Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Maker/Manufacturer:REVELLI, A.B.
Date of Manufacture:C 1922
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 1077
Measurements:OL: 92.2CM 36 3/8" BL: 30.4CM 12" 9 lbs.

Object Description:

Manufactured by Officine di Villar Perosa, Villar Perosa, Italy - Standard Italian post-World War I selective fire submachine gun with 25-round detachable box magazine. Retarded blowback design. Select-fire controlled by means of double-trigger. Blade front, open "U" notch rear sight set for 100 meters. 6-groove rifling, right hand twist. Muzzle velocity 1250 fps. Cyclic rate of fire 900 rpm. Weapon weighs approximately 9 lbs. Cartridge: 9mm Parabellum.

Receiver cover: OFFICINE/DI/VILLAR-PEROSA (in rectangle)/254.
Inspectors' initials on various parts of the weapon.

Notes: Developed as a more mobile version of the Villar Perosa M15. These were used by Italian troops in North Africa during World War II.

"...something moved the Italians to take another look at the Villar Perosa and see whether it might be turned into some a trifle more practical. They gave the task to the Beretta company, who in turn handed the problem to a young designer called Tullio Marengoni. This was his introduction to submachine-guns, and he later went on to become Beretta's Chief Designer and one of history's foremost firearms designers.
What he did in this case was relatively simple. He took the Vilar Perosa as it stood, split it in half, and mounted each half into a wooden rifle stock to make two submachine-guns. The first model, the Beretta M1918, used the trigger guard with finger rest which was more or less traditional on Italian service rifles, and it also sported a folding bayonet attached to the muzzle. Fully stocked, it looked more like a carbine or short rifle than a submachine-gun. Feed was from the same top-mounted magazine, while ejection was through a chute in the bottom of the stock, designed to protrude slightly so that the firer would not inadvertently grasp the stock at this point and receive a handful of hot cases when he fired. This chute looks like a conventional magazine housing, which, when no magazine is fitted, leads many people to think that the magazine goes in from below.
Two other models were made: one was identical in appearance but could only fire single shots, and was for issue to police and custom guards. A third model was fitted with two triggers, one to give single shots and the other for automatic fire.
Shortly after the M1918 was put into production, the Officine Vilar Perosa decided that they would produce something similar, and did more or less the same as had Marengoni, splitting the gun in half and mounting one half into a wooden stock. A double trigger unit was fitted, the front trigger for single shots and the rear trigger for automatic fire (the Beretta trigger was copied from this). An unusual cocking system was used in which a knurled sleeve around the receiver was pulled back and pushed forward again to cock the bolt. This model, known as the 'OVP' was not produced in large numbers and did not appear in time to be used during the war." - Ian Hogg

Hogg, Ian. THE COMPLETE MACHINE GUN: 1885 TO THE PRESENT. Exeter Books. N.Y., N.Y. 1979.
Hogg, Ian. GREENHILL MILITARY MANUALS: SUBMACHINE GUNS. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, Pa. 2001.
Hogg, Ian V. & John S. Weeks. MILITARY SMALL ARMS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. 7th Ed. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 2000.

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