Handguns, by Pakistani manufacturing standards

    Due to a previous post on small arms development in the Federally Administered Tribal Region of Peshawar, in Pakistan, TFB received some excellent first hand knowledge of firearms standards in Pakistan, from a Pakistani firearms enthusiast. One of the common assumptions about Pakistani firearms from our side of the market, especially ones from Peshawar are that they are all handmade contraptions of metal that will be lucky enough to last you several magazines safely, and maybe a couple hundred rounds operationally. Of course, this is no slight to the gunsmiths in Peshawar who are able to churn out many thousands of rounds of ammunition and hundreds of small arms from within mud walled huts by hand.

    According to our reader, there are three categories of informal handgun quality standards that Pakistani arms can abide by among the community that uses them. The first are the handmade variety, the Peshawar hand builds that can be sketchy at best. The second come from more modern manufacturing methods, while the third originate from ISO certified companies in Pakistan. End users of all of these are in fact a large firearm community in Pakistan where it is legal to own certain types of small arms, provided a large number of paperwork hoops are jumped through. From our guy on the ground-

    There are certainly a large number of firearms owners in Pakistan, A great majority of who go through the legal procedure of procuring handguns and sporting arms, Full auto rifles are also legal to own its just that there is a lot of paperwork required for that and it helps if you happen to know people in the government. The public sector that legally own firearms include everyone from sportsmen, hunters and firearms enthusiasts if we are talking about the upper and middle tier of society that can afford imported firearms too. The ones who do not have the finances to but imported firearms and shoot only a couple dozen rounds a year usually buy handguns or shotguns for self defense and crop protection. The black market certainly does exist too, in the federally administered tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Anything goes in terms of firearms so I wouldn’t really call that a black market. But once those firearms be they full auto or unmarked guns come into the area that is under Pakistani law then I would consider them black market firearms, as I mentioned full autos can be legally owned but a good number of people don’t want to go through the correct way and to possess them illegally.

    Also it does not help when the government puts a hold on the issuance of licenses, as that is when the dealers in the smaller towns start selling things under the table. Since the 2015 Peshawar Army Public School attack, the issuance of licenses has been put on hold, so I can imagine some people buying stuff under the table as we speak.
    The legal way to own a gun isn’t very lengthy and becomes, even more fluid if you have contacts in the firearms license issuing ┬ádepartment called NADRA, those are the guys you apply to if you want a Non Prohibited Bore firearm which can be anything up to 45 caliber from what I know, It cant be full auto though. If you want to legally own a Full auto then you have to apply to the Ministry of Interior for a license.

    I assume it is much easier for the security and body guard companies to get through. As for the illegal black market, maybe some of the more standard criminals such as the drug dealers and gangs have these handguns “fall” into their hands, but as for the Pakistani Taliban, their weapon of choice has always been the AKMs and assorted Kalashnikov and Soviet Bloc weaponry so prevalent in the region, copied or original.

    Many of them [designs and handguns] are indeed Turkish, however a greater number of them are made in the Khyber Pukhtun Khua province of Pakistan being sold by some dishonest sellers claiming to be “made in turkey”. You may have noticed some of the more recent replica firearms out of that area have “Made AS Italy” on them, guess they have gotten their English corrected and now write “in” instead of “as”. The more honest dealers do let the customers know its a replica.

    The firearms consumer market in Pakistan can be put into 3 major categories based on manufacturing. The largest consumer base being the cheap knockoffs that are poorly made and serve primarily as a gun to make the owner feel a little safe from external threats, these are not shot much. The 2nd category are locally made firearms of better quality made by more established companies, and at times these can also include some Norinco made products. My driver bought, a locally made TT33 knock off of this category got it new from Rs 8000, roughly $80 the barrel life on these isn’t too great but they are reliable and won’t blow up your hand even after a couple thousand rounds. Then comes the 1st category, these ones are made by the reputable firearms companies such as ┬áPakistan Ordinance factories, Daudsons Armory, PHSADC, Peshawar Arms and some other companies around the country. Recently Pakistan Ordanance factories have started getting more involved in the public sector. Attaching pictures
    3rd Category, low quality hand guns. These usually look like this, the maker usually messes up while making them so they look all crazy out of shape. The trigger pull on these is horrendous
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    2nd category these are better made and mostly include TT33 [Tokorav] clones, Beretta clones, Stoger clones and other clones.
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    1st category and probably the safest ones made by ISO certified companies, Not including any Tokarev clones cause there are just too many.
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    Much Thanks to TFB reader Sam Hasan for the input on this post!

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]