One of the most difficult MP40 accessories to describe is the MP40 magazine pouch. By “difficult” I mean that it is hard to describe the huge amount of variations in versions, materials, colors, stamps and factories. On top of that, you have to find legitimate original pouch samples to study.
Almost all MP40 pouches available on the market place are reproductions or counterfeits these days. Some of them are easy to recognize as fakes and others, so well counterfeited that they seem to be the “real thing.” In general you could say that most of the pouches that are offered on websites like e-bay are fakes. If you want to buy a “real” MP40 pouch you have to go to a trustworthy militaria dealer who will give a guarantee on originality and even then you are not 100% sure. Even the “specialists” do not always seem to agree on the originality of a pouch. I’m using the word “specialist” in a bit of cynical fashion, because there are a lot of self proclaimed specialists who have never held more than 1 or 2 original pouches in their lives and still judge other collectors or enthusiasts their own counterfeit items.
For the record, I am not proclaiming to be a specialist or expert on MP-40 pouches! However, I do have a small network of some “high end” collectors of whom I am fairly certain that they have the knowledge to distinguish an original from a fabrication. Most importantly, these higher-end collectors have years of experience distinguishing the fake from the real pouches by having had numerous pouches gone through their hands to feel and smell them. Building up experience just from looking at pictures is not sufficient. Probably 90% of the falsifications can be easily separated by a few characteristics. The other 10% are the problem and the challenge to authenticate.
I once bought a pouch through an auction website with a “Guarantee of Authenticity“. From the pictures provided by the seller it looked like the real thing. I paid a reasonable price for it and had it sent over. When the pouch arrived I wasn’t so sure any more of its originality. A friend of mine with more than 20 years of experience did not trust it either. So we decided to have it checked by a local militaria dealer. He thought it was real but then started doubting during the visit. At that point I completely lost trust and contacted the seller again. Fortunately for me, he took the pouch back.
This experience, and a few other similar ones, have left me with an overall feeling of distrust and apprehension with regard to the MP40 pouches. Still, quite a few people have asked me to add an “MP40 Pouch Page” to the Accessories chapter. Alex K. from www.HZA-Kulmbach.de offered to provide photographs of various pouches that are guaranteed 100% original. Most of the pictures in this section are from his impressive collection!
I have devided this subject in two pages. First the original German pouches produced from 1938 till 1945 and secondly a page about the original Post war pouches used by the Austrian Bundesheer and the Norwegian Army.