Finland is known for its extreme, frigid winters
and...its...frigid winters. It's also one of the most sparsely
populated countries in Europe. Neighboring Sweden is known for its
size (the largest country in the European Union) and its gorgeous
dames. So what does this have to do with gun summaries?
Next time you head to Finland, be sure to take your
Let's take a look at the Lahti L-35 semi-automatic
pistol designed by Finn Aimo Lahti.
An obscure handgun in
military history, the Lahti L-35 rolled off Finnish assembly lines in
the mid-1930s, thanks to the good folks at Finland's Valtion
State Rifle Factory.
The Lahti L-35 looks like a German Walther P38.
Whatever its roots, the Lahti was designed for severe
cold, and this little 9mm Parabellum excelled in bad weather,
becoming the official pistol of the Finnish army shortly before
World War II.
The L-35 has a feed that accepts 8-round, 9mm
magazines. It is recoil operated, and tips the scales at a rather
hefty 2 and 3/4 pounds, unloaded. It measures 9.6 inches long,
and sports a barrel slightly longer than 4 inches. The L-35 is
chambered for 9mm, but it had a step-brother, a prototype chambered
in 7.65mm that never saw the light of day. Poor little guy didn't
The unique feature about this otherwise unspectacular
gun is its penchant for extreme cold. The Lahti L-35 features a novel
bolt accelerator that improves the gun's reliability in severe
The Lahti L-35 did not set any production records - less
than 10,000 were made.
The Swedes were so desperate for a handgun during WWII
that they bought the rights to manufacture the Lahti L-35. The
converted gun became the Pistol Model 40 (for the year 1940).
Tens of thousands of the new Swedish gun were made
during the war years by Husqvarna, and the Husqvarna M/40, the
adopted name for the Swedish Lahti L-35 was unveiled.
The Lahti-35 has a history of reliability, but due to
sub-standard materials, the M/40 has had a less than stellar track
record. The bolt cracks. If you own a Lahti L-35, consider yourself
blessed. If you own the M/40, don't load it. Keep it under lock and
key. It's no doubt valuable, but not for shooting.