The VMP was initially developed in the mid-1920s at Heinrich Vollmer's small factory. Production was largely undertaken in secrecy due to the then-enforced Treaty of Versailles, which forbade the manufacture of machine guns in Germany. However, despite this, Vollmer still received financial support from the Reichswehr to continue development of the VMP, and military trials were held secretly. The VMP was ultimately not adopted by the Reichswehr, however it did achieve small sales to Mexico and Bulgaria, and some weapons may have been supplied to Bolivia during the Gran Chaco War (1932 - 1935). Due to the limited manufacturing capacity of Vollmer's factory, the VMP was made only in the hundreds rather than the thousands. In October 1931, Vollmer sold the rights to the VMP to ERMA Werke, which produced an improved version of the gun as the Erma EMP.
The VMP was a blowback-operated, 9×19mm submachine gun that operated on Vollmer's patented telescopic return spring housed partially within the rear of the long bolt. Initial prototypes from 1925 - 1926 were fed from a small canted drum magazine, however this was dropped in 1928 in favor of a horizontally-fed box magazine. The distinctive wooden stock of the VMP featured a forward grip, which housed a retractable extending monopod for controlled fire. The disassembly release catch was located behind the trigger guard, unlocking the receiver from the stock when pulled.