The Return of the Good Ole' M3 .45 ACP 'Grease Gun'


August 3, 2004, 08:52 PM
Just sharing, from the land of make-do.

I came across some interesting Armed Forces of the Philipppines news at

In immediate need of a compact boarding weapon (and/or a PDW for land armor crews),
AND apparently put off by the high cost/time delays in buying H&K MP5's, or even the local Floro 9mm Subguns, the Philippine Navy (PN) and Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) have turned to refurbishing and upgrading some mothballed M3 and M3A1 .45 ACP SMG's.

A version equipped with sound suppresor passed tests with flying colors last May (2004) at Fort Boni. Naval Station:
These suppressor-equipped versions are for the Marines' Special Operations Platoon. The subsonic rounds make the suppression particularly worth it. The 360-450 rpm ROF supposedly allows quick trigger fingers to let off single shots from this ostensibly full-auto-only firearm, and increases controllability.

Supposedly, the cost of reconditioning, upgrading and reissuing around 40 of these old warhorses is less than the procurement cost of a single H&K UMP (a modern .45 ACP subgun).

Lacking cash or support from the powers that be,
the men and women of our Navy and the Marines get my heartfelt encouragements.


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August 3, 2004, 08:53 PM
God bless common sense.

August 3, 2004, 09:36 PM
I wouldn't mind carrying one. :)

August 3, 2004, 10:02 PM
They could have picked a whole lot worse....

...but not much that would be better. :D

August 3, 2004, 11:15 PM
I shot a suppressed M3 years ago.
It was neat.
All I heard was the bolt moving and the bullets hitting the steel targets downrange.
The slow ROF makes the M3 very easy to control.
The sights are crude enough, but easier to use than some other SMG sights.

It has always been a source of annoyance to me that the supply of registered M3s is so low, and their prices are so high.

August 3, 2004, 11:20 PM
Hey, maybe instead of spending millions on this 7" barrelled XM8 rifle, we should just stamp out a couple hundered thousand of the old M3a1 warhorses and issue those. Be a hellva lot cheaper and just about as effective.

August 3, 2004, 11:28 PM
Never shot the grease gun although did use some of the others. Hard to beat an MP5 but I think refurbed M3s would be pretty useful and persuasive.

Looks like they would be a blast (!) to shoot.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 4, 2004, 01:23 AM
It is pretty easy to do single shots on an unsuppressed Grease Gun. The first time I ever fired one we had been working with MP5s. When we switched to Grease Guns I fired a single shot because after the MP5s I figured there must be a stoppage since only one round had fired so far... as it turns out, M3s are just slow... but still fun.

August 4, 2004, 01:57 AM
So, these are the new firearms that the Philipppino Marines won't be using in Iraq, right?


August 4, 2004, 07:36 AM
Of course, they'll only have them so long as al-quedo says it OK....One good threat and the Phillipios get scared and run away.:barf:

Art Eatman
August 4, 2004, 08:44 AM
AZRickD and tiberius: Don't go confusing politicians with real people. The shortage of guts ain't in the Filipino armed forces.

FWIW, it's "Filipinos" who live in the "Philippine Islands", for those with doubts as to spelling.

I've been from Baguio to Basilan Island; it's a really neat place with a whole bunch of really neat people.


:), Art

August 4, 2004, 09:15 AM
One good threat and the Phillipios get scared and run away. I suggest you read "Ghost Soldiers" by Hampton Sides about the raid by the 6th Ranger Battalion and Filipino guerrilas to free the survivors of the Bataan death march before making such an unfounded statement.

But by all means, please fill us in on your BTDT accomplishments.

M60 tanks had an M3 for the driver so we had them into the mid-80's. We even had one M3 with the cocking handle, although the rest were M3A1's. Pretty crude but I wouldn't stand in front of one.

August 4, 2004, 09:29 AM
I carried one while crewing on the M60A3 tanks in the '80's and I wasn't particularly found of the weapon. It just felt cheap. Like something that was made in someones garage in their spare time from scrap materials.

August 4, 2004, 09:31 AM
Hi, Art, VG :)

Rick, Scott,
You have every right to be peeved about the pullout of the Philippine contingent from Iraq. Similarly, I and many other Filipinos --especially the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and particularly the Philippine contingent members who can only follow orders-- have a right to be angry about the same thing (though the contingent members were no doubt relieved to reunite with families they'd not seen in well over a year).

Please make sure your ire is pointed in the right direction.

