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Meet the MAC-11 Submachine Gun: One Powerful Gun for a Reason

MAC-11. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
MAC-11. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The Ingram M-10 AKA MAC-10 submachine gun (SMG), in its 9mm Parabellum and .45 ACP chamberings alike, may not be the best-regarded SMG in the world in terms of quality or refinement.

But it has endured, and it has certainly garnered its fair share of fame – or infamy, depending upon whom you ask – serving in real-life with the military and police forces of 19 nations.

This includes the Portuguese Air Force Police (Polícia Aérea) and America’s elite Delta Force, as well as fictitious heroes such as David McCarter of the Phoenix Force action-adventure novel series, and for good measure being extolled by the late gangsta rapper Eazy E in the classic song “Boyz-n-the-Hood.” 

What is not as well-known is that the MAC-10 spawned a “little brother,” so to speak, that being the MAC-11 .380 ACP SMG. Let’s now give the MAC-11 its moment in the sun.

MAC-11 Early History and Specifications

The MAC-11 was also designed by Gordon B. Ingram (1924-2004) of the now-defunct Military Armament Corporation (hence the “MAC” acronym”), who did so in 1972, eight years after the MAC-10. As is true of nearly every successful 20th century machine gun with the exception of the HK MP5, the MAC-11 fired from an open bolt.  

Specifications include a barrel length of 5.08 inches, overall length is 9.76 inches, and a weight of 3.5 pounds.  

Detachable box magazines come with a 16- or 32-round capacity, with a cyclic rate of a blistering 1,200 rounds per minute, which equates to 20 rounds per second…which in turn means that the 16- and 32-round mags will be expended in 0.8 and 1.6 seconds respectively! This puts the MAC-11 on a par with its bigger brother in terms of rate of fire; granted, that tends to compromise practical accuracy is beyond room-clearing distance, but the multiple impacts in such a short space of time will at least partially compensate for the comparatively low ballistic power of the .380 ACP cartridge.             

 Combat Record

Through the decade of the 1970s, the military and/or police forces of an estimated 11 nations adopted the MAC-11, including Argentina, Chile, and Guatemala. Reportedly the gun saw usage in the Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1990 and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s and early 2000s, though this writer hasn’t been able to uncover any specific reports of the weapon’s battlefield performance in these conflicts.

Experts’ Shooting Impressions/Range Reports

For this, we turn to Will Dabbs, MD, in an undated article for American Handgunner humorously titled “Gordon Ingram’s Thermonuclear Pocket Pistol”: 

“With the stock extended and taking my time I could keep most of my rounds on target at 7 meters. In this case the top cluster [head shots]  was fired semiautomatically while the full auto bursts at least started in the torso…With the stock extended and the suppressor in place the MAC11 actually kept its rounds on target in both modes of fire…When fired two-handed with the stock collapsed in the manner of a handgun the MAC11 was tough to control. 

Half of the magazine was fired semiauto and the other half on rock and roll yet shot dispersion was fairly impressive. You’ll not be picking off targets at half a kilometer with this rascal.”

Want Your Own?

I’ll throw out the same caveat emptor I’ve used for every other SMG review I’ve written for 19FortyFive: Assuming you’re ready, willing & able to deal with the bureaucratic hassle and costs of the BATFE paperwork to own a full-auto weapon, be ready to cough up a few extra bucks for a MAC-11 once you’ve cleared those initials hurdles. For starters, Classic Machine Guns has three listed, charging $15,490.00 for one, $13,300.00 for another, and a comparatively bargain basement one at a measly $9,000.00. Next, there’s the MAGA Online Gun Shop, selling a MAC-11 for $4,999.26.  

MAC 10

MAC 10. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

MAC 10

Christian D. Orr has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. 

NOTE: This piece has been updated since posting. 

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Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).