A phone call from my FFL woke me up. “Your special order just came in, it’s a German Sport Guns MP40 in 9mm.” He sounded a bit confused. I rushed down to my LGS to start the 4473.
The salesman dragged out a large cardboard box. It was unusually heavy. Much to my surprise, we found a large wood crate inside. American Tactical Import’s website specifically says, “No wood crate.”
It was stamped American Tactical MP40 with what looked like a Nazi eagle above it. On the crate’s side a metal plate read “American Tactical Imports, Rochester, NY Amish Hand-Crafted Case. ” An Amish-made crate with a semi-automatic version of a German machine gun inside. Go figure.
I opened the case and there she was: a German Sport Guns GSG-MP40P Pistol in 9mm. It looks like the WW2 original but functions differently. The case contained one 25-round magazine, a mag loader, lock, owner’s manual, tools, four front sights and a sticker.
When I took the GSG out of the wood crate I could feel the eyes on me. Well, the gun. Gun store customers and the sales staff peppered me with questions. “Is it a Class 3 weapon? How much does it cost? Does it take original parts? Are you going to SBR it? Is it a pistol or a rifle?”
The question no one asked: what’s it for? All guns should have a purpose: defense, hunting, competition, punching tiny groups in paper or causal plinking. I bought the MP40 because it’s cool.
When I got home I checked the chamber. The charging handle was easy to remove from the bolt. The bolt handle was so loose I worried about it falling out when shooting. I couldn’t see any burs or overly rough edges from machining. The plastic grip and lower receiver cover plastic felt well made.
Although the owner’s manual has eight pictures on the magazine loader and three pages of pictures and instructions on loading, there were no images to illustrate the disassembly process. YouTube was my friend.
You start by removing the charging handle. Then you remove a tiny C clip that holds a pin in place (the C-clip likes to go airborne). Then you have to hammer out — yes, hammer — the pin that connects the upper and lower receiver. You pull apart the two receiver halves, then remove the bolt and recoil spring.
After reassembling the MP40 I headed to the range.
Thanks to a magazine spring that’s tighter than something dirty and extra long feed lips (watch it!), you’re best advised to use the mag loader to fuel the MP40. I started with 25 rounds of Monarch Brass.
The trigger is not meant to be a two-stage, but it sure feels like it. The pull is so long some shooters gave up half way and checked the safety. Speaking of which, it’s a rotating cylinder that sits mid-way between the trigger and the magazine on the bottom of the lower receiver.
And if that’s not odd enough, the cylinder spins indefinitely; it doesn’t lock in any position. Its labeled S at 12:00 and 6:00 position, and F at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions. Without tactile feedback, you have to visually inspect it. A poor design, especially if you want to use the gun for self-defense.
Firing the first magazine I experienced every failure you can imagine, and some you can’t: failure to eject, failure to extract, failure to feed, double feed, and soft primer strike. An then the magazine fell out. I couldn’t unleash more than two consecutive rounds without some sort of failure. But hey, the bolt held open every time.
Next up, old reliable: Monarch brass 124 gr jacketed hollow point. When I tried to charge the MP40’s bolt, it picked up a round and slammed it into the feed ramp. I gave the charging handle a push but it wouldn’t move. Removing the round, I noticed the bullet had been pushed into the case.
In short, a steep feed ramp prevents the MP40 from feeding hollow points.
I ordered a second magazine from ATI ($39.99 plus shipping), and two weeks later it arrived. I gave the MP40 a thorough cleaning and headed back to the range with some Fiocchi 115 gr and CapArms 115 gr “Superior Range Ammo” reloads.
The Fiocchi 115 gr was not the answer to the failure fest, but the MP40 fired a whole mag of inexpensive CapArms 115 gr without issue. Yay! But . . . the second magazine delivered the same farrago of failures, including a failure to extract that resulted in a spent casing being lodged above the fire control group. After 500 rounds of six types of ammo, only one magazine fired all 25 rounds. Once.
According to GSG the rear sight is adjustable. They say you can easily loosen a screw and drift the sight left or right then tighten the screw again. Here in the real world, tightening the locking screw pulls the rear sight back into the original factory hole. Basically, the rear sight is going to go where it wants.
The MP40 comes with five front sights of varying height. The barrel thread protector keeps the front site in place. By removing it you can swap out the front sight and adjust your elevation. If you regularly use a suppressor on the MP40, you run the risk of losing the front sight; it can fall off when there’s no muzzle device in place.
In the final analysis, the GSG MP40 reminds of an ex-girlfriend (name withheld by request); it’s unreliable and temperamental. You can’t feed it when you want to. You never know if she’s going to disappear into the bathroom and puke her guts out. But she is attractive and you want to love her.
Truth be told, I would’ve been OK with all the pistol’s little “quirks” if the gun had run reliably. Or somewhat reliably. Or, let’s face it, at all. In fact, it only does do one thing well: attract attention. Even for a range toy, that’s not enough.
SPECIFICATIONS: German Sport Guns GSG-MP40P Pistol
Overall Length: 24.5″
Frame Construction: Zamak 5 (zinc alloy) with Polymer Accents
Weight: w/ Magazine (Unloaded) 126 oz
Barrel Length: 10.8″
Magazine: All metal detachable 25 round
MSRP: $649.95 ($549.99 at Brownells)
RATINGS: (out of 5 stars)
Accuracy * * *
It’s actually pretty accurate for such an awkward and poorly built gun.
Build Quality * *
It looks well made, but looks can be deceiving. The rear sight can’t be tightened down all the way, and the polymer housing separated after the first range session. The magazine can fall out of the gun while firing.
The reliability issues really killed the overall rating. It just won’t work right and is not made well.