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The MAC-10 Submachine Gun: Everything You Need to Know by the Good Doctor Dabbs

The Ingram Model 10, better known as the MAC-10 (Military Armament Corporation) submachine gun, was produced in both 9mm and .45 ACP versions. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The MAC-10 Submachine Gun: Everything You Need to Know

With a current starting price tag of $7,000, the MAC-10 is one of the least expensive machine guns one can legally own in the USA. In the early 1980s, the $200 Tax Stamp cost more than the actual price of the gun.

On July 11, 1979, a white Ford Econoline van cruised through the parking lot of Dadeland, urban Miami’s largest shopping mall. Dade-land was fifty acres of late 1970s awesome, populated with niche shops, anchor stores, and throngs of families out doing what Americans did in the years immediately prior to Ronald Reagan.

Among the many shoppers enjoying the mall that day was one German Jimenez Panesso and his bodyguard, Juan Carlos Hernandez. (German was his name, not his nationality.) German Jimenez Panesso was a Colombian drug lord.

MAC-10 Submachine Gun Closeup and Scarface 1

Hollywood would have us believe that every two-bit 1980s-era thug in America had a full auto MAC-10 tucked in his gym bag. In reality, the criminal use of full auto weapons has always been vanishingly rare. (Scarface,

Panesso traveled in an armored Mercedes limousine befitting the stature of one of Miami’s top drug dealers. At 37, Panesso was handsome, rich, powerful, and on top of his game. At 2:30 pm on this torrid Miami afternoon, Panesso and Hernandez made their way into Crown Liquors to procure their weekly supply of Chivas Regal. Both men were sufficiently at ease for Hernandez to leave his 9mm Browning Hi-Power behind in the Mercedes.

MAC-10 Submachine Gun Scarface 2

In the late ’70s and early ’80s colorful drug kingpins offed each other with wanton abandon in disagreements over turf, women, and customers. They still rarely used actual machine guns. This one is shown with the MAC two-stage suppressor. (Scarface,

The Ford van pulled up and parked outside the liquor store. The astute observer would have noted that one side of the van read “Happy Time Complete Party Supply.” The other declared, “Happy Time Complete Supply Party.” The question of whether the van supplied the party or was the party itself I shall leave to the philosophers.

MAC-10 Submachine Gun Thompson and BAR

Even back when you could buy full auto Thompsons and BARs, cash and carry, criminals most frequently just stole theirs.

Two men left the van and followed Panesso and Hernandez into the shop. The larger of the two then produced a .380 Beretta pistol equipped with a sound suppressor and shot Panesso four times in the face. His companion hosed the store down with a fully automatic .45ACP MAC-10 submachine gun, in the process killing Panesso’s associate, Juan Carlos Hernandez.

The two assassins returned to the van and liberally sprayed the parking lot and surrounding shops with gunfire apparently just for meanness. Authorities later found the van abandoned behind the shopping center. In addition to quarter-inch armored plate affixed around the vehicle, there were also several gun ports covered with nondescript plastic covers.

Inside the van, the cops found more than twenty firearms including shotguns, handguns, and automatic weapons. Panesso and Hernandez were the 37th and 38th Miami homicides for 1979. At a time when there were untold millions to be made moving drugs into south-central Florida, the MAC-10 submachine gun found its most sinister applications.

MAC-10 Submachine Gun State of the Art

The MAC-10 was indeed a tidy little bullet hose, but it reflected the state of the art at the time of its introduction.


Such sordid stuff as this makes for popular copy. Prose describing unfettered violence catches the eye, and I just crafted a bit of it myself. However, the dirty little secret is that criminal usage of legitimate automatic weapons was and is actually vanishingly rare in the United States. In fact, Thompson submachine guns and Browning Automatic Rifles could be found in Sears and Roebuck stores as well as conventional gun shops prior to the passage of the blatantly unconstitutional National Firearms Act of 1934.

MAC-10 Submachine Gun Cover of Para Poser Mags

The MAC-10 graced the cover of many a paramilitary poser gun magazine back in the 1980s. My attic floor sags under the weight of such stuff today.

Before the passage of that law, machineguns were sold over the counter and uncontrolled wherever there was money enough to purchase them. It was simply that following on the heels of the Great Depression nobody had any money. A Thompson sold for $225 back then. That’s about $4,400 today. A BAR was the equivalent of about $6,000.

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