IMBEL's Xodo pistols: a brief look at compact M1911 descendants

Ronaldo Olive
by Ronaldo Olive

In the Portuguese language, the noun “Xodó” is a popular expression to indicate one on whom we have a very special romantic crush or long-lasting love relationship. It’s no small wonder, then, that IMBEL – Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil has chosen it as the name of two of its dozen-or-so pistols currently available, models that have received a great deal of attention in the local market. More significant, by the way, is the fact that the Brazilian weapons manufacturer had never given any of its products a name, other than its usual — and a little confusing, in my opinion– system of caliber, model number (e.g. MD1, MD2, etc.), and suffix (LX, GC, TC, etc.) designations.

Product quality background of Brazil's IMBEL is exemplified by the vast exports of pistols marketed in the U.S. by Springfield Armory. This stainless steel .45 ACP M1911A1 is clearly marked "MADE IN BRAZIL - IMBEL". Alternative markings were "FI - BRAZIL".

A couple of years before its official creation in July, 1975, IMBEL already existed in the form of Brazilian Army’s Fábrica de Itajubá (Itajubá Factory), in Minas Gerais State, which was manufacturing the M973 pistol, a clone of the well-known M1911A1 , but chambered to 9x19mm and with a nine-round magazine capacity. This was supplied in large numbers to the Brazilian Army, Navy and Air Force, in addition to some LE agencies. Exports were immense, namely to the U.S., via-Springfield Armory. As time passed, the basic design was further modified so as to include other (.380 ACP, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W) chambering options, magazine capacities, actions (SA, DA, DAO), etc.

Chambered to 9x19mm, the first Xodo was the Pistola 9 SC MD1, cleared for production and sales in 2008.

The Xodó first appeared in 9x19mm as the Pistola 9 SC (Super Compact) MD1 (Model 1), Army-certified for production and sales on November 18, 2008, followed by the .40 SC MD2 in .40 S&W, similarly certified on July 23, 2010. Since the two available calibers are, regrettably, locally “restricted” for private civilian use, sales have been limited to law enforcement people and to Army-licensed CACs (Caçadores, Atiradores, Colecionadores, or Hunters, Sports Shooters, Collectors). Some local security agencies, such as Minas Gerais State’s Civil Police and Goiás State’s Penitentiary Administration, have also bough .40 S&W Xodós for (mostly concealed) carry by their agents. Both the MD1 (9x19mm) and the MD2 (.40 S&W) models are available with IMBEL’s optional ambidextrous ADC (Armador e Desarmador de Cão, Hammer Cocking and Decocking) System, which allows the gun to be safely carried with the hammer forward over a loaded chamber, ready to use.

An IMBEL .40 SC MD2 pistol in the standard factory all-black finish. The larger-caliber model is the best-selling of the two Xodos, including to local LE and Penitentiary agencies.
This particular .40 S&W Xodo acquired from IMBEL by a local CAC (Hunter, Sports Shooter, Collector) was given a smart two-color finish. Gun's compactness is evident in photo.
The same gun in its factory case, as delivered with three 12-round magazines. Note filled-in foam compartments originally sized to larger IMBEL models.
A field-stripped IMBEL Xodo pistol, with inset showing the dual recoil spring assembly. Bull barrel is cold-forged and adequately ramped to deal with varied ammo types.


Caliber, 9x19mm; capacity, 12/17-round magazines; barrel length, 80.5mm (6 grooves RH, 1:254mm pitch); overall length, 173mm; height, 124mm; width, 38mm; sight radius, 124mm; weight with full magazine, 1.2/1.3kg.


Caliber, .40 S&W; capacity, 12/17-round magazines; barrel length, 85.5mm (6 grooves RH, 1:406mm pitch); overall length, 177mm; height, 124mm; width, 38mm; sight radius, 128mm; weight with full magazine, 1.26/1.33kg.

Yours truly giving a .40 S&W SC MD1 pistol a try at IMBEL's Fabrica de Itajuba range. Were I not a plain Brazilian with no access to legally owning a "restricted" caliber weapon, this would be my 24/7 carry gun!
A family-reunion photo of some current IMBEL .40 S&W pistols: 1) .40 GC MD4 (DAO); 2) .40 TC MD6 (polymer frame); 3) .40 GC MD2 (steel frame); 4) .40 SC MD2 (the Xodo featured here); 5) .40 SC MD6 (Xodo with polymer frame); 6) .40 GC MD6 (polymer frame); and 7) .40 GC MD7 LX (steel frame).

Higher-res photos here:

Ronaldo Olive
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.

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  • Mazkact Mazkact on Apr 12, 2018

    Great stuff Ronaldo,thanks. Imbels are great but “Springfield” the oldest “name” in US firearms is disingenuous at best in their marketing. I like Croatian and Brazilian firearms but you know there are lots of idiots who own certain “ Springfield’s “ and swear they only buy US made firearms 😉

  • Colonel K Colonel K on Apr 14, 2018

    Neat pistol, but 45 ounces loaded, sheesh!