90th IDPG Reviews


M3 Grease Gun Comparison: Valkyrie Arms vs Guide Lamp

Date: 6/9/2012
Author: Chris Guska


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The M3 “Grease Gun” was developed by General Motors during WWII to be a low cost, easy to manufacture replacement for the costly, manufacturing intensive Thompson Submachine Gun. First seeing action in 1943, the M3 saw usage side by side with the Thompson through the war's end in all theaters of operations. A number of "flaws" were discovered with the M3, leading to the improved M3A1, which was produced, but not documented to be fielded prior to the conclusion of WWII.

M3 Grease Guns are seldom seen in reenactment use. There are essentially three options available being original production M3's and M3A1's, as well as the M3A1 semi auto product from Valkyrie Arms.

Valkyrie Arms of Olympia Washington produced new made M3A1 caliber .45 semi automatic "pistols", "rifles" and "short barreled rifles" in the 1990's. The product is no longer offered by Valkyrie Arms, but is available on the secondary market.

Over the past 15 years I have observed some confusion amongst reenactors regarding the Valkyrie Arms M3A1 regarding construction and authenticity.

I recently had the opportunity to compare side by side a papered 1944 production Guide Lamp M3 as well as a Valkyrie Arms semi automatic M3A1. The photos and limited commentary below serve to highlight some of the differences regarding construction and authenticity.


The Comparison:


Guide Lamp (Original) left, Valkyrie Arms right


Ejector Housing, Charging Handle, Ejection Port differences - the Valkyrie is of M3A1 in style, so it is expected that the ejection port is larger and the charging handle has been omitted from the ejector housing.


Details of the magazine well as well as trunion / barrel thread. The differences here are a result of the different construction method rather than any pattern difference between M3 and M3A1. The Valkyrie Arms is a tube that has a "box" for the mag well welded to it - while the Guide Lamp example is a stamped left and right half welded together.


Bottom view details, of both guns. The Valkyrie Arms gun has a faux oiler cap on the bottom of the grip, replicating the style of the M3A1. The M3 has its oiler located on the left side of the ejector housing. The Valkyrie Arms M3A1 utilizes an original, albeit modified trigger guard.


Original M3's and M3A1's use a spring clip to retain the barrel, while the Valkyrie Arms uses a set screw. Construction detail differences are evident.


The oiler on the ejector housing is clearly visible in this photo. Additionally, butt stock guides are present on the M3, and are present on original M3A1 ejector housing as well. The Valkyrie Arms has omitted this detail. Visible on the Valkyrie Arms is the Safety switch, as the gun utilizes a modified AR15 Trigger Group internally.


The Valkyrie Arms M3A1 utilizes an original magazine catch and spring. Visible is the forward takedown pin on the Valkyrie Arms M3A1. The entire lower assembly pins onto the upper with 2 detent pins.


Grip and trigger detail.


Rear sight detail. The Valkyrie Arms rear sight is significantly simplified from the original example. Early M3's had a simple un reinforced L sight welded on, far simpler than the Valkyrie example. Original production M3A1's had a rear sight identical to the one on the M3 as shown.


Top view showing construction differences between left right clamshell stampings and the tube construction of the Valkyrie Arms example.


Final Thoughts:

I've heard people rag on the Valkyrie Arms M3A1 for years, specifically that it was poorly built, farby and just wasn't worth buying.

I was very pleasantly surprised when i took the time to take the Valkyrie Arms gun apart and really look at it. It is well built, with heavy tubing, well executed tig welds, and some decently done machining.

As a low production volume "niche" firearm, I think the Valkyrie Arms M3A1 is reasonably well executed. Is it a legitimate M3 or M3A1? Absolutely not. Is it a firearm that captures the general look and feel of a M3A1, and was built to modern sensibilities and methods? Yes.

Modern firearm to be enjoyed for what it is - yes. Historical piece - hell no.


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