“Gun City”

Every so often I tell you, my reader, that an article or video must be read or watched. This is article about the “Gun City” of the Philippines is a must-read. In the city of Danao, craftsmen have been hand making firearms for over a century. In the past fifteen years the local politicians have managed to legalise this cottage industry. Reportage reports (Tip: Click the “Print to PDF link in the top left hand corner) …

In the Philippines, they call this city the ‘Gun City’. For more than a century, in Danao, the people have earned a living from making weapons. Pistols, revolvers or automatic weapons, they know how to make them all by hand. The city hall set up a cooperative to legalize this activity. But in order to make more money, thousands of manufacturers, indeed
the vast majority of them, continue to produce their weapons illegally for the mafia networks, or for local politicians.

[ Many thanks to Todd for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Cesium

    45mm similar to a beretta…

  • Redwookie

    You know why there is very little crime in “Gun City”? Because criminals know better! If pretty much every citizen in the city is armed then criminals aren’t going to do anything! They are way too cowardly for the most part.

    Another example of how having non restrictive firearms laws allows the citizens to be armed, and the result being almost no crime!

  • Calimero

    Who knew a 1911 was “similar to a Beretta” and firing 45mm slugs !

  • NJ

    That is amazing! Some of those guns look fantastic – I wonder how well they shoot.

  • Sian

    I can’t get over the repeated photo caption of ‘a 45mm semi-automatic handgun similar to a beretta’ referring to what is clearly a 1911 clone.

  • Glen

    I’ve seen guys like this in the press and the one question I’ve never seen answered is: how do the guns shoot? Are they reliable? Accurate?

  • Hover Sabillo

    Do not mess with Danao police. They carry 45mm Beretta clones.

  • clamp

    My favorite picture is the one of the police officer holding a “45mm handgun similar to Berettas”. That’s all sorts of awesome.

  • andyinsdca

    That was painful to read. A 45mm gun similar to a Beretta? WTF?

  • Jim

    Bless these people and their crazy gun union, but I’d never shoot a handmade gun without any scientific tolerances measurements.

  • Roy Rapoport

    It hurts a little to see them repeatedly making references to “a 45mm handgun similar to a Beretta.” I don’t have anything against 45mm handguns, of course — it’s just that the difference between 45mm and 45 caliber is … substantial.

    Also, in the second-to-last picture, the alleged AR-15 really looks wonky to me. It’s clearly some sort of handgun caliber model (9mm?); though it’s worth noting since they’re not trying to go for modular components, the lower is clearly a dedicated 9mm as well. However, the thing that really bugs me is that I can’t see the gas tube (or piston) coming from the front sight, which seems to be completely unrelated to the gas block (which I can’t see). What am I missing? This may be more of a blowback-operated action.

  • JustinR

    It’s darn incredible that they’re doing that all by hand, but then again weapon-smiths like samurai sword makers have been doing similar things for centuries too. Thanks for sharing!

  • …And they think anti-gun LAWS would create a gun-free World…
    The same geniuses that thought they would “end drug traffic”.
    If a working gun can be made on those conditions, what can’t be done on any reasonable Workshop?

  • Hank

    I wish i could get some more details on that 9mm AR. Also, the captions were humorous. “45mm” handgun, and it wasn’t an artillery piece.

  • xstang

    So, this is how an RIA 1911 is made?

  • Unknown function factor aside, amazing they can get that fit/finish in such primitive conditions. My guess is they’re not the most accurate weapons, and probably not too durable given the comment on “soft” steel. It would be interesting to see what they could do with polymer frames/parts.

  • Lance

    Hmm looks like a fun city!!!

  • Komrad

    I liked the article despite the obvious mistakes. It was written in such a way that it would make sens to anyone, even if they didn’t know anything about guns. It’s always interesting to read about village gunsmiths and garage factories. But I don’t like that they didn’t give any info about the sources of ammunition.
    It did bother me that they didn’t specify cartridges or give any info about reliability. Though if they’re just making revolvers, the guns are probably safe(ish) to fire.
    I think it’s great that there is a legal alternative for the gunsmiths, even if it’s less advantageous. It seems like the police don’t care that much about the illegal weapons since they will allow a shop to join the cooperative before arresting them.

    @everyone yelping about errors
    the article was obviously not written by a firearms enthusiast
    comments that say nothin other than “lol, they made a mistake, lol” are boring to read and don’t add to the conversation
    we can all read, and we can all see the mistakes

  • El Duderino

    45mm huh. Hey flares can hurt too…

  • M.G. Halvorsen

    Having spent a considerable time in the Philippines, I can only offer this advice:
    1. NEVER discuss politics with the locals. This can get you shot. Maintain political neutrality at all times, but ESPECIALLY during election time. The Filipinos take their politics very seriously.
    2. Any Filipino is likely armed. If you aren’t, sorry about that.
    3. As is true in all of Asia, Human Life has a different value in the P.I. It seems much lower.
    4. Friends are friends, but family is everything.
    5. The only time that one is completely safe in the P.I. is before your plane lands, and after your plane departs.
    This all sounds terribly dangerous, but, personally, I’ve always loved the Philippines and the people there. These folks are hustling to make a living, and, like most Filipinos, are working very hard doing so. They’re some of the warmest most passionate people on the planet, and most (not all!) of them love Americans and America. Oh, yeah…Make an effort to learn the local dialect. the Locals will help you learn…it shows them that you respect them and they gain face by your efforts.

  • dw

    The pictures from Gettyimage are taken at Workers League of Danao Multi-Purpose Cooperative(World MPC). It’s one of 2 co-ops set up by the city gov’t to have an outlet for the unlicensed gunmakers to ply their trade, legally. By joing the co-op, it was hoped the trade of illegal weapons can be slowed, cutting off supply to warlords and put an end to political killings.

    Danao is in Cebu. Cebu is full of skilled gun makers. One of them is David Crane’s good buddy Ferdie Sy of FERFRANS.

  • MrTolliver

    I wonder if the writer(s) even know big a 45mm bullet would be?

    • I know that in Mexico, they append “mm” to everything. So you get 12mm (12 gauge) and 38mm (.38).

  • MrTolliver

    Is it just me or do the mags in the AR15 seem a little too slim to fire the 5.56mm? Anybody have a guess to the calibre?

  • spd

    The AR and most of the sub guns look like they may be chambered for 7.62 x 25 tokarev (just guessing looking at mag shape and size). Interesting since there has been somewhat of a flash of AR tokarev conversion popularity recently.

  • trone

    proud to be a filipino someday i can go to danao for apprenticeship.