Weapons Manual: Finland's Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun | HistoryNet MENU
Finnish units, many armed with KP/-31s, helped slow the 1944 Soviet offensive on the Karelian Isthmus.

Weapons Manual: Finland’s Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun

By Paraag Shukla
October 2017 • World War II Magazine

LIKE MOST MILITARIES early in the war, the Finnish army was unsure how best to utilize submachine guns in combat units. It initially issued the KP/-31 to light machine-gun teams, but by 1940, frontline soldiers quickly recognized its ability to serve as an effective individual weapon. The KP/-31’s reliability in cold weather, good long-range accuracy, and high rate of fire made it well suited for the hit-and-run style attacks that Finnish troops often used against the Soviet forces. The Finnish army incorporated increasing numbers of KP/-31s at the infantry squad level throughout the war, which helped counter the numerical superiority of their enemy. The Soviets, impressed by the weapon’s effectiveness, even adapted much of the design for their own drum-fed PPSh-41 submachine gun. —Paraag Shukla

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Art by Jim Laurier

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