M30 Luftwaffe Drilling

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M30 Luftwaffe Drilling - 12 gauge & 9.3x74mmR

The M30 Luftwaffe Drilling ("Drilling" meaning "triplet") was a Drilling-type combination gun produced by JP Sauer & Sohn, notable for seeing military use by the German Luftwaffe in World War II. It was issued as a survival weapon to Luftwaffe air crews, primarily during the North Africa campaign.

The specific gun that was adopted as the M30 had been marketed to hunters starting in 1930 (hence the name), and the military iteration of the M30 was produced from 1941 to 1942. It is thought that Hermann Goering's decision to order the weapon was influenced by his personal fondness for hunting. They were procured outside of normal military channels and so the military versions were made to the same standards of fit and finish as the commercial version, making the M30 extremely expensive.

The M30 was a Normaldrilling ("normal Drilling") or klassischer Drilling ("classic Drilling"), a type of combination gun with two shotgun barrels and one rifle barrel, which became popular with European hunters in the 1900s or so: Drillings had existed earlier, but prior to the introduction of affordable and reliable cast steel gun barrels in the late 19th century they were either prohibitively expensive or too heavy and unwieldy to see much use.

The weapon has two hammerless shotgun barrels, with a single rifle barrel underneath, firing two 12 or 16 gauge shells (16 only seems to have been used on the commercial version) alongside a single 9.3x74mmR rifle round. The M30 has two triggers and a sliding selector directly behind the lever for opening the breech. With the selector in the forward position, the 100m V-notch rear sight is raised and the forward trigger engaged. In this mode, the front trigger fires the rifle barrel while the rear trigger fires the left shotgun barrel, which is choked for Brenneke slugs. Sliding the selector back retracts the rear sight and makes the front trigger fire the right shotgun barrel, which is choked for birdshot. This setup, common for Drilling-type combination guns, allows the weapon to fire three shots without either opening the breech or lowering the weapon from the shoulder.

The M30 was stored in an aluminium chest on board the aircraft, containing the weapon dismantled into barrel assembly and stock, a sling and cleaning kit, 20 rounds of soft-pointed 9.3x74mmR ammunition (which under international law the airman could not fire at an enemy soldier), 20 12-gauge slug shells and 25 12-gauge birdshot shells. The whole chest weighed 32 pounds, and was intended to be retrieved from the aircraft after it crashed rather than taken as the crew bailed out, thus making it the only survival weapon which faced a stiff challenge to its own survival before worrying about anyone else's. As a side note (and probably as a result), it is an extremely rare firearm (around 2,500 were produced) that is worth thousands of dollars even in poor condition.

It is unlikely that it was ever actually used for its intended purpose: apparently, the issued guns were mostly either used by employees of airbases for hunting, or went to the Allied troops from downed planes as trophies (if they survived). Despite the fact that the concept of the M30 turned out to be rather a failure, later it was more successfully implemented in such weapons as M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon and TP-82.

Specifications

(1930s (commercial), 1941 - 1942 (military))

  • Type: Survival weapon (combination shotgun / rifle)
  • Caliber: 12 gauge (16 also used on commercial versions) / 9.3x74mmR (many other commercial variants available)
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)
  • Length: 45 in (114.3 cm)
  • Barrel length: 25 in (63.5 cm)
  • Feed System: Break-Action

The M30 Luftwaffe Drilling and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Note Release Date
Forgotten Hope 2 "M30 Drilling" 2007
Sniper Elite 4 M30 Drilling "Lock and Load Weapons Pack" DLC 2017
Call of Duty: WWII M30 Luftwaffe Drilling 2017
Battlefield V M30 Drilling 2018




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