Imperia M.I.53 submachine gun

Mitraillette Imperia

ImperiaMI53

The M.I.53 (Mitraillette Imperia 1953) submachine gun was a brief venture by Imperia S.A. of Nessonvaux, Li├Ęge, introduced to compete in Belgium's contemporary SMG trials. The concept behind the M.I.53 was simply to refurnish existing supplies of surplus Sten guns, leftover from World War II, into modern submachine guns. This was achieved by fitting a new lower receiver unit to a Mk.II Sten receiver, featuring a new trigger group, a fire selector switch, a pistol grip, and a retracting wire stock. Other detail improvements were added including a new cocking handle and rear sight protectors, but the barrel, upper receiver, magazine housing, bolt, recoil spring, and 32-round magazine were all recycled from the Sten. Imperia proposed that converting the Belgian Army's existing Sten guns into M.I.53s would be more cost-efficient than adopting an entirely new weapon.

Reportedly some M.I.53s were assembled in Luxembourg by SOLA S.A., using Luxembourg-service Stens. Imperia demonstrated the gun to the Belgian Army in 1953, but by that time they were already invested in a rival design, the Vigneron, and therefore expressed no interest in the M.I.53. With so many surplus Sten guns already available across Europe and many better designs being marketed, there was little incentive to invest in the Imperia submachine gun. The M.I.53 achieved no sales and was quickly discontinued.

ImperiaMI53Disassembled
Disassembled view of the Imperia M.I.53 submachine gun.

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