Argentina’s “Sturmgewehr”: setting the record straight

    Back in 2011, TFP published a “reader” Ronaldo Olive contribution ( on CAM 1, the Argentine copy of the WWII German Sturmgewehr assault rifle granddad made in that South American country in the early 1950s. In the text, it was stated that the gun was chambered to the (then) Argentine standard 7.65x53mm Mauser cartridge, information that was passed to me when visiting FMAP-“DM” (Fábrica Militar de Armas Portátiles-“Domingo Matheu”), in Rosario, Santa Fé Province, in 1990.

    However, later thoughts and basic investigation on my part revealed that it had not been so: not only did the gun use the original 7.92x33mm round, but the ammo was also briefly manufactured in Argentina by F.M.C. “SL” – Fábrica Militar de Cartuchos “San Lorenzo” (San Lorenzo Military Factory of Cartridges), as detailed shown by the accompanying line drawing and photos of one of the actual rounds.

    Detailed drawing of the Argentine 7.92x33mm cartridge, as manufactured in the early 1950s by Fábrica Militar de Cartuchos “San Lorenzo”.

    A very rare surviving example of Argentina’s 7.92x33mm cartridge intended for use in the local CAM 1 assault rifle.

    The F.M.C.”S.L.” headstamp for the 7.92x33mm round shows 1953 as the year of manufacture.

    Further research on the theme has revealed that the German MP44/StG44 assault rifle somehow found its way to that South American country in 1947 or so, and that using a reverse-engineering process, personnel from CITEFA – Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de las Fuerzas Armadas (Armed Forces Institute for Scientific and Technical Research) in association with those of FMAP-“DM” came up with the CAM 1. An unrecorded number (small, for sure) of prototypes were eventually completed at the Rosario factory, but plans for a full-scale manufacturing program of the rifle gradually came to an end in about 1953-54. By the way, I’ve not found the actual meaning of the “CAM 1” designation.  “Carabina Automática Modelo 1” (Automatic Carbine Model 1)? Just guessing here…

    A CAM 1 prototype photographed by the author at FMAP-“DM” in February, 1990. Regrettably, no detailed (close-up) photos were taken to show markings, etc.

    This example of the Argentine “Sturmgewehr” is currently on display at the Museo de Armas de la Nación, in Buenos Aires. To all practical purposes, a faithful MP44/StG44 clone.

    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.