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.

GSG MP40 (courtesy CH for thetruthaboutguns.com)

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.

GSG MP40 (courtesy CH for thetruthaboutguns.com)

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.

GSG MP40 (courtesy CH for thetruthaboutguns.com)

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.

GSG MP40 (courtesy CH for thetruthaboutguns.com)

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.

To test the MP40’s accuracy, I shot 25 rounds of CapArms at 25 yards, using the magazine to support the gun. All but five rounds hit inside a 1.5 inch area.
GSG MP40 (courtesy CH for thetruthaboutguns.com)

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″
Height: 7″
Frame Construction: Zamak 5 (zinc alloy) with Polymer Accents
Weight: w/ Magazine (Unloaded) 126 oz
Caliber: 9x19mm
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.

Ergonomics *
Ergonomics? NEIN!

Overall *
The reliability issues really killed the overall rating. It just won’t work right and is not made well.

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45 Responses to Gun Review: GSG MP40 9mm

  1. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out. It should have been beauty – the perfect open carry gun:-)

    • Don’t like it. It needs stock and it needs to be full auto. Why isn’t it full auto? We have a senate, house, and presidency that are republicans. Why isn’t it full auto yet?

      • 1) What is the value of full-auto in a gun that jams every other round?

        2) Don’t forget that the presidency and Senate were in Republican hands when the “no new machine guns” FOPA law was passed. I don’t think Republicans are going to be our saviors when it comes to full-auto guns.

        • For no. 1 – If we could get FA maybe we could have them build them as they are meant to work, shooting from open bolt. Simple and easy solution.

  2. The reliability sounds similar to the GSG-522 (The MP5 clone). It refuses to cycle some ammunition, and even with the ammo it likes, it cycles only when you whisper sweet melodies near its ejection port. Love the look of their guns, but I wish they’d work a little more dependably.

    • Yeah my son’s gsg522 reliability sucks too. If it’s slightly dirty, expect out of battery kabangs. And I mean bunches.

      This is a shame because it’s really fun to shoot when the stars are properly aligned, the ammo gods are smiling and you’ve chosen the right mag out of the stable to use that day.

  3. Oy vay!

    Thanks for taking one for the team. They do look like you should want one. Glad I wasn’t first in.

    Thank you again.

    • I would hesitate calling the original MP40 “engineering”. Blowback open bolt sub guns are about as simple an operating mechanism as you can have for an automatic firearm. It’s basically a barrel, a tube, a chunky bolt, and some springs. Just like an m3 “grease gun” you could probably knock out a close facsimile in your garage in a long weekend.

  4. Well there’s another steaming dumpster fire masquerading as fine Teutonic engineering. The sad part is that the MP40 wasn’t all that great (by modern standards) even in 1940. Then again, an open bolt blowback gun is kind of hard to mess up. Yet again, GSG managed to create a market for cool looking paperweights.

  5. Thank you. I now feel much better at not being able to purchase one of these in the People’s Republik of Maryland.

  6. Sucks that it doesn’t work right. It is priced right for frivolous range toy. When I started reading the article I assumed $1500-2000. Since I can’t afford a real SMG, this would have gone well with my collection of WWII firearms. I’ll admit I still gave it some thought, but the reliability issues sound like this could be dangerous to actually fire. On a positive note, ammo costs will be low I guess.

  7. I was in the property section of my PD the other day and they were cleaning out a weapons storage safe. Inside was a full auto mp-40 confiscated in 1965. One of the coolest things I’ve ever held

  8. American Tactical here,

    We’re sorry to hear of these issues with this firearm. Please contact our customer service center at customerservice@americantactical.us as we definitely want to get this in to our service department to diagnose what could be causing these issues. This firearm has a limited lifetime warranty that we cover ourselves here in SC. As this is a brand new firearm and was fully tested and inspected prior to leaving the factory in Germany it should be functioning correctly. Our CS dept will provide you with an RA number and pay the shipping to get it to us, cover any services required, provide you with a report of our discoveries, and if we cannot get this running 100% will replace it at no cost to you.

    • Thank you for the feedback! We’ll send an e-mail right now and get it on its way back to you soon, then follow up with another article later. Additionally, we’ll be doing some suppressed shooting next time.

      Jeremy

    • I will commend you on your proactive customer service, but might I suggest you try having the Amish make not just the crate, but the gun as well?

      • I laughed.

        We had an Amish community down the road from where I grew up and I pictured them test firing the MP40’s with their staw hats over their earmuffs and delivering them in their horse and buggies.

  9. “All guns should have a purpose: defense, hunting, competition, punching tiny groups in paper or causal plinking.”

    Nope.

  10. Well, at least the cool factor is way off the chart. I wont get into my dads Vet Nam (thats right) bring back MP40.

  11. “The reliability issues really killed the overall rating. It just won’t work right and is not made well.” That describes a lot of guns on the market today. And yet they still sell and the mfr stays in business. Go figure.

  12. i would have to say to anyone that asked “whats it for”, “you obviously wouldn’t understand”

    sucks reliability is so bad cuz DAMN i want one. maybe i’ll wait for the gen 2. if there is one.

  13. Hmmm…..has that been your personal experience with the 522 Shawn Graber? I purchased a 522 a couple of years ago and have had very few issues with mine. Although I haven’t used every make of 22LR in mine (only CCI Mini Mags, CCI Tactical and Winchester), I rarely experience cycling issues, FTE’s or FTF’s. My only real issue with the 522 is disassembly and cleaning (not a quick and easy task), otherwise I really enjoy shooting mine.

