This article was originally posted on Guns.com
The VSO Gun Channel pits two working full-fun submachine guns against each other that were commonly encountered in Southeast Asia in the 1960s and 70s: the S&W 76 and MAT-49.
The nominally older of the two, the French MAT-49, was designed just after WWII by firearms engineer Pierre Monteil and was super simple to produce and operate. Made from a thick stamping of sheet steel, it had few components to break. Its action was a rudimentary blowback type, which eliminated an extractor. A heavy mainspring, a 7.7-pound empty weight, and a 1.3-pound bolt made the gun easy to control and its relatively slow 600-round per minute cyclic rate made three- to four-round bursts into a man-sized target quick to master.
It was the iconic French weapon used in Indochina.
Stacked against the MAT is the Smith & Wesson M76, which is a U.S.-built version of the classic “Swedish K” or Kulsprutepistol m/45, again, a very basic 9mm that was popular for generations and saw use by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces types in Vietnam. A straight-blowback action weapon that fired from an open bolt, it hummed out NATO standard 9x19mm rounds from a 36-round Suomi-style stick mag at a controllable 600-round per minute cyclic rate.
But which is better? Thanks to Steve, a recently retired Veteran and SMG expert/collector, they take a stab at it. And be sure to stick around to hear the background on how Steve wound up lucking into the MAT.