WWII Grease gun


January 15, 2010, 06:47 PM

This is the M3 which I wrongly described as M9 in an earlier post. I apologize for the goof. This photo was copied from a website.

I'm not sure how many are still in existence as many obsolete small arms were destroyed and sold as scrap metal during Clinton years. I haven't handled a "grease gun" since 1971.

The Thompson was costly to make and heavy, too. So US Gov't designers came up with the M3 sub machine gun as a viable alternative. The M3 issued to me was reliable and accurate to 100 yards or so. By accurate, I mean to say that a short burst would shoot three or more 45 ACP bullets into a man sized target at 100 yards or so. A hit anywhere counted; think about it.

If this weapon interests you simply google M3 + WWII and many interesting sites come up.

Let's give peace a chance!


If you enjoyed reading about "WWII Grease gun" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 15, 2010, 07:34 PM
I traded into one early in 68 (right after Tet) for fear of the M16 I was gonna get issued when I wound up at the 101st . I was a 97b intelligence guy so I thought it would be handy. Mine was actually an M3 with the crank handle to cock it. They weigh at least as much as a full on M-16 and while you CAN hit someone at 100 yards it was better at much less than 50 yards. Seemed and still does a lot of weight for little results.I traded it and would up with the coveted Swedish K 9mm, which was not much better and harder to feed in Nam. A Colt Commando was and is a far superior system IMHO.Still I'd like to have an M3, they were very fun to shoot!

January 15, 2010, 07:40 PM
Only ones I've seen 'live' are with WW2 reinactors but I know they were still 'issued' to tankers in the 80's. None of the tankers had ANYTHING good to say about them at the time.

Probably because by 1985 those stamped metal guns were 40 years old and hadn't been fired a great deal and were 'primitive' compared to that new Beretta pistol.

January 15, 2010, 08:22 PM
As a 2LT in a Mech Battalion in Korea in 1977, I got a pretty good butt-chewin for letting my M113 driver participate in dismounted recon patrols at GP Oulette, inside the DMZ, with his issued M3A1. Seems there was a "prohibition" on automatic weapons for us "DMZ Police". Guess our M16A1's didn't count, or for that matter, the M2's and M60's on the GP's.

Had a better experience as a Tanker at Ft. Lewis in 1978....for some oddball reason, we had a ton of .45ACP ball and typical Army, once the ammo was drawn, it was a too-hard to turn it back in. So my tank platoon simply brought all our M3A1's together and spent about 2 hours loading every magazine we could find....had some mighty fine fun.

January 15, 2010, 08:23 PM
In 1963-64, in Vietnam, we were picking up quite a few weapons the Army issued in Korea during that war. The M3 was one I picked up. Anyone that could hit anything with it at 100 yards was doing better than I could. The best battlefield pickup I saw was a WWII MP38 Schmeisser. As I recollect it was a 9mm and you could hit stuff with it. Unfortunately, 9mm ammo was rare and it was traded off. The French used a lot of German weapons during their war in Indochina. Most of the Soviet Bloc weapons were SKS's.

January 15, 2010, 08:54 PM
My dad carried one of those across Europe as the driver of a half-track toward the end of the war.

Sure would like to have one. Western Firearms in Dallas currently has 3 for sale, but they range from $21k to $24.5k. Pretty good appreciation from the $25 bucks or so the government originally paid for them! If I knew they would continue to appreciate, I might consider splurging for one.

January 15, 2010, 09:42 PM
The one in the pic is actually an M3A1, the M3 had the cocking handle on the side. The M3A1 you opened the cover and put your finger in the "hole" in the bolt and pulled it back.

The M3 was the first SMG I ever shot. I was 8. I was also hooked. Its been downhill ever since. :)

January 15, 2010, 10:13 PM
So is anyone cranking out a semi auto version of this? The one in that pic looks brand spankin new. I'd be interested in the normal M3, I don't see being a fan of sticking my finger in the hole in the bolt to cock the M3A1. I'd reckon those parts become somewhere between slightly warm to 3rd degree burns hot. I been looking at a MAC 10 but I like this .45 cal bullet hose too.

