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.
Another common variation:
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.
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.
A slightly more compact variation fitted with a two stage suppressor:
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.
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.
Submachine guns chambered in .22lr also appear frequently. These commonly feature wood or plastic furniture.
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.
More closely aligned copies of the M-11 9:
A highly minimalist copy of the MAC 10:
In contrast, a high quality example recently seized which is reasonably accurate to the original:
Micro Uzi copies:
A high quality copy, utilizing stamped construction of the original:
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: