A few years ago, I had the opportunity to film a group of friends who get together every year to attend the Michigan Subgun Shoot that takes place in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
They come from far and wide to compete against each other, compare gear, have a good time, and put serious lead downrange.
Two of those competitors were Cain and Amy Grocox. They absolutely love shooting subgun. Amy shoots a Zenith Z-5RS, and Cain switches between the Zenith and his Sterling submachine gun.
The Sterling is a British submachine gun that went into production in 1944. Despite its age, many subgun competitors love it because of its reliability, relatively low rate of fire, and controllability.
At the Michigan Subgun Shoot in 2018, there were a variety of subguns including Swedish K SMGs, HK MP5s, an M16 converted to shoot 9mm, M11s, STG34Ks, Uzis, Thompson submachine guns, M10s, and a CMMG Guard in 9mm. (Check out our photos below.)
"We enjoy all firearms, not just subguns," Grocox told Guns.com. "It just happens to be, this is a subgun event this weekend. I could have just as much fun coming out here with a couple of silencers on .22 Long Rifles and shooting all day," he said.
Select-fire submachine guns are regulated by the National Firearms Act, making them a little more complicated to own than their semi-automatic siblings. Not to mention, they're definitely more expensive.
Fortunately, Michigan is a select-fire friendly state, and events like the subgun shoot attract a lot of folks who are curious about select-fire weapons. Spectators come to check out the action and, if they ask kindly enough, try a subgun. Without fail, faces lights up and shooters immediately want to get into the sport.
The Grocoxes think it's good that regular folks come out to subgun events. "It's not a bunch of militia guys out here training or something. It's just ordinary people having a good time," said Cain. "With expensive firearms that you hope will run for you and lots of ammo," added Amy with a laugh.