January 15, 2010, 10:17 PM
I wish they were, I would definatley be interested

January 15, 2010, 10:21 PM
Someone was making, or attempting to make/market a semi auto version. Havent seen any ads lately though.

They all get "warm", all depending on how you shoot them.

The MAC's are fun too. Your looking at both ends of the "speed" spectrum between the MAC and the M3. The M3 is about the slowest shooting SMG you'll ever shoot, the MAC is pretty much the quickest.

little joe
January 15, 2010, 10:21 PM
Check out " M3 grease gun clips suppressed and 1928 thompson comparison " on youtube.

It will put a smile on your face.

January 15, 2010, 10:45 PM
The Thompson was the first subgun I shot.
An M3 was the second. I found it easier to hit with the M3.

Later, I shot a suppressed M3 in a side match at the old Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot.
Targets were steel Pepper poppers and the 230 grain FMJ bullets made more noise hitting the plates than the M3 did working.

If they weren't so expensive I'd own one.

January 15, 2010, 10:54 PM
I do believe a company called Valkayrie Arms made a semi Grease Gun...

Dunno about the quality, though...

January 15, 2010, 11:18 PM
While in another service living in Africa before becoming an American, I carried an M3A1, which frankly was fine for up to 75m. I also packed an M-79 "blooper" for anything beyond that range. Worked out to be a good combo and both never let me down.

January 15, 2010, 11:20 PM
Good little machine gun, it was built to be super cheap, stamped out by the million, and sold for scrap when it was all over.

I think they made a 9mm conversion for them.

January 16, 2010, 12:15 PM
I think they made a 9mm conversion for them. They did. there was at article in Americal Rifleman about these a while back. IIRC, the 9mm conversion was for OSS use. Probably very rare now.

I'll bet these things made a great little PDW back in the 40s and 50s.

January 16, 2010, 04:33 PM
I was issued one of those things stateside back in the 1950s, sorry piece of work IMO. IIRR, accurate range was given as 25 yards and if I lost it, would have to pay 25 bucks.

Later was issued a BAR, great piece for laying down fire, but it and ammo was heavy as hell for a 130 pound skinny kid humping it cross country.

January 16, 2010, 04:53 PM
I was stationed in South Korea in the mid 90s. I remember some tankers had them. Not sure if it was a Guard unit training there or part of the 2 ID. I distinctly remember talking to the tankers about them and they explained they had never shot them because they could not get a hold of any .45 ammo. Before that we would get tickled whenever we came across M16A1s, M21s or the old pump 12 gauges issued to some units. The M3s though were a total anachronism.

January 16, 2010, 05:11 PM
I've handled a gen-u-ine grease gun. Wasn't able to shoot it, unfortunately. I forget what it was worth....some absurd sum.

navyretired 1
January 16, 2010, 05:26 PM
I was going to point out the picture was an M-3A1 based on no crank handle. It sure wasn't fun cock that sob with your finger but I thought it was a good weapon for it's intended purpose. If I remember right cyclic rate was about 450 RPM and it was absollutly dependable. A machine pistol is for getting the enemies heads down so we could put on aimed co-ordinated rifle fire and it did a damn good job of that. I use to keep one in the gun tub with me in case the fifties run dry and I had to de de out of there. I alway's grudged the 12 mags I kept more than the gun, as you had to download the mags and clean every day during Monsoon or they'd rust and only one round would feed. Those buggers were heavy mush more that the gun.
Just in case weapon's are always a pain-in- the-A$$ if you just carry and maintain and seldom if ever fire.
It was a good piece of gear. The only machined parts were barrel and bolt and some trigger part every thing else was stamped at GM's Guide Lamp Division which made head lamps & buckets prior. The M-3 cost approx $20 each and approx. 700,000 were made, during Korean conflict Ithaca also made some M3A1's.
I just found out although supposedly retired in 1950's They continued to serve into the 1990's and 1st Gulf War In the 13th Transportation battalion.

