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Education / Training Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun: Part 1

Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Legends MP40 BB submachinegun.

Part Two: Umarex Legends MP40

This report covers:

  • Texas airgun show
  • Description
  • Rate of fire
  • Select fire
  • Magazine
  • Sights
  • Open bolt
  • Blowback
  • Folding stock
  • Why this airgun?

Here is an airgun we have all been waiting for since the SHOT Show — the Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun. PAY ATTENTION! There are two versions of this airgun at this time. One is the weathered one that comes with a leather sling. and the other is a blued steel gun that apparently has no sling. I asked for the weathered one because of what this is — a battle-ready WW II replica. Beautiful bluing belongs on replicas of Colt Pythons, not on guns that have served in war! There is a price difference of $50 between the two offerings as this is published (the weathered version with the leather sling is more), but I would watch them because I think that’s will change from time to time.

Texas airgun show

I had forgotten this one was coming until awakened from my slumber at the 2017 Texas airgun show, when I heard one rattle off 30-40 rounds next to me. I looked over and a young man was having the time of his life. It made me say to myself, “I want one!”

MP40 boy shooting
This was what made me want to test the MP 40.


This is a BB submachinegun, and the only way to power one affordably is with CO2. As you veterans have assumed by now, this one uses 2 CO2 cartridges. Otherwise you’re going to get just a single magazine of shots before it needs the next cartridge. As a matter of fact, I will be very interested to see just how many shots we do get, because this is powered by CO2 that chills the gun as it is exhausted.

The rated velocity is 400 f.p.s. That will be something for me to ascertain.

Is the gun all-steel? Sorry, but no. It looks like steel and the weathering is quite realistic, but a magnet only sticks to the magazine. No doubt there are many steel parts inside (the magnet says there are), because the weight is a realistic 7.7 lbs. The 9mm firearm weighs a pound more (8.75 lbs.), which is what steel does for you.

MP in the title stands for Maschinenpistole which is German for machine pistol. That’s what the Germans call a submachinegun. We call them SUB-machineguns because of the calibers. They are always in a pistol caliber and not a rifle caliber — hence the “sub.” The MP40 is a simplified version of the MP38 — an earlier submachinegun that was made of many machined parts. The MP40 is made of stamped parts that were quicker and cheaper to produce. We did the same thing when we went from the machined (and very heavy) Thompson submachinegun to the far simpler/lighter M3/M3A1 “grease” gun.

Rate of fire

The MP40 firearm has a relatively low rate of fire (500-550 rounds per minute) to keep from wasting ammunition. Though there is no selector switch (on the firearm), after the shooter becomes familiar with the weapon, single shots and short bursts are possible. The same thinking held true for the M3 grease gun whose cyclic rate is even a bit slower.

Select fire

The BB gun has something the firearm never did — a selector switch. It’s located on the bottom of the receiver where it can’t be seen. It gives you a SAFE position, semiautomatic (gun fires one time per trigger pull) and full auto (gun continues to fire as long as the ammo holds out and the trigger is held back). I think shooters will like having these choices.

MP40 selector switch
The selector switch, located on the bottom of the receiver, gives SAFE, semiauto and full-auto fire.


The stick mag was the firearm’s weak spot. It tended to jam because of the design — a double-stack (cartridges side-by-side, more or less, in the magazine) that fed through a single stack outlet port at the top. Ironically Pyramyd AIR has tested the BB gun and recommends not loading more than 40-45 BBs in the 60-round mag or it will jam. So, even that aspect is consistent with history, though I feel sure it wasn’t designed that way!


Sights? On a submachinegun? We don’t need no stinking sights! Nevertheless, both the firearm and the Legends replica come with them. Up front is a rugged-looking hooded post, and in back are two leaf sights with notches. The rear leaf flips up like an express sight on a double rifle to give more elevation. There is no provision for windage. But honestly, this is a gun for cloose quarters combat. It fires from the open bolt (I’ll explain in a moment) so there is very little precision. You spray and pray at distances of (hopefully) 25 yards or less.

MP40 rear sight
The rear sight has an extra leaf that flips up for more elevation.

