Underground SMGs of The Early 1980s, By Ronaldo Olive

Following on our earlier article about improvised and homebuilt weapons, Brazilian gun writer Ronaldo Olive emails us this article he wrote for Harris Publications in the 1980s about some of the simple underground improvised submachine guns seized by Brazilian police during that time. The article is copied below, but for those who prefer, they can download a PDF version I created at this link.

underground_01 underground_02 underground_03 underground_04 underground_05 underground_06

Thanks, Ronaldo!

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 nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • HH

    I love stuff like this. Thanks for posting.

  • Anthony

    These articles are so interesting. They also give me a very strong sense of hope. I wonder how many people there are in the world that have the knowledge to make such things for themselves. Does anyone have any idea?

    • PK

      With access to the internet being what it is these days? Basically everyone.

  • Jeff Heeszel

    Probably made by RoyalNonesuch’s dad.

    • *Ba Dum Tsssssh*

      Now if we can just find his mom on Tinder~ ♡

  • Kelly Jackson

    I used to have the magazine that those scans are from, it had to be around 1992 or 1993.

    • Ronaldo Olive

      Yes, Kelly. Early 1990s (not 1980s…), maybe FULL AUTO magazine. Just found the separate pages in a file.

  • marketman

    For people who are living in countries where guns are illegal, how do they get the ammo to feed these things? Do they make it?

    • Wetcoaster

      I imagine that a lot of the ammo is either smuggled or LE/MIL ‘leakage’. You can cast lead bullets, but manufacturing smokeless powder and (especially) primers seem to be substantially more difficult (and dangerous) as the explosion in the Czech Republic reminded us last month