FN 1922 Pistol Copies Produced in Illegal Gun Factory in Sussex, UK

    Ghost guns from across the pond

    Pictures released by the UK Crown Prosecution Service show the handguns produced in an illicit workshop shut down in a well-publicized raid on an industrial unit in Hailsham Sussex to be copies of the Browning FN 1922 7.65 (.32 ACP) self-loading pistol. This is quite an unusual choice and appears to be the result of the group having access to an original as a guide to copy. The FN 1922 was a longer barreled 8 round version of the FN 1910, the pistol famously used to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. Like most late 19th century and early 20th century automatic pistols it is a conventionally manufactured design suitable for production in small home workshops equipped with standard milling tools, copies of such pistols being produced in China during the Warlord Era of the early 20th century as well as in backyard workshops in countries such as India and Philippines today.

    After a cursory search of images of handguns recently seized in London, what appears to be one of the pistols can be seen in an article from the Daily Mail posted on Feb 2019. The craft produced versions appear to do away with sights and lack any sort of bluing. They do however appear to be the work of a skilled individual, in this case, Mark Kinman, 63 (Who later died while awaiting sentencing) along with Greg Akehurst, 29 and Kyle Wood, 30 who were charged with offenses related to the factory. 30 complete pistols were seized along with equipment to produce ammunition and component parts to produce 121 more pistols. Police was alerted to the factory which posed as a gearbox repair business and before entering had heard gunshots emanating from inside, presumably as the pistols were being test fired.

    Picture of the interior of the workshop:

    Milled frames/receivers.

    Completed FN 1922 pistol copy (NCA UK).

    Original Belgian made FN 1922.

    Black market guns in the UK can fetch huge profits and with guns being quite easy to make it is inevitable that many more illicit gun workshops will spring up to fulfill demand as has been the case in Australia.