January 16, 2010, 05:29 PM
Is anybody making a semi auto reproduction of these ? Seems like it would be a fun range toy. I am in the National guard ( PA ) We are a stryker brigade so we have alot of guys that used to be tankers and talk about them every now and them, seems these little sub guns were'nt liked very much.

January 16, 2010, 05:51 PM
My dad was a door-gunner on a road-grader in the Philippine islands during WWII.

The Seabee's had issue 03 Springfield's, and access to a few Thompson SMG's.

During his service there was still mopping up going on, and the few remaining Japanese liked to lay in wait for a dozer or road grader to come plodding along, and then do a Banzai suicide charge, flinging grenades at the lumbering construction equipment.

He said there was nothing better then the Thompson for stopping them in their tracks outside grenade range.

But, if he had to carry one & the ammo & mags for one on foot 24/7, he would rather have had a spear and taken his chances!


January 16, 2010, 05:59 PM
I had one for a while in Viet Nam. Carried it because it looked cool and worked well. It would reliably feed and fire .45ACP shot shells. Traded it for another "cool" gun, don't remember what.

January 16, 2010, 11:03 PM
Sure liked the one that was assigned to me back in 65. Great shooter and you needed to step on the sling to keep it from climbing after more than a two round burst.

Elm Creek Smith
January 17, 2010, 02:22 AM
Well, I only spent 20 years on tanks, and for the first 16 we carried M1911A1 pistols and had 2 M3A1 grease guns on each tank. The grease gun was accurate enough and had a low enough rate of fire that we could cut down the 1x4 that held the E-type silhouette targets at 54 meters or so during familiarization fire by firing single shots. It was all trigger control. Most of my guys like them just fine.

Dismay hit the troops when we got the M9 pistols and our M3A1s were replaced by M16A2 rifles. Let me tell you, it was much easier to clear an M3A1 out of a tank hatch than an M16A2.

If I knew I was going to be fighting in a city, I can't think of a much better house-to-house, room-to-room gun.


January 17, 2010, 06:16 PM
My father was armored infantry in WWII Germany and talked about having one for a while. Had nothing good to say about it, seemed it was stopped easily by dirt in the action. Said he replaced it with an M-1 at the first opportunity.

January 17, 2010, 08:46 PM
the only one that ive seen that comes to mind is LEE MARVIN in the movie THE DIRTY DOZEN, you see that weapon in several scenes. love that movie!!:D:D:D

January 17, 2010, 10:29 PM
I do believe a company called Valkayrie Arms made a semi Grease Gun...

Dunno about the quality, though... http://www.valkyriearms.com/ says that they are "currently going through a re-organization" and also "not accepting orders at the present time".

In further Google search I found that they filed chapter 13. Oh well. Yeah I realized the MAC shoots pretty fast, didn't think that would really matter if it were semi auto.

January 17, 2010, 10:47 PM
The mechanics in my old engineer battalion finally got rid of their grease guns in 1996, swapping them for M9s. I couldn't believe what they were carrying when I first saw them in the field.

January 17, 2010, 11:16 PM
I picked up one in RVN after I was issued a M16.The bolt reminded me of a soup can.We got a batch of bad 45 ammo so that made it useless,traded it off but I can't remember what for.

February 15, 2010, 11:26 AM
I was issued a M3A1 while in Germany. We had to turn them in, along with our 1911A1's, in 1993. The trick to shooting them accurately was to use the shoulder stock, not shoot from the hip. I ended up being issued with a M16A2 when I turned my M3 in, try getting in/out of an M88 with a full size rifle (not fun).

February 15, 2010, 11:59 AM
Only ones I've seen 'live' are with WW2 reinactors but I know they were still 'issued' to tankers in the 80's. None of the tankers had ANYTHING good to say about them at the time.

