The Military Armament Corporation Model 10, officially abbreviated as "M10" or "M-10", and more commonly known as the MAC-10, is a compact, blowback operated machine pistol that was developed by Gordon B. Ingram in 1964. It is chambered in either .45 ACP or 9mm. A two-stage suppressor by Sionics was designed for the MAC-10, which not only abated the noise created, but made it easier to control on full automatic (although it also made the gun far less compact and concealable). For a decade, the semi automatic pistol version of the weapon was banned in the U.S. under the assault weapons ban enacted by Congress in 1994.
The M10 was built predominantly from steel stampings. A notched cocking handle protrudes from the top of the receiver, and by turning the handle 90° would lock the bolt, and act as an indicator the weapon is unable to fire. The M10 has a telescoping bolt, which wraps around the rear face of the barrel. This allows a more compact weapon and balances the weight of the weapon over the pistol grip, where the magazine is located. The M10 fires from an open bolt, and the light weight of the bolt results in a rapid rate of fire. In addition, this design incorporates a built in feed ramp as part of the trigger guard (a new concept at the time) and to save on cost the magazine was recycled from the M3 Grease Gun. The barrel is threaded to accept a suppressor, which worked by reducing the discharge's sound, without attempting to reduce the velocity of the bullet. This worked well with the .45 ACP versions, as most loads are subsonic already, as opposed to special, low-powered subsonic loads usually required for suppressed 9mm weapons. At the suggestion of the United States Army, the suppressor also acted as a foregrip to inhibit muzzle rise when fired. Ingram added a small bracket with a small strap beneath the muzzle to aid in controlling recoil during fully automatic fire. The original rate of fire for the M10 in .45 ACP is approximately 1090 rounds per minute. That of the 9mm is approximately 1250 rounds per minute, and that of the smaller MAC-11 in .380 ACP is 1380 rounds per minute.
Noting the weapon's poor precision, in the 1970s International Association of Police Chiefs weapons researcher David Steele described the MAC series as "fit only for combat in a phone booth".
The primary reason for the original M10 finding recognition was its revolutionary sound suppressor designed by Mitchell WerBell III of Sionics. This suppressor had a two-stage design, with the first stage being larger than the second. This uniquely shaped suppressor gave the MAC-10 a very distinctive look. It was also very quiet, to the point that the bolt could be heard cycling, along with the suppressed report of the weapon's discharge; however, only if subsonic rounds were used (standard .45 ACP rounds are subsonic). The suppressor when used with a Nomex cover created a place to hold the firearm with the secondary hand, making it easier to control. During the 1970s the United States placed restrictions on the export of suppressors, and a number of countries canceled their orders as the effectiveness of the MAC-10's suppressor was one of its main selling points. This was one factor that led to the bankruptcy of Military Armament Corporation, another being the company's failure to recognize the private market. The original Sionics suppressor is 11.44 inches in length, 2.13 inches in overall diameter, and weighs 1.20 pounds.
The term "MAC-10" is commonly used in unofficial parlance. Military Armament Corporation never used the nomenclature MAC-10 on any of its catalogs or sales literature, but because "MAC-10" became so frequently used by Title II dealers, gun writers, and collectors, it is used more frequently than "M10" to identify the gun.
While the original M10 was available chambered for either .45 ACP or 9mm, the M10 is part of a series of machine pistols, the others being: the MAC-11/ M-11A1, which is a scaled-down version of the M10 chambered in .380 ACP (9x17mm); and the M-11/9, which is a modified version of the M-11 with a longer receiver chambered in 9x19mm, later made by SWD (Sylvia and Wayne Daniel), Leinad and Vulcan Armament.
In the United States, machine guns are National Firearms Act items. As the Military Armament Corporation was in bankruptcy, a large number of incomplete sheet metal frame flats were given serial numbers and then bought by a new company, RPB Industries. Some of the previously completed guns which were already stamped with MAC, were then stamped with RPB on the reverse side, making it a "double stamp" gun.