Our familiar knowledge of Americans is as a fair, plain-spoken, and brave people. This we know from seeing first-hand how they lay down their very lives to protect the Free World. We know it, and no disgraceful act, no scandal, no impeachable dishonesty by any of your temporary public officials --even the highest in your land-- can shake that knowledge.

The shame for personal failures ought accrue only to the persons committing them.
The two-mindedness, vacillations, and spinelessness of temporary politicians and REMF's in th Philippines are hardly any different.

Mabuhay to you both, and God keep your soldiers in Iraq safe
until you can bring them all home, job done.

The Refurbished Grease Guns
There's one serious issue with the refurbished M3A1's, and that's weight.
In something issued to folks who may have to tread water, that might be a problem. I'm hearing it's around 10 lbs, loaded, and with the suppressor.

Not too far off the mark :)
The M3 really is made from somewhat low-end parts and processes.
IIRC their raison d'etre was wartime need for cheaply and easily manufactured alternatives to the .45 ACP Thompsons.

August 4, 2004, 10:24 AM
While the actions of the filipino govt are comptemptible to say the least; i take particular exception to the particular brush that you're painting a whole group of people with. the only difference between the United States and the RP (NOT PI!!) RE: Iraq/GWoT is leadership, and depending on how the november goes, that difference might just be moot. Trust me there are numerous Filipinos and those of Filipino descent that are incensed at the RP govt''s actions.

August 4, 2004, 10:32 AM
Hey, look!

This isn't the Roundtable! Who knew? Talk about the guns, not the choices made by the politicians, and while we're at it lets not paint the men and women who serve with the same brush we use on their leaders. Seems like the US military did more than a little running away in Somalia, but no one blames them for the cowardice of the leadership in DC. This is the same kinda deal.

Anyway, wanna talk politics, take it out of the rifle forum.

Also, yeah. Good idea to use the grease guns. What is old is new again.


August 4, 2004, 11:19 AM
I agree, get the politics out, no offense.

As far as the Grease Gun... every mechanic should never be without one.:D

I just wish I could have one in my tool box at work or at home or at the storage building or in the truck or...:D

August 4, 2004, 11:41 AM
Ten pounds for the suppressed model? Wow thats heavy, does it include mags? My recollections is that m3 mags are pretty stout as well.

Pug Puppy
August 4, 2004, 11:55 AM
I'd put the M14 and greasegun back into production. Anybody whose job prevents them toting a '14, gets a greaser.
I wish they'd issue US civilians one of each.

August 4, 2004, 12:07 PM
Both people I know who had hands-on M3 experience didn't think much of them. My impression was that they equated cheap construction with lack of reliability. It's not a good thing to not trust your equipment.

On the other hand, having spent many months in the Philippines, I can tell you that my experience with both the people and the country was the best I've had in the world. Nicest, most hospitable and outgoing hosts you'll ever come across.

The Filipinos have gone through some bad times over the last 100 years - colonizaition, occupation, colonization, occupation - natural disasters. To be fair, some of their set backs were due to the US - and because they have been such good friends to the US. The good character of the people comes through every time, however. This thing in Iraq was a political expediency, not a mark on the good people of the Philippines.

MABUHAY horge! Go get some of those bad guys hiding out in Mindanao.

August 4, 2004, 12:21 PM
The grease gun is very similar to the sten - cheap to produce, and reliable. I'd pick one of 'em over a Beretta 92 any day...

August 4, 2004, 12:26 PM
The M3 was the last in a series of WWII era submachine guns (MP40, STEN, PPsH) mass produced from stamped sheetmetal. From my research, the M3 was the most effective and reliable of the bunch. It might have looked and felt "cheap", but it did the job it was supposed to do - a bullet hose that went bang when the trigger was pulled.

And no one has ever complained about the effectiveness of the .45 ACP round.

Oleg Volk
August 4, 2004, 03:36 PM
Of all open-bolt submachine guns I've tried, it was the second in controllability only to Beretta M38. I was very impressed with its balance, though I lack extensive experience with it.

August 4, 2004, 03:43 PM
Put a .45 on their hips and they only have to hump one type of ammo.

August 4, 2004, 04:03 PM
Well the only SMG I ever handled was the M3 so I really don't have anything to compare to. As far as humping only one kind of ammo I guess that would have been a good thing but the thought of a tanker having to hump anywhere means something is dreadfully wrong.