Probably because by 1985 those stamped metal guns were 40 years old and hadn't been fired a great deal and were 'primitive' compared to that new Beretta pistol.
My son carried one in Germany in the 80's, he was a tank mechanic in the 7th Cavalry..

February 15, 2010, 12:06 PM
... those WW2 Tec9?

handled one once ..

"My Dad has a "Grease-Gun", heŽll sho ya!"

Man, that was crude ......

February 15, 2010, 12:34 PM
I've got a photo somewhere of my dad with a Grease Gun during stateside training in WWII. While he shot Expert with an M1, he never missed an opportunity to try different weapons when he had a chance. If he was going out on a 20 mile hike, he would try to borrow an M1 Carbine from one of the cooks. Its light weight made those outdoor excursions a little easier. Same with the Grease Gun; though I think he actually used it once while trying out the combat obstacle course.

As for the Valkyrie Arms semi-auto versions; I've seen a couple of them over the years at various gun shows. First off, those long 16" barrels do nothing for the overall appearance of the gun. Looks really awkward and out of place on a SMG. Secondly the overall fit and finish has also varied over the years. One I saw maybe 7 or 8 years ago looked like it had bright metal pins and rivets used in its construction, while the finish on the gun seemed to be like flat black enamel paint. Another one I came across 2 or 3 years ago looked much nicer, with a decent parkerized finish to it.

February 15, 2010, 04:14 PM
I shot one once, it was the most boring machine gun to shoot that I've ever shot. At ~350 rpm or whatever it shoots at you might as well just be pulling the trigger really fast in semi-auto.

February 15, 2010, 05:28 PM
Check out " M3 grease gun clips suppressed and 1928 thompson comparison " on youtube.

It will put a smile on your face.

It put a smile on my face :D :D :D

here is the link to the exact video he was talking about.


February 15, 2010, 06:51 PM
I used one as a tanker in the early '80's. Worn out worthless POS that were more dangerous thrown than if you shot at someone. The mags were especially worthless. Frankly, put one or two in a museum and I'll happily melt down the rest. I am exceptionally glad my life never depended upon one of them.

ECS, I really would have liked to have had one that worked for a full magazine. When I was a company armorer in Germany, none of them would. I would have paid a years wage to get an M-16 instead & I hate the M-16.


February 15, 2010, 07:10 PM
The M3 goes about 450rpm. The MP40 and Sten fired about 550rpm,the Thopson700-800 (depends on model) and the PPSh-41 fired a woping 900rpm. In the movie "The Ealge has Landed", one of the Americans has a M3 it goes like this: bang(pause)bang(pause)bang(pause). You should watch the movie.

February 15, 2010, 08:12 PM
Having M3 subs wasn't bad, try to figure out what 6 12 guage pump riot shotguns are doing in a Company arms room in Belrin. As I remember they were Stevens Model 10. This was in 1968 and I had almost finished my tour there before I found the reason in old morning reports over at Brigade Headquarters. War dogs loose during first 6 years of occupation were pulling down people. First patrols were jeep, driver pistol/carbine, officer M1/pistol, Rear seat gunner .30 pintle mount machine gun/pistol. These were trained war dogs and after awhile it was realised that they were getting in under the guns. Officer started to carry shotgun with brass casing and buck for extreme short range. Patrols went on daily into 1954.

Co C, 3rd Btn, 6th Inf
Belin Brigade
Spandau Guard


February 16, 2010, 05:26 PM
They're still issued in the Phillipines.


February 17, 2010, 01:25 PM
Prior to the May 1986 ban on the manufacture of machine guns for civilian sales, a company in Florida called Medea was stamping out M3/M3A1 receiver halves, welding them together and assembling them with surplus Guide Lamp parts.

February 17, 2010, 03:54 PM
didn't they make those things for like twenty bucks (in today's economy, counting inflation, so like $10 back then)?

If you enjoyed reading about "WWII Grease gun" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!