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From the M1 Garand to the Luger pistol, World War II produced its share of iconic firearms. The conflict also was the birthplace of many unusual weapons. The 1940 Smith & Wesson Light Rifle definitely falls under this category.
The carbine was Smith & Wesson’s attempt to create a pistol caliber rifle (9mm Luger) for the British in the early part of the war. For a number of reasons documented in the video below from ForgottenWeapons.com, the rifle was deemed unacceptable. Most were destroyed, but according to the Standard Catalog of Military Firearms, 7th Edition a small lot of the rifles were found in their original crates in the 1970s at the company’s Springfield, Mass., factory.
This weird turn of events has made the rifle desirable in the world of gun collecting. The Model 1940 in the video was filmed at a Rock Island Auction Company event, where it sold for a final bid of $5,175.00. Gun collectors have paid in the thousands of dollars for other specimens as well.
Even if you don’t have that kind of scratch to pony up for an antique gun, the video is still worth the watch. It gives a pretty solid rundown on one of World War II’s more unusual weapons and why it fell into obscurity.