Spoiler alert, this isn’t a good gun. It’s not a useful gun. Hell, it’s not even really that historic. The Cobray M11/9 could best be described as one of the most useless handguns in existence.
So how could it be considered an object of desire? Because despite its general uselessness, guns like it and the TEC/DC 9 series of handguns irritate the hell out of anti-gunners. They hate them because they’re ugly and scary looking which, to be honest, is the basis for most of their gun hate anyway.
The Cobray M11/9 was one Cobray’s more successful projects to boot. What I loved about Cobray is their tendency to more or less troll the ATF and to walk the legal line. Long before the Judge became a thing, Cobray produced .45/.410 derringers and Pepperboxes.
And these little things, too.
The Cobray Terminator was a shotgun that walked a legal line by being a shotgun under 26 inches with a barrel over 18 inches. It seemed to be legal because when it was ready to fire, it was 26 inches long. Cobray liked to push buttons and wasn’t shy about making cheap submachine guns before the Hughes Amendment.
The M11/9 came in both pistol and SMG variants. The pistol variants even came in open configurations for a short period that were easy to convert to full auto. However, the ATF was able to put the kibosh on that pretty quickly.
What’s in a Name?
MAC was never used in the official naming of these guns. It became attached through common parlance. The M-10 and M-11 were their proper names.
The M-10 was a .45 ACP variant, and the original M-11 was a .380 ACP SMG.
When Cobray purchased the rights to the MAC design, they developed an M-10 in .45 ACP, an M-11 in .380, which was produced as both a machine gun and pistol, an M11/9 in 9mm, and an M12 in .380 ACP.
M11/9 is the correct nomenclature for this handgun, but MAC 11 just sounds better in a lyric.
What Does It Do?
The original MAC series rode the line between being an SMG or a machine pistol. They were tiny for the time and designed to be used with a fat suppressor.
The MAC-10 was a super cheap, nearly disposable submachine gun that spat .45 ACP at a rate of 1,090 rounds per minute. It was advertised to the US Army, and some were purchased. The MAC-10 found itself in John Wayne’s hands in the film McQ and became quite popular in film and media.
In real life, sales sucked and MAC went bankrupt. Cobray bought the rights and produced several MAC pistols and submachine guns. The guns got a bad reputation from a few high profile uses by criminals. This includes original MAC-10s and Cobray copies.
The gun and its menacing appearance seemed to provoke ire from the anti-gunners because of those high profile incidents. The same with the TEC-9. However, what most non-gun folks don’t seem to understand that this is a terrible pistol. It mostly looks scary.
Why Does the M11/9 Kinda Suck?
First off, it’s massive, heavy, and unwieldy. It offers the same length of barrel as a 1911 with maybe a slightly longer sight radius. And it weighs almost four pounds.
You’d think that a four pound weight would help with recoil. The problem is it’s a blowback gun with a massive bolt.
That bolt travels rearward and causes a lot of muzzle flip and recoil.
This gun hasn’t proven to be that reliable with Zytel Cobray magazines. The ZMAGs from Shockwave Technologies do a great job of improving reliability, but still, you’re going to get jams more frequently than other guns. The gun has a small peep sight at the rear and an open square sight in front.
Both suck, and the front sight is a notch bent downward.
They’re very crude and ridiculous to use. This gun was designed with a stock in mind, so maybe in that capacity, it works better. But I doubt it.
The M11/9’s ergonomics suck, too. The grip is massive and uncomfortable in hand. The magazine release is a heel style, and reloads are quite slow. The trigger also slaps your finger quite badly.
There is often a piece of rubber tubing placed over the triggers on these guns to reduce the pain. The only ergonomic factor that’s great is the safety switch. It’s an AR-style safety that’s easy to manipulate with the trigger finger.
Why Would I Ever Own a Cobray M11/9?
Despite all of its drawbacks, the Cobray M11/9 is still fun to shoot. It’s just not very accurate.
Admittedly, if you want to turn money into noise, load up a 50-round stick magazine and go to town. Shoot it sideways gangster-style, fire from the hip, have fun with it. Plus, it seems to make the anti-gunners mad while you’re doing it, and that assures it a home in my gun collection.
I’ll keep it safe for now.