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Zastava M-56 Submachine Gun

Zastava M-56 Submachine Gun

Zastava M-56, was a Yugoslav submachine gun produced by Zastava factory in Kragujevac.  In 1956, Yugoslav People's Army leadership has decided to replace the previous M49 submachine gun, to modernize the army equipment and weapons.



The design of the M-56 submachine gun resembled the iconic World War Two German MP-40. However, the similarities are just visual, M-56 has a completely different construction. The technical structure corresponds to a greatly simplified MP 40, but the M56 is also similar to the Soviet PPS-43 submachine gun. The barrel of the gun is longer than the barrel of MP-40, and it has the possibility of bayonet mount, making it a unique example among submachine guns. It has a foldable stock, copied from an MP-40 design. The trigger system has been simplified, while the braking method is extremely reliable and innovative. The cocking handle is located on the right side of the receiver, with locking slots at each side. The bolt slot is uncovered, making the gun vulnerable to the effects of the weather conditions.



The fire rate of the M-56 submachine gun was around 100 rounds per minute, and it is precise in the range of 200 meters.  It has a 30 round capacity magazine, which is bent towards the mouth of the barrel.   The weapon has a fire selector lever to choose from both semi and fully automatic fire. The submachine gun can be disassembled by pressing a button on the rear of the housing to unscrew the end cap. The lock and return spring can then be removed. The submachine gun was produced in a 7.62 x 25 mm Tokarev caliber, but it was also produced in a 9 mm Parabellum for export. 



During the 1970s, M-56 was replaced with M-70, the Yugoslav version of the Kalashnikov rifle. All M-56 submachine guns were transferred to the Territorial Defense warehouses, where they were stored until the breakup of Yugoslavia. Because of the lack of available firearms, this submachine gun was used by all sides during the Yugoslav civil war.