M.I.D.A. submachine gun


From 1916 - 1918 the Italian Army became interested in adapting the twin-barreled Villar Perosa submachine gun into a single-barreled, shoulder-fired weapon that would resemble a conventional SMG. Various attempts to achieve this were made, such as the Fiat, Ansaldo, Savoia, A.N., and O.V.P. submachine guns, which were all produced in small quantities only. In late 1918 the Italian Army decided on adopting the Beretta Mod.1918 (aka Revelli-Beretta). However, unlike other Villar Perosa conversions, the Beretta was not a true SMG as it was semi-automatic only. Therefore Manifattura Italiana d'Armi (MIDA) of Brescia was commissioned to produce a twin-trigger variant of the Beretta which could give both single shots and automatic fire.

The MIDA submachine gun was based on the Beretta pattern but deviated from the original design in several ways. The key difference was, of course, the automatic fire capability from the forward trigger. However, the MIDA submachine gun in fact shared very few components in common with the Beretta carbine; although the general layout is similar, upon closer inspection it can be seen that there are differences in the furniture, magazine catch, end cap, ejection chute, and bayonet mounting. The MIDA gun had a fully-stocked barrel with a bayonet catch akin to the Carcano M91TS carbine, rather than the semi-stocked barrel with the integrated folding-type Carcano bayonet that was present on the Beretta carbine. Also of note is the presence of the Villar Perosa's retracting lever in front of the cocking handle, which was used to assist in pushing the bolt out of the angled incline in the cocking slot; this was a feature that had been removed on the Beretta gun but curiously retained on the MIDA.

The Moschetto Automatico MIDA was produced only in small quantities. Whether it was ever actually issued during World War I is not known.

Gallery (click to enlarge)


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