Carlo-style submachine gun found after attack on Israeli car in January, 2017

In many places around the world where firearms are very difficult to obtain legally, small shops manufacture simple submachine guns for the black market. They are common in Brazil, Israel, the Philippines, and increasingly in AustraliaCanada, and even here in the United States, where submachine guns are highly regulated. In Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces have turned their attention from the private owners of black market guns to the small shops that produce them.
The crackdown started in 2016. From timesofisrael.com:

Save for members of the Palestinian security services, it is illegal for Palestinians to own guns of any kind. In its crackdown, the army has focused on the sources of weapons — manufacturing workshops and gun dealers, instead of individual owners.

To that end, in the first quarter of 2017 the army shuttered 20 suspected gun-making workshops and seized about 150 guns, putting it on track to far surpass its numbers from last year. In 2016, the army closed 44 workshops and confiscated approximately 450 weapons.

“In 2015, we didn’t close a single workshop and we seized 170 weapons that entire year,” the officer said.

Not much equipment is needed to make simple submachine guns. It can be done with a hacksaw and a few files. A decent machine shop, such as the one shown above (image from idfblog.com) makes the manufacture much easier.

Most of the magazines used for Carlo submachine guns appear to be either UZI magazines or converted AR15/M16 magazines. The case heads of the 9X19 and the 5.56 X 45 rounds are fairly close. A 9 X 19 case base is .394 inches in diameter, the 5.56 X 45 base is .378 inches.

I expect 3D-printed magazines to appear shortly. Their lifespan of a few hundred rounds would be sufficient for black market use; their functionality has already been demonstrated.

Prices for low end Carlo small shop manufactured submachine guns have reportedly risen from about $415 to $1,900 in the last year. In the West Bank economy, that is two weeks to two months wages, on average. The low end guns are notoriously inaccurate and unreliable. The barrels are generally smooth-bore, so the bullets tumble almost immediately. The effective range is likely about 10 meters.  The Times reports that this is not much of a detriment. From timesofisrael.com:

For most owners of Carlos, this is not much of an issue. The gun is not meant to be used for hunting, where its inaccuracy would be a significant problem or in operational situations where a malfunction could be catastrophic. These kinds of guns are instead used for things like home protection, petty crime and celebratory gunfire at weddings.

The problem is when these guns end up in the hands of those who want to carry out terror attacks, as they increasingly have in the past two years, the officer said.

Apparently, illegal guns are quite common among Israeli Arabs. From jpost.com:

According to 2015 police figures, 59 percent of murders in the country take place in the Arab sector even though Arab-Israelis only make up 21% of the population. While the country’s Arab sector has long been saturated with illegal firearms, the issue of unlicensed guns reached a new level of national attention when Nashat Milhem went on a shooting spree in central Tel Aviv last January.

Guns are a very simple technology that has been around for hundreds of years. As has been shown time and again, it’s impossible to stop their manufacture when metals are readily available, no matter how many prohibitions may be on the books.

Ammunition is a separate problem, but that can be overcome as well. Criminals and terrorists don’t need large amounts. The cartridge box in the top picture appears to be from the Israeli Defense Forces.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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11 Responses to IDF Push to Stop Illegal Gun Manufacture on West Bank

  1. I remember after building my first semi-auto sten, how remarkably, it’s much easier to manufacture a full-auto gun than a semi-auto in a amateur shop, and how simple and easy to make tube-style subguns are to create.

  2. “celebratory gunfire at weddings”
    Make sure you point it straight up you idiots – it should be yourselves who need to be the tragic statistics.

  3. When it says that it is illegal for Palestinians to have firearms, does that mean in Palestinian controlled territory or Israeli? If the former, why would Israel be enforcing that; if the latter, I’m surprised the Israelis would be supportive of disarming based on ethnicity, given certain European events, even in light of terrorist attacks.

    Also, I’m guessing the Israeli Arabs have laws and policies that make acquisition of a firearm difficult. As a result, it is the criminals who most often have firearms. And as a result, the area’s where they live tend to have high homicide rates. Somehow, that sounds so familiar.

  4. You can’t stop the signal, Mal.

    Israel is a small, very militarized country with a very good intel branch and they can’t stamp out guns they don’t approve of.

    How does a country like the US expect to do it?

    • They do not really have any intention of stopping criminals from having guns. What they really want to do is stamp out the gun culture.

      I forget who said it: “Guns are the gateway drug to Freedom”.

      Owning firearms legally, and knowing that you have a right to have and use them to defend yourself and your society, is a very strong force.

      • You are absolutely spot on. The intent is to stump out any self-defense culture, with and without guns, unless authorized by the State and in the service of the State. The laws in Israel are such that when attacked, any self-defense, including fists, can and often is considered a criminal act. In the service of the State, it is a different matter. Such are the inevitable results of socialism.

  5. @Dean, you should clarify some distinctions between “Palestinians” and “Palestinian/Arab-Israelis”. I can see that you know the difference and their implications but I guaranty you that 95% of the audience here does not.

    “Palestinians”, the people that Dean describes as being disallowed from owning any type of gun unless they are in their security service, are non-citizens of Israel. They are the people in the West Bank and Gaza, territories which were occupied in 1967. Specifically he’s talking about the people in the West Bank because Israel doesn’t go into Gaza currently, they are in a tense standoff with its Islamist militant political faction. The illegal gun factories would largely in the West Bank.

    “Arab/Palestinian-Israelis” are Israeli citizens of Palestinian ethnicity. In theory they are equal under the law with Jewish Israelis, and are allowed access to guns under all the same laws. In practice, the conditions under which Israelis are granted gun permits don’t align for Arab-Israelis. For example, one of the largest classes of Israeli gun carriers are current and retired officers in the military, who are automatically allowed to concealed carry- Arabs serve in the military in extremely small numbers. Another large class of licensed Israeli gun carriers are people who live in West Bank settlements deemed to be of higher risk- Arabs don’t live in these settlements. It is amongst this population that Dean’s crime rate statistics apply. They are 21% of the Israeli citizenry but with proportionally higher crime rates.

  6. While visiting Israel we heard gunfire in an Arab village. Our guide assured us that it was ”fireworks” at a wedding. I figured it was ok to let the others believe the fireworks story. Don’t people understand that what goes up will come down? Granted, straight up and down won’t kill anyone,

  7. lol, the IDF perfected illegal gun and ammo making. If they had not, they would be a foot note in history.

    I am reminded of the ammo manufacturing they had under a laundry washing facility. imported certain brands of lipstick to get the brass tube that they would reform into cartridge cases. Great documentary on youtube about it.

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