Aimo Lahti

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Aimo Johannes Lahti (April 28, 1896, Viiala - April 19, 1970, Jyväskylä) was a self-taught Finnish weapons designer. Out of the 50 weapons that he designed, the best known is the Suomi M-31 SMG. Other well-known weapon designs include the Lahti-Saloranta M/26 LMG, Lahti L-35 pistol and Lahti L-39 anti-tank rifle. Lahti also designed the 7,62 ITKK 31 VKT anti-aircraft machine gun and the 20 ITK 40 VKT anti-aircraft cannon.

His work is considered decisive in defending Finnish independence and increasing trust in the reliability of domestic weapons produced there.


Early years

Aimo Lahti was born in Viiala in 1896, to a family of five. He had a safe and somewhat wild childhood. Lahti did not enjoy school and left after the 6th year of elementary school. He started working in the Viiala glass factory when he was 14 years old. In the same year, he bought his first weapon, a Berdan rifle, with five marks he had earned in the factory. Lahti was fascinated by the rifle’s mechanism and visited local gunsmith Säteri with whom he examined the weapon closely. Aimo Lahti visited him several times, becoming familiar with weapon mechanisms. He served his conscription in central Finland’s regiment during 1918 and 1919. On October 20, 1919 he married his wife, Ida, with whom he had his only...
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