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Lightweight automatic small-arms weapon chambered for relatively low-energy pistol cartridges and fired from the hip or shoulder. Submachine guns usually have box-type magazines that hold 10–50 cartridges, or occasionally drums holding more rounds. A short-range weapon, they are rarely effective at more than 200 yards (180 m). They can fire 650 or more rounds per minute and weigh 6–10 lbs (2.5–4.5 kg). Important types include the Thompson submachine gun, or tommy gun (patented 1920), the British Sten gun of World War II, and the later Israeli Uzi.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on submachine gun, visit Britannica.com.