Open bolt

Machineguns either fire from a closed bolt like conventional semiautomatic weapons, or from an open bolt. The open bolt is the more common way for submachineguns to operate. When the trigger of an open-bolt gun is pressed the entire bolt that may weigh more than a pound slides forward with the fixed firing pin sticking out. When the pin fires the next cartridge, the bolt is hopefully all the way forward, the cartridge is fully chambered and both the bolt’s weight and inertia hold the cartridge in the chamber long enough for the gas pressure to drop to a safe level. It sounds terrible — like a controlled disaster — but it works very well in practice. However, you lose all possibility for precise fire because of the movement of that heavy bolt. But, when multiple bullets are coming out of the muzzle each second, nobody notices.

If you want an assassin’s weapon, get an HK MP5. It’s a submachinegun that fires from a closed bolt and can actually shoot tight groups at close ranges. For clearing a room or the inside of an enemy personnel carrier, an MP40 works fine.


This model does have the blowback that is essential for the biofeedback of firing. Otherwise it becomes a siphon shooter like the Larc BB submachinegun that you almost can’t feel. That wouldn’t be good. I don’t know what effect this will have on the shot count, but that’s why we test.

Folding stock

Most submachineguns have a folding stock that allows them to be compact, yet hold like a rifle when the sights are used. The one on the MP40 BB gun is very realistic. It folds forward and tucks tightly under the gun, with the butt rotated to sit tight against the bottom of the receiver. A push on a large spring-loaded button on the left side of the gun and the stock swings down and back easily to the extended position.

Why this airgun?

If you have to ask why, this MP40 isn’t for you. It’s for all the guys who say, “Yes! Finally they’re getting it! This is what I want!”

I have no intention of justifying this BB submachinegun to anyone. It exists and plenty of people are glad that it does. We are still waiting for the M1 Carbine, the Garand and the BAR, but for now this will do. It’s exactly like the Mauser M712 BB pistol. There is no good reason for it to exist, other than people wanting one. To get the firearm will cost you over $15,000, and you will have to register it through the BATF. This one comes with a click of your mouse!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

67 thoughts on “Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun: Part 1”

  1. “I think shooters will like having these choices.”

    I think the single shot setting will produce a lot of swearing, only being accessed by accident 😉

    So Alanis Morissette has started writing under the pen name B.B. Pelletier. I always wondered what happened to her. 😉 (That will confuse all of our older and younger readers.)

      • 20 years ago Alanis Morissette, a Canadian pop singer-songwriter, had a hit album with several hit singles. She was a member of the “Girl Power” female singer-songwriters of the 1990s (Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Imbruglia, etc.). They wrote songs of anger, angst and navel-gazing that resonated with teenage girls to twenty-something women. Morissette’s music was arguably the hardest rocking of them, and also the angriest in her lyrics, which had a ranting, biting quality.

        I don’t mean to be critical. “You Oughta Know” is a catchy tune.


        • I believe Fiona Apple’s “Tidal” was on par with the anger of Jagged Little Pill…. if not surpassing it.

          Perhaps more bluesy/techno than it though, thus not as “rocking”.

          Omitting her from any list of 90’s in-need-of-anger-management lady vocalists shouldn’t happen.

          ha, now I’m digging into the old vinyl.

          Thanks for your continued endeavors on behalf of us, Senor Pelletiere.


          • B.B.,

            Well played, Sir, well played!

            Usually I find people say ironic when they actually mean coincidental. People usually say literally when they mean its opposite, figuratively. Oh, and while I’m on a rant, the subjunctive “were” has all but been replaced by the past tense indicative “was.” But I have long stopped being bothered by can replacing may and the line between farther and further being erased by common usage.

            A different thing, but Orwellian is now usually used simply to mean authoritarian, but it originally referred to government surveillance and “Doublespeak.” The War Dept. is called the Ministry of Peace; the Propoganda Dept. is called the Ministry of Truth, etc.

            The American Dream has come to mean practically anything that describes a comfortable middle class lifestyle, but originally it specifically meant to own one’s own single-family house, even if only (often especially if only) a modest two bedroom, one bath, one-car detached garage tract house.

            Ah, language!


