Some US Troops Still Have Grease Guns?

M3 \'Grease Gun\'

M3 'Grease Gun'

Quite a while back, a reader sent Murdoc this link: 2nd ID soldiers converting to M-4 rifles

They’re talking about the division’s 1st Brigade, deployed in South Korea. The other three maneuver brigades of the 2nd ID are Stryker brigades and already equipped with the M4. It’s a little unclear about how many troops in the 1st Brigade are turning in their M16s for M4s. The switch to the M4 has been pretty much Army-wide.

This is what caught my attention:

Throughout the Army, the M-4 is replacing the M-16, the M-3 submachine gun and the M-9 pistol in select cases for unit leaders, crew-served gunners, vehicle crews, radio operators, infantry and combat engineers, a PEO Soldier spokeswoman said. [emphasis Murdoc’s]

Does anyone really still have M3 SMGs? I think I remember reading that some support types still had them in the 91 Gulf War, but I guess I would have thought the few remaining would have been totally phased out during the gutting of the military in the 90s.

If they’re still used, are they chambered for .45? Or have they converted to 9mm?


  1. I was told by a retired Sgt. Major out of Levenworth that all M1 Abrams crew were issued a M-3 greasegun but that was in the early ’90’s. I did hear that they still were till recenly. Wasn’t well liked but was the only personal weapon issued besides whatever pistol was issued.

    Hard to believe

  2. I suspect the PEO-Soldier media person was just reading from the same old boilerplate script written up in the early ’90s.

    The article also repeats my pet peeve about putting dashes in the weapon designations. US military small arms designations DO NOT have dashes. This was hashed out many times decades ago in “The American Rifleman”, back when their technical staff was largely populated by ex-Ordnance Corps veterans.

  3. We had Grease Guns in our National Guard Armory about 4 years ago. They were issued to tank crews. I always wanted some trigger time with one.

  4. I was just thinking…strictly speaking myself or other staff types weren’t “vehicle crew”, but we spent an awful lot of time driving and maintaining (and cursing) ‘577s.

    We weren’t issued M3s but the mechanics were, who again were not by MOS “vehicle crew” but DID man the VTR and M88.

    Not that I was jealous- looked like a piece of crap to me.

  5. My last Look at the M-3 was too far back (1977) to be of relevance, but for “GeekLethal”, the M3A1 might have looked like a cheap piece of crap, and indeed, it WAS cheap. Mine were produced by GM’s “Guide Lamp” division at a cost of around twenty bucks a copy.

    However,it was one heck of a gun. It did 450 rounds per minute of .45 ACP, not a slouchy cartridge by any standard, and a good operator could squeeze of single shots easily. Hundred yard shots on a man-sized silhouette were a ‘gimme’ if you actually extended the retractable stock and used the sights.

    old tanker

  6. In 1987 I was trained on the M3A1 during tank school just in case we got sent to a tank battalion that still had the M60’s.

    In 1988 when I was posted to A-3-34 AR, they had M1(IP) Abrams and no M3A1s. The Cav troop across the way still had M60A3s and the grease guns. As far I was able to find out, the M3A1s went away when a unit transitioned to the M1.

  7. I had M3s in arms rooms as late as 1998, but only for M88 crews (the tankers had their “crew served” M16s, or shortly after M4s). There aren’t any more in active duty army units, though it is possible there are still some in the Guard somewhere.

    It could also be that the PEO rep was just quoting from the original M4 requirement, which was to replace the M3s among other things.

  8. Pingback: M3 Grease Gun possibly still in service | The Firearm Blog
  9. When I was stationed with the 4th ID from 90-94, we still used them. They were issued to some tank crews as well as support mechanics. We had several that I had to maintain in the arms room.

  10. M3s are a Basic Issue Item (BII) for the M-88 armored recovery vehicle. If 2ID has those, then they would be the ones being replaced.

  11. We got a batch of brand new in box General Motors Guide Lamp Division M3A1’s in at my reserve unit in the early 90’s for our M88 Recovery Vehicle crews. They were Korean War vintage manufacture but still brand spanking new in sealed boxes.

