Ordnance Notes -- by Bob Stoner GMCM (SW) Ret.

Carl Gustaf M45 Series 9mm Submachine Guns

Overhead view of the M45 with stock extended. (Photo: Philadelphia Ordnance, Inc.)

The M45 submachine gun is a native Swedish design first fielded in 1945. The gun is all metal, except for the wooden grips. It has a folding stock that pivots to the right. The barrel is shrouded with the front sight mounted to the shroud. The M45 can take either a magazine of 71 rounds or a double-column box magazine of 36 or 50 rounds. The M45B and subsequent does away with the magazine well adapter of the first model and can only use the box magazine. The M45D has a selector switch: SEMI-AUTOMATIC and AUTOMATIC; all other guns use trigger control to achieve single shots. The safety is the cocking handle which can be pushed into a cutout in the receiver to lock the bolt in either the forward or rear position. A detachable ejection port cover is provided to keep dirt and debris out of the gun. The M45-series guns fire from and open bolt and are straight blowback in operation (that is, the bolt is not locked at firing -- it is held by the driving spring).

Sometimes called the "Swedish K", the K stands for "Kulsprutepistole" which roughly translates as "bullet squirting pistol." The cyclic rate of the M45 is 550 to 600 rounds/minute. The M45 was routinely provided with a sling, magazine filler, and blank firing adapter for training. The gun was manufactured under license by Egypt as the "Port Said." Model variations include:

  • M45 which has the detachable magazine well adapter for the drum magazine.

  • M45B is redesigned and strengthened and eliminates the magazine adapter.

  • M45C adds a bayonet lug for mounting the standard M96 Swedish Mauser bayonet.

  • M45D which adds a selector switch for semi-auto and full-auto fire.

The M45-series guns were used in the 1960s by various U.S. special operations forces in Viet Nam. Some operators fitted the gun with a very effective silencer made by Sionics in Alpharetta, GA for special missions.

Unlike the guns in the photos which are Parkerized (manganese phosphate coated), the Viet Nam guns used a peculiar blue-green (near turquoise) finish over their Parkerizing. At some time in the mid-1960s the Swedish government cutoff export of the M45 to the Americans to protest our involvement in Viet Nam. As a result Smith and Wesson developed a similar design called the Model 76 to replace the Swedish K. Some of these guns may still be in the armories of U.S. special operations forces, but the design has been superseded by the ubiquitous Heckler and Koch MP5-series of 9mm submachine guns.

Carl Gustaf M45 Specifications:

Caliber: 9mm NATO (9x19mm)
Length (stock extended) -- 31.8 inches, (stock folded) -- 21.7 inches.
Barrel -- 8.4 inches
Weight (empty) -- 8.6 lbs.

An olive-painted barrel jacket from an M45C with the M96 Swedish Mauser bayonet attached (shown with its scabbard and attachments). (Photo: Bofors Carl Gustaf AB)
An M45B with leather sling, empty case catcher, ammunition, and magazine loader. (Photo: Bofors Carl Gustaf AB)
An M45B with stock folded and web sling. (Photo: Bofors Carl Gustaf AB)
An M45B with stock extended. (Photo: Bofors Carl Gustaf AB)

 © 2005 Bob Stoner R3