Underground Arms Watch – April 2021

    Underground Arms Watch returns with a brief glance at recently seized craft-produced arms by law enforcement around the globe.

    Spanish police have released details of a raid on an illegal manufacturing operation in Tenerife which was conducted last September. It appears mostly Glock pistols were being assembled, presumably using smuggled parts to combine with 3D printed frames. Parts of an FGC-9 are also seen present.

    “Spanish police have dismantled an illegal workshop that was using 3D printers to produce guns for a suspected far-right group.

    Pictures released on Sunday showed officers in Tenerife in the Canary Islands carrying out the joint operation with the Treasury Office.

    The operation took place on September 14 last year but remained secret by order of a judge until police were cleared to release the details on Sunday.

    The facility housed working 3D-printing equipment that could manufacture gun barrels in just two minutes, Spain’s National Police said in a statement.

    There were also manuals on terrorism, urban guerilla warfare and how to make explosives at home using a 3D printer, as well as white supremacist literature and a pistol holster bearing the insignia of the German army during the Second World War.

    A specialist team of dogs from the police’s TEDAX bomb squad sniffed out chemical substances that could be used to make explosives, the statement said.

    One man was arrested during the raid. A police report said the 3D printing of weapons is part of a new, emerging threat in illegal arms trafficking in Europe.” Euronews

    Subtitled Video

    In recent years it has been observed that some effort has been made on the part of illegal gun suppliers to professionally rebrand various models of Turkish-made replica blank firing pistols once adapted to fire real ammunition, usually being .32 or .380 ACP. Below is a Zoraki 917 sporting fake Glock engravings and new caliber designation which was seized by Merseyside Police in the UK.

    Photo: Merseyside Police

    Pistol dealers scam naive gun thugs after spotting quirk in Liverpool’s underworld

    With the majority of shootings in the region being carried out with handguns, Glock pistols have been identified as the ‘weapon of choice’ among Liverpool’s gun thugs.

    This has become so obvious to those distributing weapons that some suppliers are taking advantage of the desperation for guns made by the respected Austrian brand.

    Detectives have seized and recovered guns from across Merseyside that have been stamped with the Glock logo but which are in fact made by other firms.

    The most prominent trick has revolved around Zoraki blank firing pistols made in Eastern Europe.

    Once in the UK the blank firers are converted into potentially lethal weapons – then given the appearance of Glocks.

    This creates greater interest and allows dealers to mark up the price of the weapons.

    Those Zoraki pistols are still viable but are far less reliable than the handgun they are being marketed as because they were not built to fire bullets.

    Converted blank firing guns are a common feature in Merseyside gun crime, with some of the most notorious shootings in recent years carried out with such weapons.” Liverpool Echo

    Meanwhile across the pond, some criminals have sometimes taken the opposite approach.

    Photo: Catawba County Sheriff’s Office

    It appears copies of the FN1922 produced in an illegal workshop in Sussex, UK in 2019 are still turning up. Here’s one which was seized in Streatham, Greater London.

    Photo: Met Police


    In India, automatic .32 pistols in a similar vein continue to be seized from less-equipped workshops:

    Munger, Feb 22 : A joint team of the Special Task Force (STF) and police in Munger’s Jalkund Pahar area unearthed an illegal gun factory and seized a large number of weapons and semi-manufactured weapons, said police on Monday.

    The raid was conducted on Sunday evening after receiving information about the presence of the illegal factory. A large number of pistols, semi-manufactured pistols and weapon-making equipment were recovered, a police official said on Monday.

    He said a person named Karu Mandal was caught red handed from the factory.

    During the raid, 13 pistols, 28 magazines, 17 semi-made pistols, 7 drill machines, 8 bullets and a large amount of weaponry equipment was seized. Siasat


    Below are a number of improvised firearms seized this month by Brazilian Comando de Policiamento do Interior (CPI). CPIamazonas

    The most interesting appears to be a single-shot bolt action in an unknown caliber (likely .22).


    53kg of weed and a homemade submachine gun displayed by Brazilian PMCE:

    “An action by the Military Police of Ceará (PMCE), this afternoon, 16, resulted in the seizure of a 40-caliber submachine gun, 53,590 kilograms of marijuana, 398 grams of crack and 25 lime ammunition. 22. The offensive took place after the soldiers of the 1st Company of the 16th Military Police Battalion (16th BPM) received a complaint about a shipment of drugs at Parque Iracema, in Fortaleza / CE.

    Around 4 pm, after the information, promptly, the team went to the suspect property. During the action, no one was found. Upon entering the house, the agents found the aforementioned material. People were not able to say who would be the resident of the residence or the person responsible for the illicit acts.” PMCE

    A crude improvised SMG seized in Feb which appears to make use of a semi-auto trigger unit from a Paintball marker. The barrel and bolt are both made from brass bar and overall has close similarities to examples seized from ‘Santas workshop’ in Belo Horizonte in 2016.

    Photo: Rádio Muriaé


    Lastly some examples from South Africa:

    “SAPS located and arrested and charged suspects in KZN for “homemade” firearms. Criminals will always find a way to obtain firearms” @GUNFRIENDLY_SA