The British Army Didn’t Want This Futuristic Submachine Gun
The EMC had lots of cool features for 1949
by MATHEW MOSS
The Army did not choose the futuristic Experimental Machine Carbine, 1949 from BSA. But maybe it should have.
The STEN was simple, cheap and arguably nasty. While the STEN was the perfect wartime submachine gun, the Army requested a more refined and durable design.
Ultimately, the Army chose Sterling Armaments Company’s Patchett M1944, later known simply as “the Sterling.” Before selecting the Sterling, the Army considered the Welgun — which BSA had developed during the war — as well as a new design from Enfield.
BSA’s Experimental Machine Carbine, 1949 was another failed contender. Chambered in the same ubiquitous nine-millimeter cartridge as the STEN was, the EMC also had the same side-mounted 32-round box magazine that characterized the STEN and, later, the Sterling.
The Experimental Carbine used the standard blowback action as rival guns but cycled at 600 rounds per minute, faster than the Sterling and all of the earlier STEN variants.
It had a number of interesting features, including a bakelite plastic foregrip that had a similar profile to the EM series’ foregrip. It also had an ingenious hinged magazine-housing that could pivot backward to clear jams, without the user having to remove the magazine. The same feature also facilitated cleaning.
The EMC also boasted an easy-to-operate safety switch integrated into the grip.
Interestingly, the weapon lacked a bolt handle. Instead, the shooter cocked the EMC by pushing the foregrip forward and then pulling it back. This pushed a bar which in turn pushed the bolt back and cocked the weapon. The user then slightly rotated the grip in order to disengage the bar and allow the bolt to cycle once fired.
In response to criticisms of the Welgun’s open receiver, BSA entirely enclosed the EMC, leaving only the magazine well and ejection port open — and the latter only when firing.
Regardless of the EMC’s innovative features, the Army passed over the design in favor of the Sterling submachine gun, which entered service in 1953.
- Tiny Gun Quietly Sprays Lots of Lead
- Wow — There Was a Suppressed Version of the M1 Carbine
- The ‘Standschutze Hellriegel’ Submachine Gun Is a Mystery