Meet Owen: The Aussie-made subgun that was a hit all over the Pacific (PHOTOS)
By Chris Eger
The Owen, shown above in the hands of an Australian soldier in 1943 Papua New Guinea, was all Australian (Photos: Australian War Memorial)
Officially termed the Owen Machine Carbine, this handy top-fed 9mm was made wholly in Australia during WWII and remained in service for three decades.
While Britain had the ubiquitous Lanchester (itself an unlicensed copy of the German MP18/28), used a number of lend-lease Tommy guns and coughed up both the STEN and Sterling, the Australians were a long way from Britain’s supply lines and faced a very real threat from the Empire of Japan during WWII.
Private Evelyn Ernest Owen with his “Owen” gun
This sparked a 24-year-old Pvt. Evelyn Ernest Owen, with 2/17 Battalion of the Australian Army, from Wollongong, New South Wales, to submit a gun he made to the Army for testing.
His sub gun used a gramophone spring, was chambered in .22 rimfire, and was rejected.
Here are some interesting variants of the Owen in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.
Now that’s a prototype! Owen’s original 1938 concept gun, sans magazine
A later .22 Short prototype by Owen using a 44-round circular magazine driven by a piano wire spring.
Redesigned for .45ACP (as well as .38-200, the standard rimmed BritshSource: Guns.com