Umarex Boys Club
Paddy Egan and John Milewsi join forces to bring us this four-page Umarex special with their take on the battle-worn MP40
On the 5th of April, I happened to do one of my ‘pop in and say hello’ trips to Armex Towers, where I learned that they had just received the new Umarex MP40s. I didn’t have any previous knowledge of this, honest, but Della the General Manager, and Alan the MD, were kind enough to let me have a look at one. First impression was, ‘now that’s nice!’ and much better than what I was expecting. Conversations flowed and after I’d used my Irish charm, ‘Go on, go on, go on’, ‘You will, you will,’ and lastly ‘I’ll fight ya for it’, they allowed me to take it home to test and review, on the provision that I bring it back on the following Monday.
Now, before I go onto the Umarex MP40 let’s have a short history lesson:
‘The MP40 (Maschinenpistole 40) is a submachine gun chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge. It was developed in Germany and used extensively by the Axis powers during World War II. Designed in 1938 by Heinrich Vollmer, with inspiration from its predecessor the MP38, It was often called the ‘Schmeisser’ , despite Hugo Schmeisser having no involvement in the weapon’s design or production.’
Umarex have made two types of the MP40 – normal and battleworn ‘Legacy’ models, both in 4.5mm BB. The one I had to test was the battle-worn model that I think is the best one for looks, due to the original age and era.
I’m going to start from the very beginning and that’s the box. It is made of solid cardboard and the design is a wooden crate with period-style stencil writing. This makes it more of a presentation case than a box that you’d likely discard. So, if Umarex have made such an effort on the design of the box, you know that they have put in similar work on the gun itself.
The MP40 is held in place securely within its eggshell-type packaging, along with the magazine, Allen key, and small, user manual lying on top, and once you take the MP out of the box, you realise how solid and well made it feels. It weighs in at 7.7lbs, and the real MP40 comes in at 8.75lb, so there is not much difference at all. The stock is folded in the box, and to unfold it you just press in the button at the rear left-hand side of the gun, unfold it until it locks into place, and then flip round the butt plate. There is some movement up and down on the stock, but nothing major and, to be honest, so did the real one so Umarex are still staying true to this gun.
Before you insert the magazine, you will first need to put some CO2 in it and to do this you use the Allen key supplied to remove the nut at the bottom, then insert two 12g CO2 capsules and replace the nut – simple. To fill the magazine with 4.5mm BBs, you must hold down the spring-tensioned BB follower and pour in the BBs. Gently does it, or they’ll go everywhere and you can take it from someone with experience, or maybe it’s just me with butterfingers. I used Umarex black steel BBs, and the magazine has a capacity of 60 BBs, so that is a fair bit of shooting in one go!
To insert the magazine into the mag’ well, push all the way up with the spring follower facing forward and the calibre markings on the left-hand side. Once in, it is a nice solid fit with no play at all, and the black BBs blended into the magazine rather well, much better than silver BBs. I didn’t use those BBs for that reason, though, it was just that they were the closest to hand in my ammo box. However, I would consider using these black ones regularly, unless I was shooting metal plates, and then I would opt for lead BBs because of the obvious rebound issues. To take out the magazine it’s just like the real MP40; you press the round button on top of the mag’ well and pull down on the mag to release.
Once this process is done, it’s ready to shoot. Cock the handle back and it opens the breech cover, below the breech serial number, calibre and ‘F’ Pentagon
markings, and then it closes two-thirds of the way. As you put the MP40 into the shoulder and lean into the gun, the stock becomes very solid, there isn’t any play or movement, and the gun feels very well balanced considering the folding stock.
The sights are fixed at the front with a blade and round cover, and the rear has flip-up battle sights, and when you look through the sights, you get a clear picture of what you’re aiming at.
I had already set the range up for six yards, and put up our UBC Vintage and Open Class paper target, to seen how the MP40 grouped straight out of the box. The target has two roundels on it, and I opted to shoot five shots into each. The first shots were low and right, with a quite open spread, and on the second roundel, the group was tighter, but still low and right.
I then got a Tombstone Marxman target for rapid fire, sending BBs downrange as fast as I could, and all BBs hit the target. I didn’t do any plate shooting because I didn’t have any lead BBs, but it is definitely on my to-do list.
I can honestly say it is a dream to shoot. Whilst shooting you can see and hear the bolt going back and forth via the blow-back action. The trigger is light and easy to pull, and because of its short length, you can transition from one target to another quickly. Once it beds in and you get used to the aim points, this is a very accurate BB gun. My son tried the MP40 out as well; he loved it, and just like me he liked how the cocking went back and forth and the slight ‘kick’ it gives you
I’m lucky enough to have a Denix Metal replica MP40, so I used it as a side-by-side comparison and there are only a few things that are slightly different. There isn’t a full cut-out for the cocking handle to travel and be held all the way back, but this doesn’t detract from the gun’s shooting in any way, and the Umarex one isn’t field-strippable
One other note – on the Umarex model there is a safety catch on the underside, just in front of the trigger guard housing which needs a push forward for ‘safe’ and rearward to make ready to fire. I omitted it from earlier in the article because I wanted to put it in the comparison bit, as the original didn’t have one and with current guidelines Umarex picked the best spot to put it in.
All in all, Umarex have done a great job getting this airgun as close as possible to the real thing. It is such an iconic gun and I expect it to sell extremely well. When we at the Umarex Boys Club saw these come out for the American market as full auto, and unavailable in this country, we thought we’d have to wait for some time to see the UK specification version, but this is not the case and they will be in your local RFDs. So, if you like your militaria, or want a blast from the past without having to go down the VCRA airsoft route, then the Umarex MP40 is the way to go. It will be interesting to see if Umarex bring out any other classics, Sten or Tommy Gun perhaps. As for this MP40, it is now mine because I purchased it - plus it will sit nicely with my C96!
It was love at first sight and now it’s mine.
Below: MP40 replica, stripped.
Above: Even the box is classy.
MP40 Umarex and Denix replica.
Left: Black BBs are less visible through the slot.
Below: Maxman target 30 shots.
Below: A thumbs up from my son.
Below: The red dots show my second set of 5 shots at 6 yards.