SMGs and carbines in Military and the Use in Brazil

SMGs and carbines in Military and the Use in Brazil

ABOVE: The .40 S&W Taurus CTT40C is the semi-auto-only version of the SMT40 subgun, and has entered service with PMERJ–Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State Military Police). Photo shows the gun being introduced to new operators by COE–Comando de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Command) instructors.

Although submachine guns have traditionally – and extensively — found their way into the inventories of the world’s armed forces, their acceptance by the LE community has not been so wide, mainly when one looks at the United States, for example. Sure, their use by the U.S. military — mainly in WWII, Korea and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam — was very substantial indeed, but this did not mirror when police departments were concerned. A different picture, however, presents itself when European and Latin American countries are examined. In the latter group, Brazil will be brought to attention here.

Subguns began to show up locally in the hands of Brazilian police agencies around the late 1920s and the early 1930s mainly in the shape of German-made Bergmann MP.28s, both in 9×19 mm and 7.63×25 mm Mauser calibers. The thirties also witnessed relatively large purchases by different LE departments of 7.63×25 mm Mauser Schnellfeur (Rapid Fire) pistols, the select-fire version of the all-time popular C96 “Broomhandle.” One of them was PMDF (Polícia Militar do Distrito Federal, Federal District Military Police), about 500 examples being received.


To a certain extent, the Mauser was also used, with obvious limitations, in the SMG role, since its removable wooden holster could be attached to the pistol grip to act as a shoulder stock and thus give it a certain degree of stability in full-auto fire. However, its high cyclic rate of fire (850-900 rounds per minute, or so) meant that the usual 10-round magazine was emptied in slightly over one second, and controllability was all but non-existent due to the gun’s light weight (1.8 kg, stock attached). Locally called the PASAM (Pistola Automática e Semi-Automática Mauser, Mauser Automatic and Semi-Automatic Pistol), the Schnellfeur was still able to remain in service for decades.

In 1970-71, a palliative step was given by what was then PMERJ (Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro State Military police) by asking a local gunsmith, Spanish-born Jener Daumau Arroyo who had reportedly served with the British Army in World War II, to modify a number of the weapons to improve their handling characteristics. The first modified model (Mod. 1), of which 101 were adapted, received a metal frame extension welded to the magazine housing, and was fitted with an all-metal forward grip well ahead of the gun, under the muzzle. The original “Broomhandle” grip was retained, and so the characteristic wooden holster/stock could be attached to it. A second modification (Mod.2), involving 89 pistols, featured a similar frame extension, but the forward grip was of a different shape and had wooden panels. The rear grip was redesigned to a longer and flatter profile, a 320 mm-long fixed, thin tubular metal stock being permanently attached to the rear of the frame. In both models, of course, the barrel was left free so as to enable it to do its short-recoil job during firing. For the record, 295 PSAMs were left in the original Mauser configuration, and, surprisingly, all three variants were a common view in Rio’s streets well into the 1980s. All the guns supplied to Brazil had manufacturing numbers in the 80,000 range, meaning later production examples (the “Schnellfeuer” had its own sequential serial numbers).

Shown together in this photo are (top to bottom) 7.63x25 mm Mauser Schnellfeur selective-fire pistols used by PMERJ (Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police) into the 1980s: original gun (minus holster/stock), Modification 1 variant (wooden holster/stock attached), and Modification 2 (fixed metal stock). Unlike the original 10-round stripper-clip-fed C96 model, these guns used detachable 10-round magazines (20-round units were also available, but not supplied for the Brazilian guns).

Following WWII, when a Brazilian Expeditionary Force fought alongside THE U.S. 5th Army in the Italian front, the .45ACP M3/M3A1 Grease Gun and various Thompson models were the standard Army submachine guns.

With additional examples going to the Brazilian Navy (Marines, mostly) and Air Force (Air Base Security duties). Although some of these did eventually find their way to law enforcement hands, no major subgun purchases were recorded in post war years other than for a batch of .45ACP H&R Reising M50s for Rio de Janeiro’s Civil Police. These remained in service until the mid-1990s.

The Local INA

A major step in the local manufacture of SMGs took place in the early 1950s, when São Paulo-based INA – Indústria Nacional de Armas S/A started manufacturing its .45ACP M.B.50 and M953 submachine guns, somewhat redesigned variants of the 9×19 mm Madsen Model 1946. It had so happened that a Brazilian Army officer, Plinio Paes Barreto Cardoso, who was working at the Madsen factory when German forces invaded Denmark in WWII, managed to escape the country carrying most design plans for the gun, and their later safe return to that company was compensated with a free license to make the weapon in Brazil. The chambering change was a result of the .45ACP being the standard Brazilian Army pistol/subgun round at the time. Unlike the original Madsen M1956, which had a button-shaped cocking piece on top of the receiver (making it more ambidextrous in nature), the INA had it moved to the right side in the shape of a hook-type.

This Rio de Janeiro military policeman was photographed in September 1980 carrying a Modification 2 PASAM hanging from his shoulder. A closer examination will show that the gun’s hammer is in the half-cock (safety) position.

M.B.50s (short magazine housing) and M953s (longer housing) remained in service for about two decades with the Brazilian Army and Navy (the Air Force never officially adopted the type), plus a number of state police organizations for some more time. In the early-to-mid-1980s, however, State-owned IMBEL – Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil, at its Fábrica de Itajubá facilities, in Minas Gerais State, came out with a number of INA upgrades for the 9x19mm caliber round, which had become a local military standard in the early 1970s, with additional modifications such as a muzzle compensator, extended metal stock, and selective-fire option (the original Madsens/INAs were full-auto-only jobs). Modified guns were eventually supplied to different internal security agencies, such as Rio de Janeiro State’s Military and Civil Police. For the record, the latter agency was a long-time user of the German 9x19mm Walther MPK.

