Sino Defense Manufacturing SMG9 Test From Pierangelo Tendas

Sino Defense Manufacturing has announced a new 9mm police submachine gun, which is similar in concept to the venerable HK MP5 which has seen extensive use in direct action and SWAT teams worldwide. Pierangelo Tendas of All4Shooters reports:

The production-grade variant of the CS/LS5 sub-machine gun was first introduced at the 2012 edition of the CIPATE – the “China (Beijing) International Exhibition and Symposium on Police Equipment and Anti Terrorism Technology and Equipment” held yearly in the capitol of the People’s Republic of China.

Its early prototype had been already showcased at the 2009 edition of the same exhibition as an attempt to create a “Sub-machine gun for Police” that would constitute a counterpart to the well known Heckler & Koch MP5 for the Chinese military and law enforcement community as well as to those Countries – mostly in Africa and in south-east Asia – that purchase the bulk of their armaments from the Chinese arms industry.
The CS/LS5 is manufactured by Chongqing Jianshe Industry Co., Ltd., a private-owned company whose military-oriented products are distributed globally by the State-owned Norinco group; however, a semiautomatic, sporting-oriented variant of the CS/LS5 sub-machine gun, dubbed the SMG9, is also manufactured in China by the SDM – Sino Defense Manufacturing brand and imported exclusively in Europe by the Italy based Prima Armi S.r.l. company.

Exclusive! tests the SDM - Sino Defense Manufacturing SMG9 9mm caliber semi-automatic short barrel carbine!

The Sino Defense Manufacturing SMG9 is a civilian-grade semiautomatic version of the 9x19mm caliber CS/LS5 sub-machine gun

The SMG9 can be described in many ways – as a “mini-Rifle”, to use the IPSC terms; as a “short-barrel rifle”, as it would be considered under the American laws; as a semiautomatic small-sized carbine; or as a pistol, as it would be classified by many European laws due to its barrel length vs. overall length. It is manufactured originally in a classic 9mm Luger chambering (a.k.a. 9x19mm “Parabellum”), but a rechambered 9x21mm IMI variant will be distributed in Italy, where the use of 9mm Luger ammunition is forbidden on civilian-grade handguns.
Full-scale distribution of the SMG9 is stated to start sometimes in early 2016 in Italy, with other European Countries coming shortly afterwards, but a handful of samples have already been imported by the Prima Armi company for testing and proofing – some of which have been later sold to some lucky collectors. As of today, Italy is the world’s only Country where the SDM SMG9 short-barrel rifle is available, and has been able to secure a test sample for a global premiere!

I highly recommend our readers click through and read the whole thing, as Pierangelo’s article contains far, far more information than what I have reproduced here.

Closed-bolt 9mm submachine guns are making a modest resurgence as law enforcement offices seek less expensive weapons to meet their needs in a time of shrinking budgets. The 9mm Luger is a good caliber to meet this need, as it offers inexpensive practice ammunition, as well as available subsonic and JHP ammunition. The SMG9 is the export variant of the CS/LS-5 9mm SMG, which has the unique capability to fire nonlethal rubber 9mm rounds in addition to regular lethal 9mm ammunition.

The SMG9 appears to use a straight blowback mechanism, but it also features a gas system, the purpose of which is apparently to add power for the nonlethal ammunition.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • John

    Interesting. It has rails, which already puts it over the official MP5.

    • Esh325

      Rails have been available for the mp5 for years

      • JumpIf NotZero

        As an MP5 owner, meh. There really aren’t a ton of great options. There are a ton that suck, and almost all ruin the look and feel of the gun.

        • Esh325

          They haven’t made an integral flattop upper for the mp5?

          • Chris22lr

            They (HK) have. It’s called UMP-9. And it’s even made from lightweight polymer!

          • Giolli Joker

            And it’s a completely different gun.

  • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

    Don’t know how reliable or good overall this is, but it’s good to see somethng new.

  • I’d like to see a sub $600 9mm carbine other than the HiPoint and KelTec. Wonder if the CZ will ever be able to have rifle lenght barrels shipped over here?

    • Kivaari

      Then a 16″ version would be as ugly as long barreled HKs and Uzis. I did 2 HK94 SBRs, a standard Uzi and a Mini-Uzi. Once shortened, they actually became excellent carbines for police use.

    • nobody

      If you look you can sometimes find Beretta CX4s right at or slightly over $600.

  • whodywei

    The operation of type 79SMG re-packaged into type 03 rifle.

    • Wetcoaster

      I don’t think so. The Type 79 is a gas piston rotary bolt instead of unlocked blowback, isn’t it?

      • whodywei

        SMG9 is a gas piston gun, the pictures on the second page show AK style bolt group and gas valve.

        • SMG9 is blowback, apparently with an ancillary gas system to give reliable functioning with less lethal ammo. I’ve seen no evidence of a locking system.

          • The SMG9 has a fixed bolt head (non-rotating) and uses a gas system. The CS/LS5 submachinegun (select-fire/full-auto version of the design) is a purely gas-operated SMG, with an adjustable gas system that allows the use of any kind of 9mm ammunition — from less-lethal down to subsonic for suppressors and up to DAP-92 armor-piercing — and allows the use of muzzle-mounted riot control launcher.

