helmets: Promoting Weapons and Ammunition Management in Non-UN Peace Operations (PDF). Small Arms Survey/MPOME. p. 43. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2019.
  59. ^ McNab 2014, p. 22.
  60. ^ McNab 2014, pp. 64–67.
  61. ^ Laemlein, Tom (30 January 2018). "Guns of the Tet Offensive". American Rifleman.
  62. ^ Zaloga, Steven J.; Hook, Richard (1982). The Polish Army 1939-1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 0-85045-417-4.
  63. ^ "About Us: Radom Before the Kalashnikov". Łucznik Arms Factory. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  64. ^ "About us". Cugir Arms Plant SA. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  65. ^ Infanteria Română - 180 de ani (PDF) (in Romanian). București: Editura Centrului-Tehnic Editorial al Armatei. 2010. p. 261. ISBN 978-606-524-071-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2015.
  66. ^ "World Infantry Weapons: Sierra Leone". World Inventory. 2007–2013. Archived from the original on 24 November 2016 – via Google Sites.
  67. ^ "국군 제8사단 16연대 2대대 부대원에게 몸수색을 당하고 있는 인민군 포로" [POWs of the Korean People's Army being searched for by members of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Regiment, 8th Division of the ROK Army]. War Memorial of Korea (in Korean).
  68. ^ Peterson, Philip (2011). Standard Catalog of Military Firearms: The Collector's Price and Reference Guide. Iola, WI: Gun Digest Books. p. 479. ISBN 978-1-4402-1451-6.
  69. ^ Krott, Rob (2008). Save the Last Bullet for Yourself: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia. Philadelphia: Casemate Publishers. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-932033-95-3.
  70. ^ Iannamico, Frank (11 December 2013). "The Soviet PPSH 41 – Page 2". Small Arms Defense Journal. 5 (4).
  71. ^ a b c McCollum, Ian (27 March 2020). "North Vietnamese K-50M Submachine Gun". Forgotten Weapons.
  72. ^ "PPSh41 Sub Machine Gun". Vietnam War.info. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  73. ^ a b "K-50M Submachine Gun". Modern Firearms. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  74. ^ "VC Weapons". PTSD Junk Drawer. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  75. ^ a b McNab 2012, p. 59.
  76. ^ Heidler, Michael (10 April 2013). "Šokac". Forgotten Weapons. Retrieved 2 June 2019.


External links[edit]