            • Michael,

              Don’t get me started! “Your” instead of you’re, the contraction!!! The preposition “to” instead of too when possessive is implied!!! Using a comma when pluralizing a words with an s. When I read mistakes like these I go into a tailspin. You need an translator to understand what people write, these days.

                  • Bb,

                    all ya aalls proper spekin and witten got me plum scart to writ any thing lessun I be tosed out wit last saterdays bath werter.

                    Chris 😉

                    Hey, I try but I no doubt still make it look like a train wreck! I do admire the knowledge and the discipline to get it right. I do aspire to be better and will leave it at that.

                    • Chris
                      I was going to post a reply with bad grammar.

                      But everytime I proof read the reply my phone auto corrected to make my reply correct!

                      Go figure. What is right is wrong. And what is wrong is right.

                  • B.B.,

                    I would, but many other English Professors have done so over the years. I imagine there are dozens of slender volumes of forehead-smackingly awful abuses of English.

                    Probably the most chuckles have arisen from confusion between “hanged” and “hung.”

                    Here’s one: If one feels sick to his or her stomach, he or she is “nauseated.” “Nauseous” means having the capacity to make others sick to their stomachs!

                    People should never take formal usage for granite. (I come across that in students’ written work perhaps two or three times a year.)


            • Did people ever follow all these rules? I went on a trip to England, the birthplace of the English language. While visiting a northern region, I passed a group of young people in an animated conversation, and I didn’t have the faintest idea of what they were talking about. It was like another language. This is particularly frustrating with Irish boxing phenomenon, Katie Taylor, who I’m a big fan of. I can’t understand anything she says in interviews. It’s not just the pronunciation; even the grammar is different.

              And did anyone ever pronounce the letters wh the way I was taught in kindergarten with the pronounced aspiration (I guess you would call it): whhhhite, whhhhale? I thought that was silly even at the time. There was even a gag about that on some modern cartoon where some character is saying, “whhhheat thins, whhhheat thins” in the prescribed pronunciation. There’s also a Saturday Night Live gag from a long time ago that satirizes the way people talked in 1940s films that is really hilarious. They have a kind of quasi-British accent and diction. Going back to the emergence of English around the time of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, my understanding is that English was then considered the debased vernacular compared to Latin and French with which it ultimately fused. But it was ultimately English, specifically the Ango-Saxon strain, which gave the language a unique vitality. This is cited in Shakespeare with lines such as King Lear’s: “The bow is bent and drawn/Make from the shaft.” This found more favor than words with the -ion Latinate construction. The Anglo-Saxons have also given us the various four letter words that have stood the test of time.

              That’s not to say that I support bowdlerization and vulgarization, and I certainly have hang-ups of my own. These have to do less with grammar than what I take to be lazy or crude formulations like “disrespect” used as a verb, “grow the X (e.g. data), concerning used as an adverb “that is concerning” or “my bad.” Eeeeee, that last one really gets under my skin. I suppose personal choice enters into it. Incidentally, I kind of like the newspeak versions of the Orwellian institutions. The Ministry of Truth is “Minitru” and there is another one called “Miniluv” which might have been the Ministry of Peace. Amusing formulations although no less deceptive. Anyway, there is certainly good and bad in language, but I think it’s also worth remembering that English is distinctive as a hybrid of European languages whose directness and unfussiness have always been considered signs of strength. What will be considered correct only time will tell.

              On another note, that is an interesting formulation of the American Dream that sounds quite modern. It sounds like something from Herbert Hoover’s rhetoric of two cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot. I always thought of the American Dream as referring generally to independence and free market prosperity going back to the Revolution, but I didn’t know it had a specific form in terms of houses and possessions.


              • Matt61,

                I would suppose that it has do with what one is (starting with) when they consider (what?) it means.

                An immigrant might relate more to the latter, while a lower-class ~ to middle-class? American might relate more to the former. ?

                No doubt, there is version(s) somewhere in the middle.


              • Matt,

                “Did people ever follow all these rules?” Consistently and among a very large population? No.

