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Owen (Submachine gun)


FGM Lieutenant General
Oct 11, 2010
Castelar, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
This pic shows Evelyn Ernest Owen (15 May 1915 – 1 April 1949) the designer of the australian Owen submachine gun.


Owen had begun work on his design before the beginning of the Second World War but when the Australian military showed little interest in the weapon he enlisted in the Australian army at the start of the war. However, by 1940 Owen had managed to interest Australian industrialists and by 1941 the Australian government made an order for 100 submachine guns to be trialed. The Owen Gun proved to be reliable, robust and well liked by troops with approximately 45,000 produced it became the first Australian firearm to be mass produced in Australia.


By 1941, Owen produced several more prototypes, chambered in .45ACP, 9mm Luger and even .38 Special revolver cartridges; this work was done at Lysaghts Newcastle Works in New South Wales, Australia. 9mm prototype, made by Lysaghts, was tested against Thompson and Sten submachine guns, and found superior to both. Adopted in 1942, this gun was manufactured until 1945 in three basic versions, Mark 1-42, Mark 1-43 (or Mark 1 Wood butt), and Mark 2. About 45 000 Owen SMGs were made by Lysaghts, and these remained in service with Australian forces until 1960s, through World War 2, Korean and Vietnam wars. In general, these weapons were well liked by soldiers due to their robustness, reliability and simplicity. The only downside of Owen SMG was its somewhat heavy weight.


Owen submachine guns are blowback operated, top-fed weapons that fired from open bolt. Receiver is of tubular shape, with the bolt body separated from the cocking handle by the small bulkhead inside. This precluded the dirt to enter the receiver area through the cocking handle slot, but also required the barrel to be made removable, as the bolt and return spring were pulled forward out of receiver. Barrel was held in place by simple latch, located at the front of the receiver, ahead of the magazine housing. Muzzle was equipped with recoil compensator. Pistol grips were made from wood, detachable buttstock was made of steel wire on Mk.1-42 Owens and from wood on later models. Due to the top mounted magazine, fixed sights were offset to the left


Caliber: 9x19mm Luger/Para
Weight: 4.22 kg unloaded
Length: 813 mm
Barrel length: 247 mm
Rate of fire: 700 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 32 rounds
Effective range: 100-200 meters

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I remember reading one of the reasons this was favoured over the Sten gun was due to the vertical magazine, this made pushing through dense jungle a lot easier than a magazine that that projects out at a right angle.