Military Wiki
Type Submachine gun
Place of origin  Australia
Service history
In service 1963–1991
Used by See Users
Wars Vietnam War
Rhodesia, Operation Agila
Production history
Designed 1962
Manufacturer Lithgow Small Arms Factory
Produced July 1963
Number built 25,136
Weight 3.7 kg (Empty)
4.30 kg (Loaded)
Length 714 mm
Barrel length 198 mm

Cartridge 9x19 mm Parabellum
Caliber 9mm
Action Blowback
Rate of fire 600-640 rounds/min
Effective range 150 m
Maximum range 100-200 m
Feed system 34-round Sterling SMG compatible box magazine
Sights Offest Iron sights

The 9 mm F1 was a standard Australian submachine gun manufactured by the Lithgow Small Arms Factory.[1] First issued to Australian troops in July 1963, it replaced the Owen machine carbine. The F1 was retired in the early 1990s and replaced by the F88C Austeyr, an Australian-built version of the Steyr AUG rifle with slight modifications. The F1 had a robust and simple design and proved useful in close-quarter fighting during the Vietnam War. Malaysia bought a small number of the F1 but this only totalled 28 in number.

Design details

The F1 is a simple blowback design firing from an open bolt with a fixed firing pin. It shares many design features with the British Sterling submachine gun. Unlike both the Sterling and its predecessor, the Owen, the F1 has a removable wooden butt and pistol grip. A curved detachable 34 round box magazine is inserted in a magazine housing on top of the barrel, similar to the earlier and popular Australian Owen gun. The top mounted magazine is unobtrusive for carry and when lying prone. Lightning fast magazine changes can be made, it has the added advantage of only needing a light spring being no harder to load than a .22 magazine not requiring special mag fillers like its contemporaries and to be less likely to jam than a bottom mounted magazine. The butt-plate and pistol-grip are identical to those on the L1A1 SLR as well as the capability of adapting SLR bayonets.

The trigger is a two stage pull, half back semi auto, pull and hold back gives full auto requiring a safety catch only easily operated by the thumb. There is a small guard fitted forward of the ejection port to protect the forward hand. The left mounted cocking handle has a tab that when presed locks into the bolt enabling it to be worked back and forward to clear fouling.

Stripping is simple, Safety on remove magazine, cock and hold bolt open rotate to left inspect bolt face and chamber, release bolt under control. Grab butt press catch on bottom of receiver with other hand rotate butt to left 90 degree pull off, remove spring, release safety tip barrel up pull trigger bolt slides out. Assemble in reverse. Suggested ranges for use were 25 meters from the hip snap shooting 100 meters using sights.

Because of the vertical magazine the sights of the F1 were offset to the right of the weapon requiring a slight head tilt to the right, the rear sight being a roughly triangular asymmetrical metal flap with a round aperture, the foresight being a blade mounted on the right side of the weapon's magazine well.


  •  Australia
  •  Malaysia
  •  Rhodesia


The Complete Equipment Schedule (CES) for the F1 included:

  • a large round wire and nylon brush, similar to a bottle brush for cleaning the tubular body of the weapon
  • a standard SLR pull-through (a string with a loop at one end for holding a piece of service flannelette and a weight at the other to assist the user in feeding it down the barrel)
  • a sling similar to the standard brass and canvas SLR sling, but shorter
  • 5 magazines and
  • a 4 magazine pouch, each column having its own flap.


  1. Modern Firearms' F1 submachine gun. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.


  • Australian Service Machine Guns (Skennerton)
  • S.A.I.S No.3, 9mm Owen & Austen MK I* (Skennerton)
  • Various Factory Records, S.A.F. Lithgow
  • Infantry Training Vol. 1, Infantry Platoon Weapons Pam.

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).