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Italian Sci-Fi Blaster: The Franchi LF-57

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Introduced in 1957, Franchi’s LF-57 submachine gun has a very distinctive sci-fi look to it, but was never able to become a major player in the Cold War arms market. It is in all ways a fully satisfactory design, including a grip safety, bolt lock to prevent accidental discharge, reasonably stable folding stock, and compact size. It has a crossbolt style of selector switch for semi and full automatic modes, and simple fixed notch sights. It uses standard Beretta 38 family magazines, which are of excellent design and are available in 20-, 30-, and 40-round capacity. However, between its pricing and feature set, the Franchi was unable to provide a significant advantage over competitors like the H&K MP5 and Uzi. It did remain in production until the 1980s, sold mostly in small batches to security forces, including many in Africa.

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