RPB Industries made many open-bolt semi-automatic and sub-machine guns before the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) seized roughly 200 open bolt semi-autos during the drug wars of 1981. The BATFE insisted that all future semiautomatic firearms were to be manufactured with a closed-bolt design as the open-bolt semi-automatics were considered too easy to illegally convert to full automatic operation.
Wayne Daniel, a former RPB machine operator, purchased much of their remaining inventory and formed SWD, designing a new weapon which was more balanced, available either fully or semi-automatic with his new BATFE-approved closed bolt design.
There are several carbine versions of the M-11/9 and Cobray and SWD manufactured a smaller version chambered in .380 ACP as a semiautomatic pistol called the M-12.
Today, while the civilian manufacture, sale and possession of post-1986 select-fire MAC-10 and variants is prohibited, it is still legal to sell templates, tooling and manuals to complete such conversions. These items are typically marketed as being "post-sample" materials for use by Federal Firearm Licensees for manufacturing/distributing select-fire variants of the MAC-10 to law enforcement, military and overseas customers.
Lage Manufacturing makes a variant, called "MAX" uppers. The company is based in Chandler, Arizona. The "MAX" upper can reduce the original rate of fire to about 600 RPM (.45 ACP) and 700 RPM (9×19mm). The upper adds a picatinny optic rail, a side cocking charging handle, and a forend.
Lage Manufacturing is currently marketing a drop-in .22LR caliber conversion upper variant for the M11-A and Max-11.
Alliance Armament is making slowfire uppers that accept unmodified Suomi 36 round stick magazines, 50 round coffin mags, and 71 round drum magazines. They also produce a 7.62mm Tokarev PPSh-41 compatible conversion for the upper.
Besides Military Armament Corporation, MAC-10s and MAC-10 parts have been produced by RPB Industries as well as complete guns. Another company was Leatherwood Texas MAC, Cobray Company/SWD/Leinad, Jersey Arms Works, MasterPiece Arms, Section Five Firearms  and Vulcan (Velocity Arms, V-series).
The semiautomatic civilian pistol version of the MAC-10, which operates differently from its military counterpart, fell under the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. The ban enacted various requirements that defined an assault weapon. The MAC-10 was named directly in the ban, and it failed three of the requirements:
Additionally, the magazine capacity was 32 rounds. In response, Wayne Daniel redesigned the M-11 by eliminating the threaded barrel and creating a new magazine release that would only allow the firearm to accept a new 10-round magazines as the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban mandated. The new firearm was called the PM11/9.
The BXP is 9 mm submachine gun developed in the mid-1980s by the South African company Mechem (currently a division of Denel, formerly under ARMSCOR) and brought into production in 1984. Due to international arms embargoes of Apartheid South Africa, the country was forced to design and manufacture their own weapons. The weapon was intended for use by security forces. The manufacturing rights shifted from hand to hand several times during the years, passing from Mechem to Milkor Marketing and later to Truvelo Armoury, the current manufacturer (as for 2009).
The Cobra carbine is a semi-automatic firearm of Rhodesian origin manufactured during the Rhodesian Bush War Era as a self-defense weapon for farmers and is chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum round. The layout of this weapon is somewhat based on the Uzi submachine gun.
The Pistola Ametralladora Patria is a close copy of the MAC-10 and features a cooling jacket/barrel extension much like the South African BXP. It was developed by Major Luis Ricardo Dávila, of the Argentine Air Force, and protected by national Patent n° 220494/5/6/7 on 20/08/1980. It uses 9mm rounds for easy transportation, and can be operated in either hand. A similar earlier Argentine weapon based on the MAC-10 was also designed in 1977 by manufacturer Domingo Matheu, the Pistola Ametralladora MPA.
The Enarm SMG was a submachine gun of Brazilian origin based on the Uzi and MAC-10 weapons. It was chambered in the 9×19mm Parabellum round and also came with a foregrip. Although the weapon performed well in trials, it was discontinued due to financial reasons.
At the end of the 1970s, Section Five Firearms Ltd of Turnbridge Wells, Kent in the UK manufactured a MAC-10 variation using 9x19mm Uzi magazines and equipped with a classic folding or a special fixed polymer stock.
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