MA5 MK II: The Burmese Tatmadaw’s Production Glock Handgun

    Although not entering active service in large numbers, the Burmese state-operated defense armaments production wing, Defense Industries has been quietly working on what appears to be 9x19mm NATO Glock-pattern copy in the guise of a second generation variant without finger grooves and no light capable slide on the frame. Without more in-depth comparison it is difficult to say if the Burmese model is the dimensions of a full-size 17 or compact size 19 Glock variant. And as to whether these are being completely manufacured in Burma, just being assembled from possibly Chinese components, or are even being manufactured elsewhere but with Tatmadaw markings isn’t known.

    Defense Industries does have the ability to work with polymers as is evidenced by work done on the MA family of rifles and light machine guns. But to reverse-engineer a Glock handgun? Manufacturing has gotten better but on almost every major project the government has cooperated with or license-produced a small arms design from a foreign country. There has to have been some outside expert input with the Burmese Glock, but from where (China? Israel?) we don’t know.

     

    Information about the handgun is almost non-existent apart from a few posts on Chinese defense blogs discussing Burmese small arms (March 2017) and one of the Tatmadaw threads on Pakistan Defense Forums (Jan 2015). It is also listed on the Glock handgun Wikipedia page as in use by the “Myanmar Police Force Special Operations Task Force” and in the Wikiwand page on Burmese small arms and equipment as the “MA5 MK II. This nomenclature corresponds with markings that are found on the Burmese Glock copies as well. A point here must be made about the Government groups that are using it. Wikipedia mentions the Myanmar Police Force Special Operations Task Force (incorrect as this should be the “Special Task Force” when referring to the Law Enforcement response teams).

    This may indeed be the case, but for the time being we have little evidence to support that assertion. However on the flip side of the coin is the Myanmar Special Operations Task Force or SOTF as it reads on some of their patches. This force is a Burmese Army or Tatmadaw comprised one, that is mainly used either for PSD duties or frontline fighting. We do have several photographs and clips of the force using what is definitely an early variant Glock-patterned handgun with no light rail.

    Notice the MA5 MKII at low left with a failure to feed malfunction.

    Although not definitive, the handgun in the thigh holster of this SOTF operator does bear some resemblance to a Glock-pattern handgun.

    A note about the nomenclature here must be made, because the current Burmese service handgun, the Browning Hi-Power, is known as the MA5 within the Tatmadaw. That this new handgun is called the MKII might just designate another handgun available to procurement officers instead of a possible replacement for the venerable Hi-Power. Burma bought a number of them in the 1950s and 1960s, some on commercial contracts, others on official Army orders from FN, with the frames marked “BURMA ARMY”

    Miles

    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]


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