The submachine gun, a new class of arms, was born in the trench battles of the World War I. The USSR started development of submachine guns in the 1920s. The PPD gun from 1934 was the first practical result of these development efforts. It was used as a self-defence weapon by junior commanders in operating units. In 1938, the PPD was upgraded, but, for certain political reasons, it was soon removed from service and only the Winter War with Finland forced the country to quickly resume manufacturing 1940 modification PPD guns. The PPD-40 was manufactured in besieged Leningrad until 1942, although the PPSh-41 replaced it as a mass weapon and entered into service in 1941.
The PPD was a classic example of a 'first-generation' submachine gun. It had a traditional wooden stock with a structure that was quite expensive to produce and required a significant amount of machining. The first samples of the PPD-34 only had casket magazines; however, following the 1940 war, drum-type magazines with increased capacity were developed for them.