Common illicitly homemade submachine guns in Brazil

Illicitly ‘homemade’ submachine guns feature very prominently in firearms seizures by police across South America, Brazil in particular. These weapons vary in their level of sophistication though a large number appear to be semi-professionally produced. In a recent study of over 14,488 firearms seized between 2011 and 2012 in Sao Paulo alone, 48% of submachine guns analyzed were reportedly homemade. Given the decent quality of many SMG clones, even that high statistic is probably significantly under reported.

The most frequently seized design for some time would appear to the be the model below. A workshop producing a variation among other machine pistols was the subject of a seizure by the authorities a few years back. There appear to be many variations in circulation, perhaps the design outsourced or copied by other illicit workshops. ‘Beretta – made in Italy’ is commonly seen stamped on these.


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Another common variation:

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As with many of these home workshop SMGs, the Brazilian made URU submachine gun seems to be the inspiration behind the general layout. More closely aligned copies also surface regularly.

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‘The Blimp’

In recent months increasing numbers of the model below have been seized, appearing to overtake the previous model in frequency. It is characterized by an unconventional appearance, owing to the use of a tubular receiver and a conical barrel nut. Unlike the majority of ‘T’ SMGs this design does not appear to make use of a telescoping bolt, resulting in a longer rear portion of it’s receiver.  ‘Made in the USA’ is the most commonly stamped claim.

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A slightly more compact variation fitted with a two stage suppressor:

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The most recent trend in seizures appears to be a less sophisticated square section machine pistol. A short portion of bored out square bar stock is used for the construction of it’s barrel and it uses a simple metal strip as a magazine latch. Many features bear it similarities with the designs described in the ‘Expedient Homemade Firearms’ series of manuals.

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Tec 9 copies

One of the most sophisticated criminal operations unearthed involved a workshop in Sao Paulo having been producing TEC 9 copies with molded plastic lower receivers.

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Submachine guns chambered in .22lr also appear frequently. These commonly feature wood or plastic furniture.

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MAC 10, M11 and Micro Uzi copies

Homemade machine pistols based on the MAC and micro UZI series of designs also feature prominently. Regularly encountered is a highly compact ‘micro MAC’ of very crude construction. A ridiculously high rate of fire is to be expected.


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More closely aligned copies of the M-11 9:

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A highly minimalist copy of the MAC 10:



In contrast, a high quality example recently seized which is reasonably accurate to the original:

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Micro Uzi copies:

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A high quality copy, utilizing stamped construction of the original:

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Lastly of the common types shown here, a compact machine pistol that is easily identified by it’s slanted magazine well which unusually accepts commercial pistol magazines:

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  • Eric S

    Those cast Tec-9s are some nice work.

    • noob

      they do look like zinc castings. I guess they aren’t all plastic molding.

      What is the penalty for being caught with tooling and moulds but no firearms?

      • Jim

        It think its definitely plastic. Why would they mold that rifle stock at the side out of zinc? It would weigh like several bricks.. The whole point of molding plastic lowers would be extreme ease of manufacture and small light milling work.

    • Josh

      Almost wish I could get one of those here in the states…..

  • bbmg

    Is the impro guns blog coming back? I do miss it so.

  • noguncontrol

    i love sub machine guns.

  • phuzz

    Some of those things look terrifying, I’m not sure if it would be worse to try and shoot one or to have it pointed at you.

    • iksnilol


      An open bolt SMG is usually a very safe design.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Why ‘gun control’ will never work.

  • wetcorps

    Is it wrong that I want one?

    • gunslinger

      just a little.

      but hey, with the olympics and world cup coming, gotta protect yourself.

  • Igor

    As brazilian, i will tell ya all: drug dealers outgun the Army any day of the week.

    Police can’t enter some areas fearing death and the few cops who try to fight are murdered in their own homes.

    It’s ilegal for a civy to own 9mm, the biggest caliber allowed is .380.

    A glock costs US$2000 (2 thousand dollars, not a typo), plus US$500 in taxes and permits every year (minimum wage is ~$340).

    There was a plebiscite to ask the people’s opinion on gun banning, the result was ”NO”. Yet, the gov. carried on.

    Wanna help? Boycott the World Cup and the Olympics. They intend to classify protesters as terrorists (!!!) during those events.

    • noguncontrol

      plus you can be arrested for “homophobia” , i say boycott everything from the brazilian govt or that benefits the brazilian govt.

      • Robert177

        “Homophobia”. Ha. Another made-up word that means nothing to anyone with an IQ over 40.

    • Junius Junius

      I had no intentions of going to the WC, but I will cancel my plans to come for the Summer Olympics.

  • john huscio

    “New offerings from Taurus for 2014”

  • Paul Hacker

    A British STEN gun should be VERY easy to make with CNC machinery! And CNC equipment is available in the US. Heck even a good lathe operator could make them! And ammo? So much illegal drugs come in I don’t see why illegal ammo wouldn’t come in to.

    That is if a simple nitrate factory didn’t make the powder and primers while a simple metal shop made the primers, cases, and slugs. 9mm would be the only one needed.

    • Zius Patagus

      I built a semi auto sten from a kit utilizing some surplus sten parts about 10 years ago. I laughed at how simple the full auto Sten design was. Basically they and the sub guns in Brazil are just slam fire operated. Use round or square tubes, some sort of barrel, a trigger, basically a trip mechanism and you are good to go.

      • Dan

        i thought open bolt firearms were not legal to make?

        • Ken

          Legal semi auto Sten’s are closed bolt. You use a smaller diameter receiver tube that can’t take the original full auto bolt, and a commercially made bolt and trigger group (I believe an AR trigger group) that is semi auto only.

    • D

      Have you seen the prints for the Sten? CNC not required there; some dude with a drill press, a torch, and a set of files could make a Sten.

  • Aaron Mulligan

    I used to like Brazil, especially Sao Paulo. But I guess crimes are rampant everywhere we go. We just have to be safe. And about the guns they’re producing, its very inventive with such “semi-professional” makers?shall i say. Yes too big and too destructive to the society.

  • derfelcadarn

    This demonstrates conclusively that the likelihood of the American People ever being disarmed is NONE.

    • snowwalker


  • Irvin Bennet

    The skill and ingenuity of these guys is amazing considering what they have to work with. There have been some nice examples from parts of Russia and Asia as well.

  • Jamie Clemons

    You will start seeing seeing in the US if they outlaw guns.

  • Pete

    In the US it is stupid to outlaw guns because there are lots of barrels, ammo (or components) and people with a decent-to-very-good firearms mechanical knowledge.

    I bet that with a little creativity and the right equipment there are people who can make decent barrels.

  • mar

    lol mills and/or drill presses/lathes are common, and almost ubiquitous in American homes. Have fun trying to ban guns when anyone with half a brain and a decent garage can make them.

  • anonymous

    I want the blimp in .500 s&w