The North Vietnamese KM-50M submachine gun
When Mao’s communist army gained control of China in 1950, the Soviet Union immediately began to supply them with arms, equipment, and ammunition. Among them were tens of thousands of PPSh-41 submachine guns, the iconic Soviet submachine gun of World War II.
The Soviets also sent weapons manufacturing equipment and engineers to train the Chinese to produced their own weapons. In short time they were producing their own copy of the PPSh-41 called the Type 50. The Type 50 was an exact clone of the PPSh-41 with one exception; it was made to only accept 35 round box magazine, the lower capacity magazine being much more reliable than the 71 round drum magazine.
After the First Indochina War China began supplying the newly created communist state called North Vietnam with arms, among them thousands of Type 50 submachine guns. In 1958 North Vietnam began modification of their Type 50′s into a new weapon called the KM-50M. The KM-50M featured two interesting modifications. First the wooden stock was removed and replaced with an adjustable steel wire stock as well as a pistol grip. The barrel was shortened and the cooling sleeve truncated to 3 inches. Finally the front sight was replaced with a front sight based upon the French MAT-49 submachine gun. Many North Vietnamese soldiers and Vietcong fighters were former Viet Minh who had fought the French during the First Indochina War, and thus were experienced with using captured MAT-49 SMG’s. The modifications made to the KM-50M resulted in the weapon 7.5lbs, around 1.1lbs lighter than the original PPSh-41/Type 50. Production ended in 1964 when North Vietnam received supplies of Soviet and Chinese AK’s and SKS rifles instead. Most were issued to Vietcong and NVA units during the Vietnam War.