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Vigneron (submachine gun)

Vigneron (submachine gun)

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The Vigneron is a submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

 manufactured in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 during the 1950s. It used the 9x19mm NATO
9 mm Luger Parabellum
The 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken for their Luger semi-automatic pistol...

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 and was used by the Belgian Army
Belgian Army
The Land Component is organised using the concept of capacities, whereby units are gathered together according to their function and material. Within this framework, there are five capacities: the command capacity, the combat capacity, the support capacity, the services capacity and the training...

 until the 1980s. It had the ability to use MP40
MP40
The MP 38 and MP 40 , often called Schmeisser, were submachine guns developed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by paratroopers, tank crews, platoon and squad leaders, and other troops during World War II.-Development:The MP 40 descended from its predecessor, the MP 38, which was in turn based...

 type magazines which were popular in Europe at the time. The Vigneron is a selective fire weapon for short range street and brush fighting. It remains reasonably accurate up to 100m using sighted semi-automatic fire. For close range combat, 2- or 3-shot bursts are recommended.

Pre-production


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the Belgian Army
Belgian Army
The Land Component is organised using the concept of capacities, whereby units are gathered together according to their function and material. Within this framework, there are five capacities: the command capacity, the combat capacity, the support capacity, the services capacity and the training...

 was equipped with a mixture of British and American guns. The army, wanting to replace them with a modern and, if possible, Belgian design, held tests between several prototypes:
  • the Imperia, an improved Sten gun;
  • the RAN, a design by "Repousmetal S.A.";
  • several FN prototypes; and
  • The Vigneron M1

M1


The Vigneron M1 was designed by a retired Belgian army Colonel, Georges Vigneron, and officially adopted by the Belgian army in 1953.

The first series of Vignerons was manufactured by the Societe Anonyme Precision Liegeoise in Herstal. Some parts were subcontracted to the State Arsenal at Rocourt in Liège, who eventually began making complete guns. Other Vignerons were fabricated by the company Ateliers de Fabrications Electriques et Metalliques or AFEM in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. An unconfirmed story says that the CMH inscription on the grip means Compagnie de Manufacture Herstal and this company is supposed to have made the plastic lower receiver.

The first model Vigneron was made until serial number 21300 in 1954.

M2


The M2 version was an improvement in several ways:
  • a front sight protector was installed
  • a rear sight notch was used instead of a peep sight
  • the dust cover closing spring was made stronger

Design and influence


The Vigneron is a simple blowback design and was made out of stamped sheet metal and a plastic grip frame. It uses the standard 9x19mm
9 mm Luger Parabellum
The 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken for their Luger semi-automatic pistol...

 NATO round out of a 32-shot box single column magazine. Army doctrine recommends to shortload the magazine to 28 rounds to prevent failures. A loading tool is used to assist loading the magazine.

The gun was designed with a long barrel
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

 (305mm) which featured a compensator
Muzzle brake
Muzzle brakes and recoil compensators are devices that are fitted to the muzzle of a firearm or cannon to redirect propellant gases with the effect of countering both recoil of the gun and unwanted rising of the barrel during rapid fire...

 and cooling fins. Empty casings are ejected out of the ejection port on the right which has a hinged dust cover. This cover opens automatically when cocking the gun.

The bolt handle is on the left side and is non-reciprocating.

The stock is heavy steel wire and it telescopes along the receiver; one end is slotted for swabs and the other is threaded for a cleaning brush.

The sights are fixed and set for a range of 50m. The M2 has a simple notch rear sight and a hood cover that protects the front sight.

The pistol grip contains a grip safety which must be held before the weapon can be cocked or fired.

There are three selector positions: safe, semi-automatic and full automatic fire. When set to full-auto; it is still possible to squeeze off single rounds with good trigger control.

Influence by some popular WW-II-era designs is apparent. The barrel compensator and cooling rings are reminiscent of the Thompson submachine gun
Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals...

, the wire stock looks like the M3 submachine gun
M3 submachine gun
The M3 was an American .45-caliber submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service on 12 December 1942, as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M3. The M3 was designed as a more cost-effective alternative to the Thompson, optimized for mass production...

, the bolt design is nearly identical to the Sten
Sten
The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

 and the magazine is almost the same as the one designed for the MP40
MP40
The MP 38 and MP 40 , often called Schmeisser, were submachine guns developed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by paratroopers, tank crews, platoon and squad leaders, and other troops during World War II.-Development:The MP 40 descended from its predecessor, the MP 38, which was in turn based...

; German magazines are usable in the Vigneron, but not the other way around.

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