The good folks down at the VSO Gun Channel were able to evaluate a pair of classic select-fire submachine guns used from the WWII era.
Thanks to Steve, a recently retired Veteran and SMG expert/collector, they have a United Defense M42/UD-42 to spend some time with. Of the five different SMG families (M1928/M1928A1/M1/M1A1 Thompson, M2 Hyde, M3/M3A1 ‘Grease gun’, Reising M50/M55, and UD42) purchased by Uncle Sam during the war, the United Defense gun was among the rarest.
These guns were designed by High Standard (yes, the .22 and shotgun maker) and were to be made by Marlin (yes, the lever action folks) for $46 a pop, and then turned over to UD who would inspect and deliver them to the military to collect a total of $53 for each accepted.
Unfortunately for Marlin, the M2 and M3 sub guns were cheaper than the M-42 and the bulk of the government’s interest moved to those platforms, leaving the M-42 orphaned. In all, just 15,000 were made and most of those were sent overseas–from whence they rarely returned– to equip foreign irregulars.
As a baseline, the VSO guys compare it to the much more well-known Maschinenpistole 40 of Herr Heinrich Vollmer, its natural nemesis.