SOLA Super submachine gun

Pistolet-Mitrailleur SOLA


The SOLA Super submachine gun is one of the only weapons to have been developed in Luxembourg, being manufactured by the Ettelbruck-based Societe Luxembourgeoise d'Arms S.A. (SOLA S.A.). The SOLA Super was actually derived from two Belgian designs, the Vigneron and the RAN submachine guns, both of which were sponsored at various points by SOLA (likely through the associated company SOMEP S.A.). This is evident in several features, including the M3-type dust cover over the ejection port, the compensator on the muzzle, the retracting wire stock, and the entire design of the receiver, the latter of which closely imitates the RAN. Internally the gun operated on a straight-blowback action with a non-reciprocating cocking handle, and fed from a 32-round MP 40 magazine. The construction of the SOLA Super submachine gun comprised just 38 parts in total.

The SOLA Super appeared in 1954, shortly after the discontinuation of the RAN, and seems to have been the successor to that gun. The design was "officially" attributed to SOLA's chief engineer, one Mr. J.P. Jansen, although credit must be given to Witold Porebski who originally designed the RAN. It was offered for both domestic military sale and commercial export, but the gun was rejected by the Luxembourgian Army after brief trials at Walferdange. There was also a rather farcical attempt to interest the US government in the design, via SOLA's American representatives A.R. Tiburzi & Associates. SOLA manager Nicholas Scholer reportedly walked into the Pentagon with a SOLA submachine gun in his suitcase, and was promptly thrown out by security.

Cross-section sketch of the SOLA Super submachine gun.

 Export sales were achieved, but were largely illicit in nature - for example, some were smuggled to FLN guerrillas during the Algerian War, and were subsequently distributed across North Africa. These illegal sales were achieved through several third-party shell companies operated a Latvian arms dealer, Georg Puchert. Allegedly, Puchert was able to strike a deal with SOLA by hiring an actress to seduce one of the plant managers. The compromised SOLA employee deliberately arranged to have much of their produce "fail" the quality control; the "rejected" guns were then packed into crates and smuggled out of the country by the aforementioned woman. Thus SOLA could claim that any missing guns had been destroyed, when in actual fact they were being trafficked to Algeria. If any legitimate sales of the SOLA submachine gun were achieved, they have not been disclosed.

Such was the nature of SOLA's business that the company quickly found itself in legal trouble. In 1957 the SOLA plant was raided by the Luxembourg police and the remainder of its produce, including 760 SOLA Super submachine guns, were confiscated and mostly destroyed. The plant manager, Nicholas Scholer, received a paltry fine but his firearms production license was permanently revoked. The SOLA plant reopened as a plastics manufacturer, but soon went out of business for good. Scholer undoubtedly got off easy compared to Puchert, who was killed violently in a car bomb explosion in 1959.

Disassembled view of the SOLA Super submachine gun.

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