            It honestly baffles me why they’d retain the (albeit apparently simplified, in that it doesn’t seem to be adjustable) gas system for the civilian-grade variant which could be a pure blowback-operation. I suppose it just was not worth the hassle (and possibly the increased costs) to redesign the system when it had to be manufactured through the same machineries and at the same plants.

          • Pierangolo, thank you for the additional detail. I admit, it was extremely difficult to find any extra information about either the SMG9 or the CS/LS5 here in the Anglosphere. Whatever you have to offer beyond what you’ve said in the comments and in your article is more than welcome!

          • No problem. That’s why ALL4SHOOTERS is in four different languages to begin with!

        • Wetcoaster

          Ahhh, I didn’t see the article. Just went by the comment on it being a blowback

  • Lance

    China has copied the UMP-9 YAWN!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Gunz

      That may be the cae, but if we could ever buy a semi auto version, it’ll probably be half the price of an HK. At least that’s what I’m hoping for when I read articles like this!

    • Well, it’s not a UMP clone. It’s more like a blowback AK.

    • Friend of Tibet

      Well in that case M16 is a shameless rip off from AK47 because clearly both use magazines…..

    • bridgebuilder78

      Jesus Lance, you haven’t added a single brain cell in the some 7+ years you’ve been visiting this blog. Sometimes I really wish for that eugenics program.

  • woll3

    Looking at it, it seems like a tacticool 9mm STG44 with a little bit of FAL.

  • Esh325

    I don’t imagine it does anything special compared to the many other 9mm smgs, but I imagine it’s price point will be the point that stands out.

    • Compared to many other 9mm SMGs? Not actually. Let’s say: it does the exact same thing you’d expect from a civilian SMG (or SBR, as you’d call it in the United States), so it’s perfect for home defense or shooting competition, and it’s cheaper than an EVO-3 S1.

      And the gas system is a novelty in the field of SMGs. Most of them are straight blowback-operated.

  • Kivaari

    It looks good. We wont see any here.

  • dshield55

    Since it’s distributed by the Italian firm and not by Norinco in it’s civilian version, we could one day see this in the US market. I’m not at all excited about it, but for the few collectors that pick it up for collections’ sake, it’ll be a nice addition to the gun room/vault of other firearms they never shoot.

    • The problem is not that it’s made (or not) by Norinco. Problem is that it’s made in China. The ban on centerfire, rifled-barrel firearms in the US covers ALL handguns, rifles and carbines made in the PRC. Only shotguns can be imported.

  • BillC

    “a private-owned company”
    Sure it is.

    • The distributor definitely is, and so the manufacturer claims to be. I’m however not in the liberty to say more.

    • Friend of Tibet

      China has millions of Private owned companies after 1980s’ capitalism introduction, Of course it also apples to the firearm industries. You info is stuck in 1960s sir….

  • noob

    The lockless blowback breech and ancillary gas system is interesting and sounds very reliable. What kind of ejector does it have? fixed or plunger?

    I’d really love to see this in 16″ bbl semi auto. Maybe taking common pistol magazines like glock mags and/or m&p mags if possible.

    • Fixed ejector.

      • noob

        Thanks! That’s what I was hoping to hear.

        Interesting that means it will eject even if the bolt is moving at high speed, and it shouldn’t stove pipe.

        Will you try running it with really dirty ammo without cleaning for a long time and see what it takes to jam it?

        • “Real dirt” ammo is both not easy AND extremely easy to find in Italy, but it can be arranged. As far as “without cleaning for a long time”, it will be quite the effort for me — because I would have to fight my complusion to thoroughly clean all my firearms after each use! — but I’ll definitely give it a try!

          • noob

            Much appreciated 🙂 thank you for your dedication in the search for knowledge! hope that the test is safe and informative.

  • Flattered by the attention. As a side note: I own the gun, so if you will, I’m capable to provide further information.

    • Gatman

      Looks from your article that the safety works exactly the opposite of an AR safety, down for safe, up for fire. Is this correct?

  • Gatman

    Wait, what? You say frontwards for safe, yet there’s an F (as in for fire, I assume) in front and an S (Safe?) up top. Safety pointed forward for fire and upward for safe makes sense ergonomically, but then the markings are wrong. Am I missing something here?

    • My bad. It happens when posting by night and neglecting sleep.

      The selector works as in the picture.

  • A handy equipment for our police for their everyday uses. Certainly cheaper because it is a US production. But it should be manufactured in China to be even cheaper, don’t you think? Or is it because of some political problem? I don’t know, but I trust the government completely in handling this matter. This is a good news for us.

    • It *IS* manufactured in China.

      It is not available on the U.S. civilian market because currently there is a ban on the import of all Chinese-made handguns, rifles, and carbines manufactured in China. The only Chinese-made firearms that can currently be imported in the United States are shotguns.

      Even without the ban, it would be extremely difficult to see it coming stateside, though.
      First of all, it sports a sidefolding stock, which makes it a short-barrel rifle by U.S. laws (here in Italy it is available to civilians as a pistol due to the proportions between the overall length and the barrel length).
      But even if it was sold in a pistol configuration (eg. stockless, like the CZ Scorpion EVO-3 S1 is in the U.S.), it’d probably fall within a plethora of other restrictions, such as the 1968 GCA or the 922(r) regulations.