Some Guy Named Andrews Invented a Very Odd Submachine Gun
The Andrews Machine Carbine remains a mystery
The Andrews Machine Carbine is something of a mystery. Little information is available on the World War II-vintage submachine gun, although some relatively good black and white photographs do exist.
The boxy weapon was developed in 1942 and ’43 by an Australian designer with the last name Andrews — no one knows his first name. In 1943, the Birmingham Small Arms Company contracted with Andrews to produce prototypes. BSA had also worked on the Welgun project, so it had experience producing submachine guns.
The Andrews Machine Carbine featured a conventional blowback action and fed from Sten magazines from the left side of the receiver. The Andrews had two recoil-spring guide-rods that ran the full length of the receiver. The barrel was positioned between them.
The bolt also rode on the guide rods. That required that the trigger mechanism be attached to the right side of the receiver in a separate housing with what was apparently a safety catch with an “S” marking on it. The trigger, but not the folding pistol grip, was also offset to the right.
The weapon apparently did not use the Sten’s magazine release. What appeared to be a single sling-loop at the rear of the receiver was actually a ring-pull cocking device. Presumably, you pulled the ring to bring the bolt to the rear. No conventional cocking handle is visible in the available photographs.
Another photograph shows the weapon using a Sten magazine as a sort of stock, although it’s unclear how this attached to the receiver. The wear pattern on the weapon’s finish in some pics suggests that the front of the receiver was enclosed in a sliding dust cover that could be pulled to the rear to cover the ejection port.
Note the cutout in the cover for the trigger mechanism housing. There was no corresponding cutout on the other side for the magazine housing, which suggests the magazine housing and release might have been attached to the sliding dust cover. How this design feature affected the weapon’s feed reliability is unclear.
The Andrews’ compact design and folding grip suggest the weapon was meant for clandestine missions, like the Welrod pistol was. The British Army’s Ordnance Board tested the weapon at Pendine in September and October 1943. The Board apparently reported that the stock was too flimsy and the receiver body overly thick. The testers did not recommend pursuing the design.