  14. So, I’m assuming you’re going to give the factory 3 more chances to get the gun to run right (which they will be unable to do), meanwhile constantly referencing it as the end-all-be-all uber-gun in every other article, regardless of what the topic of that article is? Or do you only do that with your $10,000 Cabot 1911s when they run worse than a Jennings that spent a decade at the bottom of the sea?

  15. After my experience with the Sig Mosquito–which I found out years later is really a GSG–I will never buy one of their products again. My Mosquito is actually reasonably reliable with MiniMags, but it is hideously inaccurate, and has so many safety “features” that it is difficult to operate, making it virtually useless as a gun to introduce people to the world of shooting.

  16. It does look cool and I can definitely see it attracting attention wherever it goes. I’m with you: every gun should have a purpose. Plinking is perfectly legitimate, so long as the firearm actually is fun to plink with, which presupposes that it is reliable.

    My first handgun was a Glock. So that pretty much set the standard for reliability with me. In fact, I first found TTAG while looking for reviews on a gun I was interested in at the time. I won’t put up with an unreliable gun.

  17. For all outdoor YouTube videographers, when the wind kicks up, just call it a day and try again some other time. Either that or cut the audio and then dub in a soundtrack later. A crappy annoying video does you no credit.

  18. German Sport Guns, huh? I didn’t realize that clearing jams was a sport in Germany.

    “Hey, Franz, are you going to the Feuerwaffestörungkorrektur match today?”

  19. Seems like I read pretty good things about their STG44 in 22LR.

    Anybody have any complaints about that?

    • I really like my GSG Stg44 in 22lr. Functions great, even with most subsonic 22, and is very quiet with my suppressor. Made a couple minor adjustments and it shoots very good at 100 yds. My Hk93 scope mount fits on the GSG Stg44 !
      I enjoy shooting it, even though I’ve already shoot 22lr in my Ruger full auto AC556 and full auto AK47.

  20. Well that’s a shame…If it were more reliable and were a solid hunk of good old-fashioned steel, I would have bought one in a heartbeat. Maybe someone will make a good Steyr-Solothurn MP34, AKA the Rolls-Royce of SMGs, clone.

  21. I got mine 6/20/2017. so far ive run over a 150 rounds through it without one glitch… im shooting fmj 115 grain blazer bullets. actually some cheap ammo I buy from the pawn shop. I bought 5 extra magazines for it. all fit and theres no problem with them dropping out. this is the closest I will ever get to the real deal. I would like a stock for it that is welded shut. I have 3 sbr guns and its not really worth it . im sorry you had a problem with yours. when the mag wont stay in that’s a problem that can cause all kinds of issues. send it back and lets what you have to say after its fixed. I bought a gsg stg 44/ 22 for my grandson and it runs like a top.

  22. Well that sucks. Glad to hear someone else has one with no issues. When I first saw the GSG MP40 I thought WOW! Unfortunately, the same reason that prevents me from buying the Sig MPX pistol keeps me from the GSG MP40 – it’s not full auto. Yes, these weapons absolutely have a “cool” factor but that doesn’t compensate enough for me. I had a chance to buy a brand new Sig MPX pistol for $980 and passed. My buddy bought it.

  23. Here’s another GSG MP40 success story. Bought mine three days ago and have been trying to make it jam! Fed it all the junk I had in my ammo box. Finally had one failure to feed when I canted the mag by pushing forward. Put a piece of velcro tape on the front of the mag to snug it up in the mag well and prevent accidentally pushing forward on the mag. Not a single jam since, even when trying to push foward. I’m close to 300 rounds through it now and no hiccups. And that’s without cleaning. Gun is solid. Not a bit of rattle or loose fit anywhere on it. Do wish they could make the charging handle a bit more original. The rest of the fun is really close in appearance. Also, some period markings would have been a plus. But then, how much can you expect for $529.

  24. I received my European spec (with folding stock – I live in France) yesterday took it to the range today and can report it was without problem with S&B 124gr fmj’s. A couple of misfeeds with my reloads that are specifically for my Walther P38 (P1) with the lowest powder charge so clearly they don’t work well but standard ammo perfect.

    No FTF, FTE etc. no magazine falling out (you may have pushed the mag release button by accident?) First time shooting all within 6″ at 25 metres, slightly left so some adjustment required by me or to the gun, it is an absolute blast, sounds to me that you have got a bad example, mine is bang on and a pleasure to own. Sure it’s not a target rifle/pistol (but shoots pretty damned well for a first outing) but that’s not what I bought it for, it’s a recreation of a historical weapon that created quite a reponse from fellow club members – I think they shot more rounds than I did………

  25. Other than Gun Tests this is the 2nd person that did a review on a gun that was bought at retail and not sent to the reviewer by a manufacturer or supplier who goes over it with a fine tooth comb, so there are no flaws and no failures when the gun is fired. I commend you and Thanks for an Honest review..

  26. You must have a lemon that slid through the cracks. I just bought one (MP40) and it eats anything I put through it and I haven’t had a single jam. It makes me curious if you might have held it by the magazine while shooting instead of locking your thumb and fingers into the mag well area like it was designed to be used. I have heard about jamming problems if they are held by the magazine and the instruction manual specifically warns of holding it this way. Mine just runs perfect. Also I have the STG mp44 in 22. It had problems feeding and ATI paid the shipping to their factory and back, Made all repairs at NO CHARGE and it now runs like a Swiss watch. They really stand behind their product and I am very happy with both the MP40 and their MP44.

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