August 4, 2004, 06:06 PM
Great to see alot of old tankers here on the forum. I had a M3, but they got rid of them when M1's replaced the M60's. 1/66 AR 2AD

August 4, 2004, 06:23 PM
I have fire two Greaseguns, but ony suppressed. I really liked the suppressed M3A1!! A tad heavy but for CQB, Recon and is a great tool.
Did get to shoot the Mac-10, a pair of Tompsons and the UMP-45, which is by far my favorite of the .45 SMG's. But the Greasegun is a close second, and in this case cheap and available NOW.
I spent 6 weeks in the Phillipines...mostly around Subic Bay, and the people were very friendly, the military/police are people this old grunt jarhead would not want to mess with. They are extremely intelligent, adaptable and friendly folks.
Politics...well, we have not to look too far from home to see the greatest political antics.

August 4, 2004, 07:53 PM
Sorry....No offense intended to Phillipinos[sic] as a people.....We know they're historically tough....just making a joke about the recent actions of their government....wrong forum....mea culpa.

Personally I like the M3 in principle...never had the opportunity to fire a real one though.

edited because it should have read "Fillipinos"

August 4, 2004, 08:22 PM
I had a M3, but they got rid of them when M1's replaced the M60's

What are tank crews issued nowadays?

August 4, 2004, 08:33 PM
What are tank crews issued nowadays?

Good question. I don't know for sure, but since even our standard issue "rifles" would be called carbines in WW2...anthing would probably be appropriate...esp. the M4's.

Badger Arms
August 4, 2004, 10:27 PM
The M4 is standard AFAIK for tank crews when they can get them. Many Tank Crews in Iraq were short and couldn't arm all crew members. Many Tank Crews used pick-up AK-47's for the job. IMHO, the M4 is an outstanding weapon for Tank Crew Protection.

Art Eatman
August 4, 2004, 11:28 PM
During my daze of occupation duty in S. Korea in 1954/1955, our supply truck guys usually checked out a grease gun when they'd make a run up to the supply depot at Yong Dong Po. We had a lot of trouble with "slicky boys" getting into the back of a supply truck and throwing stuff out on the street for their buddies to haul away.

The primary instruction for our shotgun guards was, "You DO NOT initiate a sequence of "Bang!" followed by "Halt, halt, halt!" followed by "Braaaaapppp..."


:), Art

August 5, 2004, 06:26 AM
Sorry to contribute to the drift....

Let's lay the blame where it belongs--the Filipino politicians who caved to al-Qaeda pressure out of fear of attacks in their own backyard. :banghead:

The Filipino military--I'm pretty sure the ones in Iraq (as well as many back home) were ready to do a few "headhunting" missions of their own in response... :evil:

And I'm sure they'd put those Grease Guns to proper use "lubricating the squeaky wheels" of terrorism... :cool:

August 5, 2004, 07:59 AM
What are tank crews issued nowadays?

M9, aka the Beretta 92F. One or two M4's. They're trying to get enough M4's or M16's for all tanker crews.

During the initial invasion of Iraq, tankers picked up AK47's with a semiofficial ok due to a lack of long guns. When enough M4's got around, a lot of tankers didn't want to give up their AK47's. Now, it's fairly no-no to carry an AK47.

'course, if you're not caught (by the officers), you're not wrong. :evil:

(Kidding, I swear!)

August 5, 2004, 09:15 AM
I guess there are a few of us tankers on THR.
3/70 AR 5th ID "Strike Swiftly"

August 5, 2004, 09:56 AM
A friend's boyfriend returned from Iraq earlier this year, his platoon was issued 2 M4s and 2 M9s per tank while over there.


August 5, 2004, 10:08 AM
Random thoughts on the Grease Gun:
M3's are cool, they're sorta like the MP-40, but not as ass-ugly as that thing is, and has a rather cooler sound (I like guns with a slower rate of fire, sounds more like "Dakka-dakka" than the "brrrrp!" that faster arms make). Plus, .45 ACP == Mo' Dakka (joke, no caliber wars, I command it!)

Hurrah for useless posts!

August 5, 2004, 12:05 PM
Art Eatman,

I've only heard one person, other than you, use that term "slicky boys". My Pop, a Korean war vet, still uses it sometimes. Usually in describing lawyers, car salesmen and the like. :)

Art Eatman
August 5, 2004, 08:41 PM
Yeah, Tinker, those guys could steal your socks and never take your boots off while they were doing it!

:), Art

August 5, 2004, 10:47 PM
This may be a stupid question, but if they are so cheap to make, how come they aren't available to the general public in semi-auto version? From my point of view the ultimate in home defense, looks cool, handy, reliable, .45cal...need I say more? Must be a good reason they aren't available or common.

