Underground Arms Watch – July 2020

    Skipping ahead a month we resume the Underground Arms Watch series of articles, our regular dive into the world of criminal manufacture and use of off-the-books firearms showing up around the world.

    Following the widely publicized Encrochat hack, a network of criminal armorers mostly operating out of Liverpool have supposedly been among those uncovered trading through the encrypted app according to a British tabloid. The Wish Special Glock switches appear to have also caused a stir as well.

    Criminals had assumed that the high tech EncroChat phones provided a messaging system that was beyond the reach of police and other agencies.

    Now specialist officers at the National Crime Agency have told The Observer newspaper that the EncroChat hack has revealed the growing power of Liverpool based gangs in the conversion and sale of firearms.

    Officers from the NCA’s National Firearms Threat Centre (NFTC) found that more than 70% of weapons examined led back to Liverpool and the north-west of England.

    Speaking to The Observer Rob Hickinbottom, lead on the NFTC, said: “Most of the cases have a very strong connection to the north-west.”

    Merseyside gun factories

    Mr Hickinbottom said that criminals were operating gun factories on Merseyside where low calibre weapons were being converted into fully automatic weapons.

    Matt Perfect, the firearms threat lead for the NCA, said that “resellers” were buying low-calibre Glock pistols bought for £135 in eastern Europe and converting into a 9mm weapon sold for up to £5,000.

    Mr Perfect said that EncroChat messages had revealed how the Czech-made Škorpion and Slovakian Grand Power now appeared to have replaced the Glock as the most coveted weapons amongst gangs in the area.

    Mr Hickinbottom said armourers were importing £3.50 plastic switches from China that could swiftly convert a Glock into an automatic firearm. Liverpool Echo

    Either a reactivated or converted blank Skorpion pistol. (Image: National Crime Agency)

    What appears to be a Zoraki 917 blank firing pistol fitted with a threaded barrel (Usually chambered in 380 ACP) and supplied with a suppressor. (Image: PA)


    Courtesy of Calibre Obscura, a curious locally craft made rifle seized by the Nigerian Army. It looks a bit like the Ingram Model 6 crossed with a Sturmgewehr.

    An incredibly interesting craft produced firearm captured by the Nigerian Army from claimed “Bandits” (Local armed groups).

    Seems to be simple blowback, feeding from AK magazines, AK-style mag release and T56 style FSB. Really quite cool.

    Underground Arms Watch - July Pt (1)

    Underground Arms Watch - July Pt (2)

    A familiar model of SMG regularly turning sporting various custom paint jobs, this time a Brexit edition:

    “On Saturday night (13/06), teams from the Tactical Force, the Military Police, using all their experience intensified their attention with tactical patrolling in the region known as, “Bonde do Meio”, which is in the Santo Cruz neighborhood, a region known for intense drug trafficking and shootings, arising from the fight to control traffic on the spot. Teams from the Tactical Force carried out searches and sweeps in a pasture area at the junction of the roads, Avenida Ademar Luiz Piana with Rua Clóvis Piana, and with the Police Dog “NILL”, who indicated two points in the pasture and after the searches of the Ninety-eight marijuana bushings, a 380-caliber submachine gun, unmarked and unnumbered in addition to ammunition were found and seized. The gun was loaded with six CBC ammunition, intact. No one was arrested in the action. However, the police managed to get another submachine gun out of circulation, as well as ammunition and almost a hundred pieces of marijuana.” (Nortenoticia)

    Another seized on the 20th last month:

    Earlier this month police in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina uncovered components for the manufacture of submachine guns.

    At around 2:30 pm on Sunday, July 5, a garrison of the Military Police was conducting rounds on 109 O Street in the locality Canto da Praia, in Itapema, when they spotted a black wooden box in the ravine, near Mirante do Encanto.

    The police stopped and when investigating, several objects were found for the preparation of a homemade weapon, a spyglass, six 9mm ammunition, two .44 ammunition, one .45 ammunition and twenty-three .762 ammunition, as well as two detonated capsules.

    A clandestine weapons workshop was also uncovered in an individual’s home by police in Orizona, Goias state on the 26th of June.

    An interesting one:

    On Saturday night (27), after information that an unauthorized funk dance was taking place in the Olaria neighborhood , military policemen continued to the place and seized a 12-gauge homemade weapon

    From Ottawa, Canada:

    Two Ottawa men, ages 18 and 20, were charged with the unauthorized manufacturing of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm, after Ottawa police executed a search warrant in Barrhaven on Saturday.

    The search by the guns and gangs unit at a Palmadeo Drive residence also netted information indicating how to make a machine pistol, a partially built pistol, and blank rounds used for testing. Police also discovered a makeshift machine shop in the garage of the residence. Ottowasun

    Incomplete DIY firearms seized by police in NSW Australia:

    Finally an example of a locally made pocket .22 revolver which was seized last month in Quezon City, Philippines. The revolver is of a break top design and likely manufactured in the 1960s when local designs with this latching style were very common.

    Image: National Capital Region Police Office