Hello and welcome back to The Rimfire Report! In this weekly series, we discover, discuss, review, and research the various firearms, ammunition, and history of the rimfire firearm world. Today we’re taking a look at the Mexican made Trejo Model 1 Machine Pistol. This rimfire machine pistol is widely known as the world’s smallest full-auto rimfire firearm. So why was it made and what are some of its features? Let’s find out what the “Tipo-Ráfaga” was all about.
The Rimfire Report: Trejo Model 1 Machine Pistol – The World’s Smallest Full-Auto Rimfire
The Trejo Model 1 machine pistol was manufactured by a small family armory in Puebla, Mexico beginning in the 1950s until the company’s eventual folding in the early 1970s. The pistol was manufactured in large numbers with over 16,000 pistols being built in the 20 some odd years Trejo Arms was producing the three pistol variants (Model 1, Model 2, Model 3). Although most of the pistols produced were semi-auto only versions, the Trejo Model 1 select-fire version tends to overshadow its semi-auto brothers and sisters.
Founder of Trejo Arms – Gabriel Trejo was originally a blacksmith by trade but teamed up with his son Abraham to do “something out of the ordinary.” Trejo modeled the pistol after the venerated 1911, a massively popular pistol in the United States. The pistol’s operation has been said to be nearly identical to the M1911s operation but features a more aggressive grip angle.
Mexican law prohibited the ownership of full-auto centerfire firearms outside of the military. This, however, left a massive loophole for Gabriel Trejo and his son to manufacture something fun. It’s my personal belief that this pistol was literally designed for no other purpose but fun. This is indicated by its small magazine and apparent lack of practical application other than cheap, full-auto mag dumps.
Features and Operation Characteristics
The Trejo Model 1 came in both small (Model 1) and large (Model 2) frame sizes. The pistol was in fact not just a full-auto pistol but in fact a select-fire machine pistol capable of being used as a target pistol when not used in full-auto mode. In full-auto, the pistol had anywhere between a 1,300 and 1,400 round-per-minute rate of fire depending on the type of ammunition used. This meant that even with a full magazine that you’d be out of ammo within 0.4 seconds.
The smaller Model 1 only handled a scant 8-rounds of 22LR ammunition while the larger Model 2 was able to hold up to 11-rounds of 22LR. With the absurd rate of fire, this made the pistol useless for anything outside of recreational mag dumping. It is a shame that Trejo never made a larger magazine as I believe these might have caught on in the United States if that had been the case.
The blowback-operated gun shared a lot of design characteristics with the M1911 as we said before. The takedown process is basically the same as the M1911 with the only major difference being the select-fire components of the Model 1 pistol. The left-hand mounted safety was also slightly different and the pistol had no barrel locking system due to its blowback nature.
Trejo pistols featured several unique markings special to the company, one of which included an Apple roll mark on the left side of the slide. The apple is a reference to the town Zacatlán de las Manzanas (Zacatlán of the Apples, near Puebla), which is famous for its apples and apple cider. In addition, the pistol was marked as a “Tipo-Ráfaga” which translates to “select-fire type,” On the right-hand side of the pistol, the grip mounted fire selector had no marking for semi but was stamped with an “R” which stood for “ráfaga” which is the Spanish word for “burst.”
Migration, decline, and closure
Trejo Arms remained in business through the 1960s and some Model 1 pistols even made their way into colletors hands within the United States. Mass importation was not seen due to the $200 tax stamp imposed on Title II firearms put the cost of the Trejo Model 1 pistol to shame. Even so, the Trejo Arms company produced about 75 pistols per week with family and friends working at the shop. The Trejo’s were said to have taken great pride in their work.
Firearms continued to be bought locally as well as exported to Europe and the United States until the Gun Control Act of 1968. This effectively ended the importation of the Trejo Model 1 into the United States and thus, the pistols remain to this day relatively unknown to the United States population. Some copies of the Model 1 do show up in private sales and auctions every once and a while but they are so rare I wouldn’t count on finding one any time soon. However, if you do find one, the pistols are C&R eligible under Section IV: National Firearms Act 18 U.S.C., Chapter 44.
By 1971 the Mexican government stomped on the Mexican people’s private firearms ownership rights and the Republic of Mexico put into effect a Federal Arms Registry which was controlled by the Ministry of National Defense. This put a tight-grip around private firearms ownership as all of Mexico now had to purchase firearms through a single military-run firearms shop where you must be pre-approved to purchase any of the extremely limited types of firearm legal for purchase.
Trejo Arms was starving for business with no export potential and was hit with a government order to stop production. With this order, the shop closed up and the spare parts, machines, and guns were all sold off by 1972.
A New Hope
If you’re a Mexican citizen and looking for a Trejo pistol today you can actually find newly manufactured firearms. In 2010, Armas Trejo (Trejo Arms) reopened under the leadership of the grandsons of the original owners of Trejo. The new owners petitioned the government in Mexico to allow the shop to reopen and produce and sell limited numbers of the old designs at the military-run firearms shop. The shop now produces semi-auto versions of the Model 2 pistol with updated rubberized grips and a slightly reduced 10-round magazine capacity.
I hope you enjoyed exploring this rare, unique, and truly obscure rimfire machine pistol with me. Foreign arms are often overlooked by those of us in the American market and it just goes to show that there was a time that gun culture was vibrant in all parts of the world and not just the United States. Looking forward to your comments below and as always, thanks for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report.
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