August 5, 2004, 10:57 PM
They aren't black plastic and don't have an advertising budget. ;)

August 5, 2004, 11:19 PM
This may be a stupid question, but if they are so cheap to make, how come they aren't available to the general public in semi-auto version?

They do!

August 6, 2004, 05:45 AM
They are available in semi, but wildly overpriced IMNSHO. :mad:

August 6, 2004, 09:15 AM
Art Eatman,

He also told me why those guys were so "slick". They had to be in that trade. He saw what was left of a slicky boy after some village "poppasans" caught him in the act. He was a medic during the war and the scene grossed him out. :)

August 6, 2004, 10:27 AM
The more that can go wrong. I think this is a fine idea and shows some ingenuity and some very intelligent leadership. These weapons were meant for a few reasons, expedient and easily maintainable. they are both, as well as their cousin from England, the STEN. That is not a weapon to balk at. My money has it on the M3 and would take one over that damned H&K anytime (especially in surpressed mode). The MP5 is given to getting fouled up to malfunction very quickly, compard to the M3 (both in surpressed state). The M3 and the STEN can fire quite dirty. I'll save the money, equip more troops and spend less time training in maintenance on a simpler weapon. Less need for a professional armorer on maintenance as well.
By the way I know this sounds like a similar arguement to the M-16/M-4 vs AK. Sorry...

August 6, 2004, 11:30 AM
This may be a stupid question, but if they are so cheap to make, how come they aren't available to the general public in semi-auto version?
They do. But first, it is unwieldy with the length of barrel required for civilian ownership. Second, the safety mechanism isn't likely suitable for civilian use.

August 7, 2004, 12:46 AM
That thing looks goofy with the long barrel.

If the stock were pulled off, would it be considered a pistol, and obtainable with a short barrel?

August 7, 2004, 04:58 PM
2 thoughts.

#1 Shows you don't need the latest wizbang modern guns. The oldies can still get it done.

#2. The Phillipines are so poor they can't even afford a single HK. Brutal.:eek:

August 7, 2004, 07:38 PM

Hi. Yes, I understood the weight to have included the mags.
I think it would be extremely difficult to allow M3's for private civvy ownership for lack of built in safety features, as well as for the full-auto aspect.

I apologize for the following thread drift.
[rant on]
Originally posted by jimbo
The Phillipines are so poor they can't even afford a single HK. Brutal. :eek: Yes, jimbo, brutal.
1. Our Armed Forces has to restrain a pseudo-Islamic rebellion, heavily funded by foreign governments including, until recently, Iraq.
2. Our Armed Forces also have to contest a Communist insurgency logistically supported by a foreign communist state. Smuggled shipments of 'Norinco' AK's, RPG's/SAM's and motley LMG's are regularly beached on our shores, straight from the patron state for pickup by the insurgents --we don't have a Coast Guard or Navy big enough to protect 7,100 islands.
3. Our Armed Forces further have to contain the aforementioned, neighboring Communist State, --it continues to build hard outposts with STOL airtrips on coral atolls IN OUR WATERS, just 72 miles offshore, and we don't have anything we can oppose it with.
4. Our Armed Forces and Police still further have to hunt down and eliminate a host of JI and al-Qayyida terrorist cells in the country, those cells heavily funded from outside, and increasingly engaged in operational tie-ups with communist assets.

We simply can't afford new hardware. The M3's are here now, and ready to go. Navy SWAG, Marine Force Recon, Army Scout Rangers and regular troops will have to continue making do with whatever second-hand, reconditioned rattle traps we can scrounge up. If we can contain so much aggression with such dilapidated materiel, well... I can only dream of the peace that could be secured with decent hardware.

Heartfelt thanks to the US for helping us out, and continuing to help us out.
[rant off]

I again apologize for any discomfort caused by my above detour, and thank everyone for all the comments to this thread. The M3 is a worthy weapon, whether for use in the services or even merely for studied research by a firearms aficionado.

Lots of history to it,
and heck, the old 'Grease Gun' still does gets the job done.


Gary A
August 7, 2004, 10:29 PM
horge - I don't know you but having been reading your posts for some little time now regarding firearms, mostly Bersas, and other topics which come up in context of the posts, I have come to the conclusion that you are pretty much a class act. You have common sense and express yourself well and with politeness and respect. Rare qualities. I salute you.

August 8, 2004, 01:26 AM
This may be a stupid question, but if they are so cheap to make, how come they aren't available to the general public in semi-auto version? Open-bolt guns are a no-no. And it's much harder [$$$$] to make it function as a closed-bolt semiauto.

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