New Pistol Designs out of Libya
The demand for firearms in Libya has brought to light three handguns so far undocumented, at least in the English-speaking world. At least one of these (Handgun #1) is available in lethal-purpose form, although based upon a blank firing handgun and possibly also produced in that form. It is a sub-compact design, and appears to be a direct copy of a Turkish Atak Zoraki converted or redesigned to chamber lethal rounds. It shares a brand/model name with a second design, (Handgun #2) claimed to be Serbian and recently spotted by Armament Research Services (ARES) on ‘The Libyan Firearms Market’, a Libyan Facebook page involved in the sale of both blank-firing and lethal-purpose firearms. A source in Tripoli, who has previously purchased items from the proprietor, told ARES the transaction process was simple, with exchanges made in person and paid in cash after having seen the merchandise.
The shared name of these weapons, inscribed on the slide, is ‘TACTICAL-HULK PT11-PRO’, accompanied by the inscription ‘?????? ????NYATE’. This appears to use a combination of Cyrillic and Latin alphabet letters, and may be a poor attempt to approximate foreign markings. Handgun #2 appears to be visually similar to a blank firing model produced by Aral Weapons Ind. Co. of Turkey. It may be that the ‘TACTICAL-HULK’ range are based on different converted blank firing weapons.
Markings indicate the weapons are chambered for 7.65x17mmSR (.32 ACP), a rather weak handgun calibre, especially when fired from the short barrels seen in these models. The fit and finish does not seem much better than many of the blank firing weapons produced in Turkey, particularly on Handgun #3. The slide markings seen on Handguns #1 and #2 may indicate production in 2012. The presence of a serial number, printed on a metal plate and exposed through a cut-out in the frame, belies a relatively sophisticated and expensive manufacturing process, and likely indicates that the weapons are intended to be sold in a jurisdiction requiring externally visible serial numbering.
The relationship between the design of Handgun #1 and #2 is unclear, but given the existence of the Zoraki, it would seem to represent an evolution of that basic design, or an attempt by another to capitalize on the name and reputation of the Zoraki. The name ‘PT-11 PRO’ recalls Taurus or Kel-Tec, but neither version owes anything to either of those designs. This appropriation of legitimate firearm branding on dissimilar types is reminiscent of the products of illicit Croatian factories, though we have no evidence to confirm the nationality of these designs beyond Libyan source claims of Balkan origins. The weapons may equally be of Turkish origin.
The third pistol shares design cues with, and is apparently a full-size companion to Handgun #2. They both possess a chunky polymer frame styling, a distinctive grip texture, and the same characteristic circular designs on the dust-cover. Handgun 3 also has matching circular cut-outs on the slide itself, and an unusual control mounted on the left side dust-cover, likely a take-down lever. It was being offered for sale on The Libyan Firearms Market for 4,800 Libyan Dinars (LYD), or approximately $3,900 USD.
(Thanks to Alexander Diehl, N.R. Jenzen-Jones, Hassan Morajea, and Paul William for their input.)
This article is reproduced courtesy of Armament Research Services (ARES) – www.armamentresearch.com and was originally published February 19, 2014