Given that the “vintage Airsoft model / replica guns” has its own sizable cult following, would an Airsoft version of the M1915 Villar-Perosa submachine gun make a good Airsoft gun?
By: Ringo Bones
Photos of this seminal submachine gun may give the impression that it may be too awkward and too unwieldy to use one in battlefield conditions, but a recent documentary about old guns has shown that a gun enthusiast was quite delighted after firing a still working 1915 Villar-Perosa submachine gun – like the one displayed in the Austrian Army Museum in Vienna and the Russian Museum of Artillery in St. Petersburg – even assessing that the gun will be manageable in battlefield use despite being slightly heavier in comparison of contemporary 9-mm submachine guns. Does this make the 1915 Villar-Perosa a good Airsoft gun for the “vintage gun” enthusiast?
Even though I have yet to see one displayed in our local Airsoft shop, the Villar-Perosa submachine gun originally has two variants that was more-or-less fielded near the end of World War I. The twin-barreled M1915 model (actually two submachine guns in a “Siamese-Twin” configuration) was originally designed in 1914 and was originally intended by the famous Italian small arms designer Bethel Abiel Revelli for use in World War I era biplanes. Though it’s 3,000 rounds per minute rate of fire can make a short shrift of any biplane that comes in front of it, the 9-mm Glisenti ammunition – similar in size to the modern 9-mm X 19-mm Parabellum cartridge – proved to be low powered and too limited in range for practical use as an aircraft machine gun. The 9-mm Glisenti ammunition is even “weaker” than its contemporary – the 9mm X 19-mm Luger pistol round.
The manufacturing company Officine Villar Perosa (OVP for short) eventually made a “stripped-down variant of the M1915 Villar-Perosa submachine gun, the OVP M1918 “automatic carbine” with half the rate of fire of its predecessor. Its rather rapid rate of fire was primarily caused by lightweight bolt being paired with a powerful spring. Both guns operate in the open-bolt configuration with a delayed blowback action. Fed from a 25-round box magazine, the submachine guns very high rate of fire and rather short range only makes it suitable for close quarter battle / CQB situations. Though it could look very kick ass to the unfamiliar, even in its Airsoft version firing 6-mm plastic 0.2-gram mineral-filled polypropylene pellets travelling at 400 feet per second.