This Rare, Cold War Hungarian Submachine Gun Reappeared in 2016
The 53M armed Hungarian government agents
by MATTHEW MOSS
In the late 1930s, József Kucher worked under Pál D. Király’s at Hungarian firearms-maker Danuvia, developing Király’s lever-delayed, blowback-action submachine guns for the Hungarian army.
Toward the end of World War II, they simplified some earlier designs to produce the first prototype of their 44M blowback submachine gun. The 44M evolved into the 53M. After decades in Hungarian service, the 53M all but disappeared — until one went up for sale on an internet forum for fighters in Libya.
When the war ended, Kucher continued refining and redesigning the Danuvia submachine guns — even after Király emigrated to the Dominican Republic in 1947. In 1948, the Hungarian army made Kucher a captain and assigned him to Hungary’s Military Research Institute.
Kucher’s submachine gun — known as the 53M, K1 or Kucher Könnyü Géppisztoly — built on the prototype 44M but abandoned a number of Király’s favorite design elements, including folding magazines and wooden stocks. The new weapon was also chambered in the Soviet 7.62-by-25-millimeter rather than the nine-by-25-millimeter cartridge the 44M used earlier.
The 53M fired from an open bolt and featured a simple blowback action. It fed from a 35-round, double-stacked, curved magazine. The 53M weighed approximately 6.8 pounds unloaded and, with its stock extended, was 33.2 inches long.
With its folding stock and aerated barrel shroud, the 53M was more utilitarian than earlier Hungarian submachine guns were. However, the receiver was machined rather than stamped, making it more expensive and time-consuming to manufacture than many of its cheaper contemporaries were.
The Hungarian military tested the 53M in November 1951 and approved it for adoption and manufacture in 1953. However, the majority of the 53Ms went to Hungarian border guards and treasury officers, while the Hungarian army adopted a copy of the simpler Russian PPSh-41.
It appears that the 53M was manufactured in limited numbers. These remained in service into the 1960s then largely disappeared.
In February 2016, a rare surviving 53M went on sale for $440 on a social-media platform for Libyan arms-traders.
Originally published at Historical Firearms.