21 June 21
“Cucumbers get more ‘pickled’ than brine gets ‘cucumbered’”
Design Engineer’s Proverb
The Reising Gun:
USMC had a paratroop unit during WWII, but it never jumped anywhere!
However, it was that unit that demanded an SMG (submachine gun) as well as the Johnson Rifle, as the
Johnson’s barrel could be easily removed for compact jumping.
The Reising M50 and M55 SMG were available in 1941 and seemed just the ticket!
The Reising M50 had a full-length, wood stock. The more compact M55 has a pistol-grip and stiff-wire, folding stock, again designed for tank-crewmen and paratroopers. Both were light and well-balanced.
The Reising (designed by Browning protegee and competitive target shooter, Eugene G Reising) was a delayed blowback, tilt-bolt SMG in 45ACP that fired from a closed bolt. Thus, it was much lighter than the Grease Gun or the Thompson.
The Reising did not use the same magazine as the Grease Gun, nor the Thompson. Reising magazine held only twenty rounds.
The Reising acquired a poor reputation during the Pacific Campaign due to a lack of universal parts interchangeability, low tolerance for sand and grit, and difficult disassembly for user-level maintenance. Most Marines happily exchanged the Reising for an M1 Carbine, or a Grease Gun, when the opportunity presented itself.
Conversely, in post-war service with domestic police departments, the Reising was well regarded. Back in the 1970s, I worked with several police departments in the Chicago area that had Reising Guns in their inventory. Officers shot them regularly, and all copies I worked with ran flawlessly!
All Reisings were manufactured by H&R (Harrington & Richardson) between 1941 and 1949, and a semi-auto-only version, the M60, was produced for, and briefly sold on, the commercial market. It generated scant interest!
As noted, the Reising was light, well-balanced, easy to shoot, and very accurate, but was rushed into production and issuance without adequate testing, as is so often the case during Wartime. And as so often happens, undiscovered flaws subsequently made themselves known at inconvenient times, as noted above!
Responding to complaints, the USMC pulled the Reising from front-line service in 1943. All were pulled from US military service by 1953. 120k Reisings were manufactured during the eight years they were actually produced.
Today, Reisings can be seen only in museums and a few private collections.
Eugene G Reising died at the age of 82 in Worcester, MA in 1967