  12. Oh yeah, they were still chambered in .45ACP. At that point in time we’d just swapped out the last of our 1911’s but the M3A1’s were still .45ACP as originally manufactured.

  13. The M-4 is fine for amateur shooters and rear echelon types with plenty of time to clean them. They suck if you’re in combat trying to shoot insurgents in a sandy environment through windows, car doors and other barriers. They should be replacing the M-3’s with a good gas piston rifle instead.

  14. That’s still an F’n awesome close range weapon. Anyone who has ever used one (or even just heard one) will certainly agree. It’s like 80% of a MAC10 for 10% of the cost. Or maybe 1000% of a 1911 for twice the cost.

    As long as they can get them the ammo (you know I’m a logistics freak) I don’t see a problem with equipping certain troops with grease guns.

    Pineapple grenades still work great too.

  15. I served from ’04-’08, including in Iraq and I never saw a grease gun. For that matter, the only troops I saw with 1911’s were Marine Recon. Most troops are either issued an M16 or an M4, and may additionally carry an M9. The ground-pounders have some SAW’S and 203’s mixed in (I’ve even seen a female soldier carrying a SAW–kinda odd). That’s about it.

    Then again, you can still find deuce-and-a-half trucks (also 1940’s vintage) rumbling around many bases. So it’s feasible.

  16. I flew NAVY C-9s during Desert Shield / Storm. One mission was transporting 50 Army personnel from Germany to the desert. On the ramp shortly after the troops had unloaded and as they were mustering up, I noticed a young troop with a M3 Grease Gun slung over his shoulder. I walked up to him and was admiring it, when his SGT came up to me and asked if there was anything he could help me with.

    I said ” Sarg, what would happen if this troop was to lose this M3 ? ” and he replied that “He would have to kill me” We had a good laugh.
    All of the parkerization was warn off. It looked silver.

  17. My former Army National Guard battalion in New England still had M3A1’s until recently. We still had them in the armory and on the Table of Organization and Equipment(TO&E) for the M88 armored recovery vehicle crews in 2006 when the battalion was deactivated. At that time the National Guard was turning in the remaining M3A1’s and M1911A1’s for most all TO&E units still retaining them. When I served in the Army Reserve the early 90’s, the local Army Reserve Judge Advocate General (JAG) unit still had a dozen M1911’s in original configuration. Some dated from 1914! The national guard still has M1911A1NM’s and they are still retained on Table of Distrabution and Allowance (TDA) in state headquarters for marksmanship activities. Most national guard state HQ’s have let their marksmanship competition programs languish however. I retired last year after over 20 years in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, Thank God. I am sure our beloved “Nobel Peace Prize” winning President Obama has the crushers and smelters working overtime to distroy all those evil M3A1’s, M1911A1’s and the like to keep us all safe from surplus ordinace. Your guns will be next…

  18. Gents, the M-3 is still issued, as so many have stated above. It is also of interest to know, it’s in .45 cal too.It is an inexpensive weapon, but reliable and with a good rate of fire, making it a dependable supressive fire weapon. In addition, it might be worth mentioning, that due to it’s use by mech crews, mech infantry support personnel, etc…the Army, and other branches of the US military have issue the FN-90, also called the P-90, for the same personnel and for the same reasons. Both are great weapons for use inside just about any type of tracked or wheeled vehicle. The advantage of the FN-90 over the M-3, is of course it’s newness, and, most significantly, it’s 50 round top-loading magazine. Yes, it does fire the new 5.7mm ammo, lot lighter than the .45 but while EVERYONE and their brother in the world is reloading their 30 rnd. mags the FN-90 operater is still firing!

  19. A friend of mine was deployed to Iraq active side in 2005 with the 82nd airborne as an infantry scout. He said his supply sgt had a grease gun. I also work at a gunrange, and we have a class 2 dealer sample 1944 thompson m1a1 that is a rental weapon for the public. It has been rented for 8 years now without being cleaned. It has never malfunctioned or given us any problems. It has seen millions of rounds. These old guns are tougher than new ones. Our rental M16’s need cleaning every couple days

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