The “R9 Arms” Machine Pistol

By request of more than a few readers, I am doing a post on this – although there really isn’t much information I can contribute on the subject. These things got a lot of attention a few days ago when TFB ran a piece about them (which is where I snagged all the photos, BTW). The gun below is a machine pistol of a somewhat interesting type. What makes it unusual is that is was not actually made by the “R9 Arms Corp”, as there is no such company in the US. Instead, those slide markings are a decoy. Where this gun actually was made is anyone’s guess (I have heard Croatia and South Africa suggested, but nobody in public appears to have any evidence; just guesses).

"R9 Arms" machine pistol
“R9 Arms” machine pistol

One of these guns was recovered from a truck driver smuggling drugs into the Netherlands (back in 2012), and a bunch more have been recovered by police in Croatia. They appear to be an interesting hybrid – apparently pretty well made, and yet also entirely underground. Usually the black market guns of this type really look like they were cobbled together from gas pipe and caulking gun parts, but these things were definitely made in a machine shop. Apparently someone, somewhere has decided to make an entrepreneurial leap into high-end illegal gun manufacture. The “US” markings would seem to be a nice attempt to grab credibility, just like Spanish and Chinese pistols have often done with counterfeit or closely-duplicated markings.

Mechanically, the gun does seem to be of a reasonably clever design, too – and not a copy of anything else that I’m aware of. It’s chambered for 9x19mm, feeding from Uzi magazines, and is a simple blowback action. Rather than being striker fired like most modern pistols, it uses a shrouded hammer, and the hammer looks to have been deliberately made quite massive. This would add a bit of delay to the opening of the slide, as it would have to push back the mass of the hammer first before opening, thus adding inertia to the system. Here are some internal photos (swiped from TFB, as I mentioned above):

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Looking down at the top of the frame, slide removed
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Slide by itself. Note the half-round lug on the barrel – that locks around the takedown pin, keeping the barrel fixed in place. This is what tells us it is a blowback action.
Hammer, big and heavy. The sear surfaces appear to have been hand-filed…perhaps these are not fully interchangeable, or are being made on manual machines rather than CNCs?
Hammer and rear of the frame, seen from directly above. The wedge extending from the middle of the hammer is probably the ejector.

Pretty simple gun, really, and seems to be well thought out. And apparently, someone is able to make them cheaper than stolen or otherwise acquired existing guns can be purchased, somewhere. Interesting.