Erma EMP

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Erma EMP - 9x19mm. This is an earlier model, sometimes named Erma MP34. Note the tangent rear sight and lack of a safety latch.
Erma EMP - 9x19mm. This is a later model. Note the fixed rear sights and the safety latch in front of the bolt handle.

The Erma EMP, also called the Erma EMP 35 (not to be confused with the Bergmann MP35/I‎) or the Erma MPE, is a German submachine gun, which was manufactured from 1931 to 1938 by Erfurter Maschinen- und Werkzeugfabrik Berthold Geipel GmbH (ERMA). The terms EMP and MPE stand for Erma-Maschinenpistole and Maschinenpistole-Erma. The weapon was a further development of the submachine guns VMP (Vollmer Maschinenpistole) M1925, VMP M1927 and VMP M1930 developed by Heinrich Vollmer.

The weapons designer Heinrich Vollmer developed his first submachine gun with the name VMP M1925 in 1925 based on the Bergmann MP18. Like the later models, this prototype was equipped with a cooling jacket for the barrel and an additional, front wooden handle. However, the weapon was loaded with a 25-round drum magazine. The prototype was further developed to the models VMP M1927 and VMP M1930. The drum magazine was replaced by a 32-round box magazine and the cooling jacket was dispensed with. There should also have been magazines for 20, 40 and 50 cartridges. The VMP M1930 used a similar telescopic closing spring as the later submachine gun MP38, MP40 and MP41. The patent for this development received Heinrich Vollmer in 1933. These Vollmer submachine guns had a cadence of 600 rounds / min and were for the same cartridges as the later Erma EMP set up.

The development of the VMP models was partly secretly supported and financed by the Reichswehr. Officially, no machine guns, including machine pistols or "machine carbines" (as submachine guns were called in Europe at the time) were allowed to be developed or manufactured in the German Reich because of the Treaty of Versailles. This cooperation was abruptly stopped on the one hand because of the global economic crisis, on the other hand due to the negative attitudes of military leadership toward submachine guns, which were thought of as weapons for criminals rather than soldiers. From the early Vollmer machine pistols, a total of 350 to 400 pieces were produced by the Vollmer plants. Due to the low number of pieces produced, Heinrich Vollmer could not become commercially successful with these models. Therefore, Vollmer turned to the Erma Werke to finance the production and sale of its submachine guns in large numbers. As a result, the VMP M1930 was slightly upgraded and re-equipped with the previous cooling jacket. Vollmer sold his licenses to Erma, who manufactured these weapons in four versions and sold worldwide.

The Erma submachine guns were exported worldwide and produced under license in Spain (where it was called the Coruña MP 41/44) and Switzerland. The weapon was used during the Second World War by the SS and the police in the German Reich. In addition, the EMP was used in the Spanish Civil War and the Chaco War. In addition, the Polish Mors M1939 was developed on a model of the Erma EMP, which were allegedly from Belgium. Ironically, Erma-Vollmer was also in fact the main (of all the very diverse, but few models available) France's submachine gun at the beginning of the war with Germany (although in fact only 1000 of them were used, due to lack the required number of spare magazines).



(1931 - 1938)

  • Type: Submachine Gun
  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Caliber: 9x19mm, 9mm Bergmann-Bayard, 7.65x21 mm Luger, 7.63x25 mm Mauser, 9mm Mauser Export
  • Weight: 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz)
  • Length: 95 cm (3 ft 1 in)
  • Barrel length: 32 cm (13 in)
  • Capacity: 20 or 32-round detachable box magazine
  • Fire Modes: Semi-auto / full-auto

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


Title Actor Character Note Date
Our Agent Tiger (Le Tigre se parfume à la dynamite) Roger Hanin Louis Rapière aka Tiger 1964
Micaela Pignatelli Sarita Sanchez
The Olsen Gang in a Fix Bavarian mobsters 1969
Papillon French Gendarmerie 1973
The Seventh Company Outdoors (La 7ème compagnie au clair de lune) A German soldier 1977
Cuba Sean Connery Maj. Robert Dapes Probably a Spanish M41/44 1979
Cuban Government soldiers and guerillas
Libertarias Ana Belén Pilar 1996
Victoria Abril Floren
Blanca Apilánez Aura
Laura Mañá Concha
Joan Crosas Boina
Jorge Sanz Worker Son
José Sancho Worker Father
Stalingrad German Soldier 2013


Title Actor Character Note Date
Front A German soldier Possibly Denix replica 2014

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Notation Release Date
Battlefield V EMP 2018
Call of Duty: WWII Erma EMP Added in June 4th 2019 update 2019

See Also

  • Erma Werke - A list of weapons produced by Erma Werke

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