Hotchkiss "type Universal" in ready-to-use configuration
Hotchkiss "type Universal" in collapsed configuration (note that the size of package can be further decreased by telescoping the barrel back into receiver by about 1/2 of its length)
Hotchkiss "type Universal" submachine gun is one of most unusual weapons that appeared during early post-WW2 period. It was announced by once famous French arms-making company Societe des Armes a Feu Portatives Hotchkiss et Cie in 1949, and was produced until about 1952. The idea behind this gun was to made it as compact as possible when carrying or storing; the intended market for such weapon could be either paratroopers or people engaged in all sorts of clandestine operations. As a result of development, the "type Universal" submachine gun was able to be folded into a rather small package, only 440mm long when completely "collapsed". On the minus side, resulting weapon was overly complicated and expensive to make. It had many parts and probably was not reliably enough for any serious use. Small number of Hotchkiss "Universal" submachine guns saw action during earlier stages of war in the Indochina; few were purchased by Venezuela during early 1950s, but there were no more buyers and production of this gun has stopped.
It is also possible that it was the Hotchkiss "Universal" submachine gun that inspired Eugene Stoner when he devised his Ares Folding Machine Gun.
Except for its ability to fold down into a small package, Hotchkiss "type Universal" submachine gun is rather conventional weapon, using simple blowback action. It fires from open bolt, and capable of selective fire (fire mode selector is made in the form of cross-bolt button above pistol grip). The cocking handle has a sliding dustcover on its slot, and does not move when gun is fired. The sights consist of hooded front and flip-type aperture rear, marked for 50 and 100 meters.
The buttstock and pistol grip are made from sheet steel. When gun need to be collapsed, the pistol grip is pivoted forward to cover trigger guard, and magazine housing is folded forward to lie below the barrel. The buttstock then folds down and forward, and locks to the outer walls of magazine housing. If gun has to be further collapsed, operator shall depress a special latch that is located at the front of receiver, below the barrel. barrel then can be pushed backwards and into the receiver. It must be noted that it took more than few seconds to bring gun back to action from "fully collapsed" state.
Societe des Armes a Feu Portatives Hotchkiss et Cie
9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
3.43 Kg (7.56 Lbs)
(stock closed/open): 540 / 776 mm (21.25-30.55 in) (440 mm (17.32 in) when completely
273 mm (10.74 in)
Rate of fire:
150-200 meters (164-218 yd)