                “And did anyone ever pronounce the letters wh . . . ?” I had to look that one up in my old linguistic textbook, and as I reread the sectioon, some of it came back to me. It is known as “the wine-whine merger.” Differences tend to be region-based. “Whine” is a voiceless labio-velar phoneme, whereas “wine” is essentially a voiced labio-velar phoneme. It has to do with where in the world you grew up. There is no correct or incorrect.

                And I now believe I was not correct regarding the original “American Dream.” Home ownership became its dominant meaning in the 1950s, but quickly expanded and moved to other interpretations. The phrase does go back to the founding fathers, who seemed to use it to describe a nation of freedom from tyranny and governed by democracy.

                Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. echoed this famously in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” describing the American Dream as flowing from “great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”

                Perhaps the most recognized formal definition is by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book Epic of America, in which he describes the American Dream as “a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

                I had forgotten I have that book, which used to be my father’s. He taught United States history for 30 years. Coincidentally, my maternal grandfather did the same, for 30 years.


    • Sean,

      I do know of her and like what I have heard. I thought that the use of “ironic” was (quite) fitting in her song, though after reading today’s comments, I am not sure what I know and do not know anymore. Melissa Ethridge (sp?) rocks it pretty darn hard when she want’s to.

        • Yesss!

          Also good are Koko Taylor’s cover youtube.com/watch?v=KItU0khWrqs and Black Cherry’s live cover youtube.com/watch?v=MFG-Jqh4jaU

          Black Cherry does it a la Melissa E., but Koko, the “Queen of the Blues” rocks it Chicago blues style!


  2. No doubt, it looks like it would be a ton of fun! Of course my head is thinking a tethered high pressure air tank, regulated of course and tubing filled with bb’s that are fed/air pushed by air. That way it could do 1000 shots, maybe? Without a doubt,.. someone will.

    Like you said, no justifying it other than,…. “I gotta’ have it!”,.. is enough. Looking forwards to more.

    Good Day to one and all,… Chris

      • RR,

        If I had more money and time than I knew what to do with and thought I had a half a chance of pulling it off, (after a bit of research),… I would be all over it! 3,000 count bottle of bb’s,… yup,… put 10 on my order! 😉

        I guess for what it does, the price is not too bad. But, for that price,… would it even have a chance of holding up to severe abuse like that? My gut is saying,. no.

  3. BB,

    It is my understanding that on the firearm the front shoulder strap loop is on the opposite side. The one that Rossi reviewed had the loop on the opposite side. Can the loop be moved easily?

    • RR,

      That part (the front sling attachment point) is anchored by a ring that encircles the action. The ring is held in place by a key that fits into a slot on the action/frame. I examined the gun and there is the same notch 180 degrees around the frame, so it looks like it is possible to move the front sling attachment point to the other side of the gun. If so, the answer is, “Yes.”


  4. I bought the blue version for my grandson’s birthday in August. So far it seems to be a big hit with no problems. I made him aware of the drop of pellgun oil and to download the mag.

  5. Oh my! Not sure my retiree budget could handle one of these as a gift for our oldest Grandson, but what fun!

    I bought him a Red Ryder a few years ago and that lives at our home. His home is in a suburban development and does not afford a good place for a young man to walk about with a gun in hand. We have a wooded, rural 12 acres and we go “hunting” on our property when he visits.

    I so appreciate that there is a market for this kind of product. I’m sure that some PC soul will have a melt-down at the thought of such a thing. My Uncles (Army and Navy) fought in WW II for the freedom to live our lives as we see fit. Go Umarex! And thank you, Tom for your service!

  6. That was the best explaination of what it means when a gun fires from the open bolt that I have ever read. I have read that it helps keep the chamber cooler, preventing cook offs which I guess are rounds going off due to very high chamber temps. Since this gun is blow back does it truly fire from the open bolt? Like you said on full auto it’s really a moot point but since this gun is select fire open bolt firing could be an issue. Although I doubt it’s going to see much use in semi auto mode.

      • Right no worries about having a cook off with this gun. But that got me thinking that maybe firing fully auto co2 guns from an open bolt would allow the chamber to warm up between shots helping prevent what could be called a cool off. No reply necessary because I realize this is probably not practical or even possible.

