Firearm Infobox
Name, Image, type, origin
Name PPSh-41
Image 300px
Type Submachine gun
Place of origin Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
Service history
In service
Used by Soviet Army, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Morocco, various African and Asian nations and guerrilla groups
Wars World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cambodian Civil War, various conflicts in Asia and Africa
Production history
Designer Georgi Shpagin
Produced 1941
Number Approx. 6,000,000
Variants Type 50, K-50, M49
Weight (without magazine) 3.63 kg (approx. 8 lbs.)
Length 843 mm
Barrel length 269 mm
Cartridge 7.62x25mm Tokarev
Action Blowback, open bolt
Muzzle velocity 488 m/s
Effective range
Maximum range ~200 m
Other identifying characteristics
Wood parts (Y/N) {{{wood}}}
Common color {{{color}}}
Imprint {{{imprint}}}

The PPSh-41 (Pistolet-Pulemyot Shpagina; Russian: Пистолет-пулемёт Шпагина; Shpagin Machine Pistol; nicknamed Pah-Pah-sha, Shpagin and Burp Gun) submachine gun was one of the most mass produced weapons of its type of World War II. It was designed by Georgi Shpagin, as an inexpensive alternative to the PPD-40, which was expensive and time consuming to build. The PPSh had a simple blow-back action, a box or drum magazine, and used the 7.62x25mm pistol round. It was made with metal stampings to ease production, and its chrome-lined chamber and bore helped to make the gun very low-maintenance in combat settings.


The impetus for the development of the PPSh came partly from the Winter War against Finland, where it was found that submachine guns were a highly effective tool for close-quarter fighting in forests or built-up urban areas. The weapon was developed in mid-1941 and was produced in a network of factories in Moscow, with high-level local Party members made directly responsible for production targets being met.

A few hundred weapons were produced in November 1941 and another 155,000 were produced over the next five months. By spring 1942, the PPSh factories were producing roughly 3,000 units a day.[1] The PPSh-41 was classic example of a design adapted for mass production (other examples of such wartime design were the M3 Grease Gun, MP40 and the Sten). 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 up more skilled workers to other tasks. The PPSh-41 used 87 components compared to 95 for the PPD-40 and the PPSh could be manufactured with 7.3 machining hours compared with 13.7 hours for the PPD. [2]

On the field, the PPSh was a durable, low-maintenance weapon that could fire 900 rpm. The weapon had a crude compensator to lessen muzzle climb and a hinged receiver which facilitated field-stripping and cleaning the bore in battle conditions.

Over 6 million of these weapons were produced by the end of the war. The Soviets would often equip whole regiments and even entire divisions with the weapon, giving them unmatched short-range firepower. Though 35-round curved box magazines were available from 1942, the average infantryman would keep a higher-capacity drum magazine as the initial load.[3]The Russian magazine was copied from the Finnish drum which held 71 rounds M31 Suomi, but in practice misfeeding of the spring was likely to occur with more than 65 or so. The standard load was probably one drum and a number of box magazines, when box magazines were available.

File:Mémorial uniforme soviétique WWII.JPG


Some of the PPSh's drawbacks included the difficulty of reloading, the tendency of the drums to jam (solved by the box magazines) and the high risk of accidental discharge when dropped - the last being a fault common to all open bolt submachine gun designs. Despite these drawbacks, the PPSh-41 was still admired by Soviet soldiers for its low recoil, reliability, and lethality at close range. The PPSh fired the standard 7.62x25mm pistol round such as used in the TT-33 pistol.

The captured PPSh was in particular a favorite weapon of the Germans. Due to the similar dimensions of the Soviet 7.62x25mm and German 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges, the PPSh-41 was easily modified, with a 9 mm barrel and a magazine-well adapter to fire from a standard 32-round MP38/40 magazine. The Wehrmacht officially adopted the converted PPSh-41 as the MP41(r), unconverted PPSh-41s were designated MP717(r).[4]

During the war the PPS-43, an even more simplified submachine gun, was introduced in Soviet service, although it didn't replace the PPSh-41 during the war.

Civilian versionEdit

The PPSh is a select fire weapon, and can be fired in a semi-automatic mode by toggling the position of a selector switch beneath the trigger guard, next to the trigger. Because fully automatic firearms are typically heavily regulated or prohibited for civilian use, a semi-automatic-only version has been manufactured by some companies, enabling civilians to own a replica of the weapon.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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