Taurus enters the niche

The previously mentioned move of the Brazilian military and LE community from the post-WWII era .45ACP round to the 9×19 mm caliber was implemented with the corresponding adoption of the Beretta M12 submachine gun and the Model 92 pistol by the Brazilian Army and Navy in the early 1970s. These guns were initially license-manufactured by a São Paulo-based subsidiary of the Italian concern, Indústria e Comércio Beretta S.A., but this was acquired in 1980 by Forjas Taurus, which took over production of both types, the subgun becoming the MT-12 (and MT-12A, MT-12AD, for later, improved variants), while the pistol was redesignated the PT-92, and subsequent variants are produced to this day. Curiously enough, Taurus had earlier (mid-to-late 1970′s) played around with a somewhat modified Smith & Wesson Model 76 (itself a clone of the Swedish Carl Gustav M/45), but it did not advance past one or two handmade tool room prototypes.

Photo shows evident family traces common to these Taurus guns photographed late in 2011 (from left to right): 9x19 mm CT9 G2 carbine, .40 S&W SMT40 submachine gun, 5.56x45 mm CT556 semi-auto carbine and another 9x19 mm CT9 G2. The in-house 5.56x45 mm weapon development program was eventually discontinued.

In the 1990s, Taurus signed a cooperation agreement with Chile’s state-owned FAMAE–Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército—for a joint manufacturing program for the MT-9 (9×19 mm) and MT-40 (.40S&W) submachine guns, directly derived from that manufacturer’s SAF (SubAmetralladoraFamae), a blowback-operated selective-fire gun broadly based on the SIG SG540 rifle. In fact, only the barrels were made in Brazil, where final assembly was carried out. Sales of the MT-40s were limited to a number of State LE agencies (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro included) plus the Federal Highway Police. The FAMAE/Taurus deal also included the local manufacture of two types of semi-automatic carbines, the .30M1 CT-30 and the .40 S&W CT-40, both having achieved some sales in Brazil.

However, the Chilean-origin guns were merely a stop-gap measure while Taurus took the task of, at long-last, designing, developing and certifying for production a real in-house SMG. Initial design work took place in 2009-2010, and intense trials with different prototypes led to a final configuration definition in 2011. Designated the SMT (from SubMetralhadoraTaurus), its official announcement took place in April of that year during the LAAD Security and Defense Show in Rio de Janeiro. A short time later, a semi-auto-only variant with a 16 inch barrel and a fixed thumbhole stock required by U.S. regulations, the CTG29 (alternatively called the CT9 G2) in 9×19 mm, began to reach the American commercial market.

The new gun was offered to the Brazilian LE market primarily in .40 S&W, a local police preference, both as a selective-fire submachine gun (designation SMT40) and as a semi-auto carbine (CTT40C), and a number of orders followed. For the military and in the 9×19 mm caliber, the gun was offered to and ordered by the Brazilian Army as the SMT9, the major distinguishing feature being that the “nine” uses a curved magazine, and the “ten” a straight one. The subguns are also available in a compact version (short barrel, no shoulder stock) as the SMT40C and SMT9C. For the record, many of the SMT components (lower receiver, mainly) were briefly used by Taurus when the company was developing its CT556 5.56×45 mm carbine in 2010-12, but this did not progress further from the prototype stage.

The Taurus SMT9 has entered service with some Brazilian Army units, this being the case of Rio de Janeiro-based Brigada de Infantaria Paraquedista (Parachute Infantry Brigade). The curved 30-round magazine is a distinguishing feature of the 9x19 mm gun.

After the already-mentioned use of the Beretta M12/Taurus MT-12 by the Brazilian military, other foreign-made SMG types have found their way to Brazil along the years. The Heckler & Koch MP5 family (MP5A, MP5SD, MP5K) has been a clear weapon-of-choice of Army and Navy Special Operations units for a long time, and used by the Departamento de Polícia Federal (Federal Police Department), including the MP5K-PDW variant. Here and there, other models have show up in military hands. After having briefly used the very compact, U.S.-made .45 ACP MAC-10 and the 9×19 mm Cobray M-11, Brazilian Navy’s crack GRUMEC (Grupamento de Mergulhadores de Combate, Combat Divers Group), adopted the Israeli Mini-Uzi in the early-1990s, and this has remained in service since then; this type also being still in use by the local Marines’ Tonelero Battalion, the SpecOps outfit.

Other Carbines and SMGs in Use

The latest additions to the Brazilian Army submachine gun armory, although in a not-too-widespread scale, have been the Taurus SMT9 (SpecOps detachments of the Brigada de Infantaria Paraquedista, Airborne Infantry Brigade) and the German-made Heckler & Koch UMP (1 Batalhão de Forças Especiais, 1st Special Forces Battalion), the latter being fitted with sound suppressors, EOTech sights, vertical foregrips, etc.

As far as semi-auto carbines are concerned, mention should be made of a batch of .30 M1 Carbine IMI Magals in use by the Pará State Military Police since 2001­—an unusual weapon.

The all-black Taurus-made MT-12A is seen here in current use with a Brazilian Air Force Police trooper, the gun featuring the later-added single rotating fire selector visible above the pistol grip.

This 16 inch barrel .40 S&W CT40 is shown configured for a possible U.S. LE use, since it uses the foldable SMG stock and not the thumbhole type required for civilian sales.

Following an agreement with Chile’s state-owned FAMAE company, Forjas Taurus carried out local production (barrel manufacture and final assembly) of the .40 S&W MT-40 submachine gun, which was delivered to a number of LE agencies. The example shown is in the hands of a Rio de Janeiro Military Police officer.