Interesting improvised pistol recovered by UK police

This pistol was seized from street drug dealers by police in Liverpool, UK. The photo was shown as part of an online news article.

It appears to be a workshop made hybrid of several designs. It looks to have Browning Hi-Power influence with Beretta styling. The grips also appear to be Hi-Power.

Although crudely finished, it is beyond what I would call “home made”.

To stay on the subject of ammunition, has anyone else here ever seen anything similar? If so, what calibre was it chambered for, and was it rifled or smooth bored?

Various unique designs of guns made for the criminal market by unofficial factories have been found in Europe over the last few years.

Remove this post if it is too far off topic, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.


Thanks for sharing. It’s very interesting and I wonder what ammo is needed to function this firearm in a safe way.

In a safe way? A dummy round only :slight_smile:

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The clever craftsmen of the Khyber pass region have been making (by hand) many different hybrid/mongrel types of firearms for decades, and this is likely one of those.

Some are pretty functional, others more hazardous to the user then the target. The “ammunition” sold with them is often what might be generously called reloaded, or improvised, with salvaged bullets having the rifling marks removed before reuse, who knows what for powder. Reportedly they make all sorts of stuff ranging from pistols like this one to copies of Lee Enfields, AK-47s and some .577 Enfield muskets or Sniders and Martini rifles for sale in the Afghan bazaars to military personnel only allowed to ship home antiques.

Here is a link to more info on these guns, and a tiny bit on their ammunition:

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I don’t think criminals are interested in this kind of weaponry. Much easier to get the real stuff…

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I have seen discussions on this forum about the Khyber Pass guns (and of course ammunition) a few times. That is possibly where this pistol could have come from.

There was also an illegal operation found producing Browning M1922 copies using CNC milling machines here in the UK a few years back.

In Darra, they did not always take the rifling marks off of the bullets before reloading them, and some of the bullets they have actually load are somewhat mangled. I acquired about six rounds of Darra 9 mm Para years ago. I pulled the bullet on one just out of interest. Incredible! The powder was like a sticky pink talcum powder. Don’t know where they got the primers. All but one of the loads I got were in Berdan primer-type cases except one, and that in a Remington case. I have never wanted to pull it apart, but it would be interesting to see if this round got loaded with a Berdan primer, in which case, of course, in the absence of any anvil, would misfire.

I think I wrote a little article on these for IAA, but I really don’t recall. It would have been a long time ago.

John Moss

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I have read before that they somehow remove the primer caps from the Berdan cases.

Apparently the next stage in the process is to flatten the firing pin strike out of the fired primer using a steel punch and hard surface.

The caps are then refilled with primer compound and reseated.

Do the primers on your 9mm loads appear to have had the firing pin strikes flattened out?

Falcon, No, they do not. The striking surfaces of all five are as smooth as any factory primer. They are brass cups, by the way. Removing the fired Berdan primers would not be any problem for a people that can make a crude but functional copy of a Bren Gun with mostly hand tools. They can be removed with a Berdan decapping tool or hydrologically.

John Moss

I have seen some older Khyber Pass .303 reloads here in the UK with reused fired primer caps and lead bullets. I assume that hydraulic removal would be the only option to remove the caps in a condition to be reused.

Were all your 9mm rounds different headstamps?

By the way I collect, one of them duplicated another (both French). It was a date and quarter and year date only that differed, so I chase that one to disassemble, and keep in my collection disassembled, in a pill bottle.

Headstamps of the four are:

TS 4-62 S 9
TS 3-65 VD 9
SF 2-64 I 9

John Moss

A homemade/underground workshop firearm and/or ammunition showing up in England would not be that unheard of. The IRA (and other groups) produced several homemade/underground weapons and modified many during their time.

To believe these or the people would simply move production from insurrection to profit for criminal enterprises would be the next step process in the continued realm of making money.

We bought this a couple of years ago, said “Smith & Wesson” on the side, but obviously not!
We think it’s probably from Darra.

Chambered in 22LR, but the “safety catch” is actually a selector…Yes it’ll fire 10 rounds in about half a second.
It’s very soft steel.
If I can find a way to post a video I will do so.


Just to add my little bit,
Prior to retirement as part of my job with a police firearms dept was the disposal of all illicit weapons coming into police hands.
Over the years I was doing this I must have handled thousands if these, mostly from customs at the port of Dover where seizures sometimes involved several hundred handguns in one load similar to the one you show.
No I did not try to fire any - they were mostly made from mild steel and almost all had smooth bores - No rifling in the barrel this was done perhaps to simplify the manufacture or just as likely to thwart the forensic people when trying to match rifling marks on bullets found at the scene of a crime.
These were coming in from Europe but I can only guess where they were made.
I only covered the south East of England, but I guess it was similar in other areas near to ports.


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Did you ever have a setup to remotely fire a possibly unsafe gun clamped into a stand?

What was, in your opinion, the most interesting seized weapon you ever saw?

Did I miss the moment when this became a gun forum?

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Only a crude setup I made involving a clamp gadget attached to a workmate and a long piece of string.

Too many interesting and unusual pieces - to recall, - on our pull out of Aden (end of Empire) circa 1960s. I helped dump 60 tons of captured weapons into the Red sea.
These included rifles and machine guns from all over the world and from all eras, but also quality double rifles, driellings, and rare repeating pistols.

Later during my police service, I disposed of tens of thousands of weapons including all the guns handed in during our several amnesties/hand ins and buy backs.
Fortunately nothing of great note was destroyed in these later moves as all was looked at first by my friends/contacts from the “Museums Consortium” i.e. The Imperial War museum, The Royal Ordnance Pattern Room, The Royal Armouries, The NRA museum, The Army museum and etc. All the rest was melted at a local steel works.



Did you ever try to chamber any dummy rounds in these crude pistols to determine what they were actually chambered for?


Not sure if this topic is a correct subject for this forum.

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