  7. I convinced my wife that my 5 month old grandaughter should have one of these while they are available. (never know what the grabbers will reach for next) I explained that this would also give me enough time to test it properly between now and, say, her 12th or 13th birthday, for safety reasons. (wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean) ( Do you get that reference Seantheaussie ?) By the way, B.B., please don’t use this as license to take 12 1/2 years to complete your testing. 🙂

    • Halfstep – LOL!!!!

      Was thinking the same thing for my Grandaughter. She is 11 and “needs” a repeater to go with her single-shot Maximus 🙂

      Of course, I would have to show her how to use the Legends MP40 once I had thoroughly tested it.

      Those feral pop-cans would be in for a rough time they attacked with a Legends MP40 around. 🙂


  8. B.B.,

    Thanks for bringing up the case for an Umarex Legends M1 carbine, to which I’d like to add the single greatest movie firearm, the Ingram MAC10 with the distinctive Ingram two stage suppressor. All the internal design has been done for the latter — just re-skin the CO2 Uzi.

    Then again, the C96, P08, M712, Diana Mauser, PPK/S, and MP40 — all are iconic military firearms of Germany marketed by a German company. The M1 carbine was the allied paratrooper weapon of the Allied Invasion / Liberation. The M1 carbine (and Garand, for that matter) is perhaps a raw nerve to Germans. Unless I am mistaken the only Allied replica is the 1911A1, and note that it is not part of the “Legends” line.


  9. Please do not misconstrue my comment above. In no way did I intend to, or in fact did, criticize the German people or nation. My mother is of 1/2 German ancestry, and my father was of 1/4 German ancestry. And yes, I love bier! :^)


  10. Dressing stone arrived last night. Thanks, B.B. I expect great things from it. I might have gotten B.B.’s same version with the directions about penciling in a grid. The directions also raise a philosophical issue: what flattens the flattening stone? This too will wear out in time and will need to be flattened. The answer, apparently, is to rub it with a coarse grit sandpaper. So, the sandpaper solution that I read about before has just been deferred. Still, I have high hopes for the dressing stone. B.B., are you supposed to wet one or both the dressing stones and the water stones while using them? The directions don’t say.


  11. BB,

    Please excuse any improper grammer, word usage, or misspellings in the following questions. In a future installment, could you include a description of the “weathered” look as it compares to the ‘blued” look ? If you have photos of each (I wouldn’t expect that you have both guns) ,could you post those ?

    • Halfstep,

      Incan do that right now. The weathered gun has the blue missing from all the high edges and parts that protrude. It is very skillfully done so it looks like natural wear.

      The blued gun simply has an even coat of the same finish without any wear.


  12. BB
    As a collector I share your desire for excellent military airgun replicas like an M1 Carbine and hopefully Umarex will eventually make us happy. However I really don’t understand why the Airsoft manufacturers don’t offer a lot of bb versions of their beautifully crafted replicas.
    G&G Armament has an outstanding all wood metal G980K that they just converted to be a replica 8mm shell ejecting 8gr CO2 rifle. It uses hollow cartridges like the new western pistols. Use a .177 plastic cartridge tip and barrel and there you have it. No orange tip needed for airguns. It even has a replica scope.

    I mentioned the perfect M1 carbine replica from King Arms before. Same set up, a mag with CO2. It even come with a scuff block to make it look antique.
    There is a whole host of outstanding WWII replicas in metal with wood stocks in airsoft and the orange tips can be easily dealt with for home use or eliminated if made into airguns. They really do perfect replicas.
    Perhaps it’s an import problem?

  13. Waiting eagerly for the belt-fed, BB and big-CO2-cartridge version of the MG-42 – for those days one feels like re-enacting the opening scene in “Cross of Iron.” There could be a line of Russian infantry knock-down targets to go with it. Is this a realistic expectation? No. No more than expecting to relive carefree childhood – but one can do so in the Playground of One’s Imagination. I’m going to have to acquire one of these Umarex sweethearts sooner than later.

    I’d like to get my hands on the semi-auto 9mm non-stock version as well, but unlike “da guvaMINT,” funds are not unlimited.

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