Saturday, January 03, 2015

Happy Reising Birthday to Me!

OK, actually my birthday was back in April, and I bought my birthday present to me in March...and due to the current incredibly slow NFA paperwork processing times, it just got here today. Oh, joy!

It's a Reising Model 50 .45 submachine gun.
Designed by Eugene Reising, an ordnance engineer who once worked for John Browning, the weapon was built by Harrington and Richardson and offered to the US military as an alternative to the expensive Thompson M1928 sub-machine gun, which was also something of a bear to manufacture due to the machining required. The Reising was lighter, easier and cheaper to make ($62 dollars vs $200 for the Thompson), and on paper, a beautiful concept weapon. The Army tested if and wasn't impressed, but the the Navy and the Marine Corps bought bunches of them. it first saw action when the Marines hit the beaches at Guadalcanal with it in August of 1942, and...well let's just say that it didn't fare too well. Actually, it did so poorly in it's first combat engagement that Lt. Col. Merritt Edson, Commander of the First Marine Raider Battalion, ordered his troops to pitch them all into Guadalcanal's crocodile-infested Lunga River, and the Marines went back to using World War 1 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles, at least until they could steal sufficient M1 Garands from the Army.

The problem with the Reising was that it has many moving parts, a large percentage of which were hand-fitted at the factory. This is fine for guns not subjected to hard use and the Marines' "group cleaning" method wherein all guns are disassembled and dumped into pots of hot water, then everyone reassembles their guns with whichever parts they grab back. You can do that with some guns, but the Reising was and is not one of them.
The gun had other problems too, and while it was and still is a decent design, it was too fragile and user-unfriendly for military use. Many of them wound up getting turned over to US police departments, and in that capacity, they served well and some departments were still fielding them in the 1980s.
Mine's kind of a mutt; it has a mix of blued and parkerized parts. It does not have a serial number S prefix though, which would indicate that it was built by Numerich Arms from H&R's stocks of spare parts that Numerich bought in the 1960's. Best I can figure, it's just a nice old SMG that's been kicking around somewhere since the 1940s.

Cock the gun via this charging handle under the stock, just behind the forward sling swivel. This one it a bitch to cock if the hammer is down.
Muzzle compensator, intended to cut down on felt recoil.
A bigger plus was it's more traditional stock that puts the recoil square into the shooter's shoulder as opposed to the Thompson stocks that direct the recoil force down on an awkward angle. As such, the Reising is actually more ergonomic to shoot than that Thompson.

Weather permitting, it's going out to the range tomorrow morning once a certain guest arrives. Stay tuned for an AAR. Here's hoping that it works!


  1. Darn nice, congrats.

    I can see the title of your next post now: "The House Of The Reising Sun"

    1. TWEET! Bad Pun! Fifteen Yard Penalty!

    2. Come on now that was a good one. After all, if you're any good with it, you'll be a Reising Star.

    3. Aaron, glad to see you Reising to the occasion to keep him guessing. He just doesn't have what it takes to handle puns of that caliber.

  2. Bad ass gun. Congrats on that. I have never seen one in the flesh (so to speak) Very cool firearm.
    Jesse in DC

  3. Anonymous4:02 PM

    +1 J Bogan

  4. I don't want to hear anymore 'crap' about 'my' finds... :-p

  5. I have a couple of German shepherds, Starting using the breed in 1970...