Tallinn Model 1923


The newly-independent state of Estonia established a domestic arms programme in the early 1920s to supply their military and irregular forces. The Tallinn Model 1923 was the first submachine gun to be produced in Estonia, designed by Johannes Teiman and manufactured by Tallinn Arsenal. The basic design was copied from the Swiss SIG Model 1920 submachine gun, which had been exported to the Baltics in the early 1920s. However it was not chambered in 7.65mm, as the SIG was, but instead took the 9x20mm Browning cartridge (and is indeed one of the only submachine guns to have been built around this cartridge). The magazine was based on the SIG type but took 40 rounds instead of 50. The barrel was also modified with cooling fins, which apparently did little to prevent overheating, and a barrel jacket with rectangular cooling slots. Production lasted from 1926 to 1930, during which time only around 530 examples were made. They were used by Estonian militia fighters in the 1920s and early 1930s but by the mid - late 30s, Estonia licensed production of the far superior Suomi submachine gun from Finland and the Tallinn SMG was deemed surplus. A large portion of the small production run was sold to the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War.

Tallinn M1923
Tallinn Model 1923 submachine gun with 40-round magazine.

Interesting photo of a captured Tallinn submachine gun in use by the Italian CTV in Spain.

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