Large Scale Illegal Gun Factory Found in UK

Illegal Gun Factory Found in UK
Illegal Gun Factory Found in UK

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- A small shop was being used to make illegal pistols in Sussex, England. The police are said to have discovered the shop because of testing the illegal guns inside the shop. It is possible. It is far more common for such shops to be found by use of informants or sting operations. From telegraph.co.uk:

A large-scale illegal gun factory has been discovered on a Sussex industrial estate, the National Crime Agency has announced.

Investigators responded to what was believed to be gunshots coming from inside what the NCA called a warehouse unit describing itself as a gearbox repair business on an industrial estate in Hailsham, East Sussex.

Officers raided the building on Saturday night and found what they believe to be a “sophisticated” operation producing guns, of which the NCA has subsequently seized around 30.

The National Crime Agency  (NCA) is dedicated to fighting organized crime in the UK. From the NCA:

Our role is to protect the public from the most serious threats by disrupting and bringing to justice those serious and organised criminals who present the highest risk to the UK.

The NCA describes the small shop as a “large scale illegal gun factory”.  The equipment it has is common in millions of hobbyist basements and garages in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have far better and more extensive machine tools in the United States.

In the UK, a former shop teacher explained that such machinery is very common, and is being sold surplus, inexpensively, as the industrial school shops are being shut down.

The language used may seem a little strange to anyone familiar with engineering and metalworking. Perhaps the speaker was trying to make it understandable to a journalist. From telegraph.co.uk:

“Every engineering workshop around the country that use shaping metal in their trade will have a lathe like this one. It's used to to manipulate metal, make it rounded.

“It would also be used to create the slots for bullets in the cylinder of an older, traditional handgun and would be used to form the barrel of a gun.

“The milling machine – the machine on the right – would be used to very accurately create grooves on the outside of the gun.”

The machines are old tech, of course. They form parts by removing material, as opposed to 3D printing, which forms parts by adding material. The Bridgeport milling machine would have been made in Connecticut. If it was part of lend-lease during WWII, it appears to have been upgraded to Computer Numerical Control (CNC). Bridgeport started making mills in 1938.

With proper maintenance, such tools have a very long productive life. The making of pistols in a small shop is light usage. The machines would not wear out for many decades.

Machines such as these have been used in making firearms for 150 years.  Production from other small shops sources in Pakistan, India, the Philippines, and Nigeria, indicate this shop could produce 20-30 pistols a month, if manned by 2-4 people.

Production would be facilitated if small parts were obtained elsewhere. Springs and pins could be sub-contracted without much risk, or smuggled in with little risk of detection.

High-quality finish and heat treatment is unnecessary for criminal use, but might result in a higher price in the underground economy.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 32 thoughts on “Large Scale Illegal Gun Factory Found in UK

    1. Personally, I hope there are 1000 more like that one that are still undiscovered by the “authorities”, and pushing out hundreds of units a day. Their country is being invaded, just like the rest of Europe and the USA.

    2. When the War to End ALL War ended in 1918 the Brits dumped most of their arms, from handgun and rifle to machine guns and field pieces into the Channel.
      Then they passed laws against civil possession of everything except fancy double barrel shotguns.
      Then Hitler decided it was time for another war.
      Luckily American had lots of guns which were collected and shipped to Merry Old England. Even a .22 LR Savage was welcomed by the Home Guard. They knew that pitchforks were only good in a Frankenstein movie.
      Any of the dozens of automotive machine shops in every American town with a population higher than 1,000 has valve grinding machines, lathes, milling machines and brake drum lathes.
      The British refuse to understand what the Declaration of Independence was about.

      1. “Luckily American had lots of guns which were collected and shipped to Merry Old England. Even a .22 LR Savage was welcomed by the Home Guard.”

        Sorry to burst any bubble but whilst US civilian loaned firearms were indeed sent to the UK by the “American Committee for the Defence of British Homes” beyond the moderate propaganda benefit in the UK press these guns were not welcome and largely not used.

        Even sparing people to sort out the mess of junk that had been sent to find anything useful was not deemed worthwhile and the guns were stuffed into warehouses until the end of the war and then dumped in the sea. A few guns were distributed to Home Guard Units who appreciated the gesture but they arrived after the threat of invasion had subsided.

        Contrary to popular belief there wasn’t a shortage of Rifles in the UK in the aftermath of Dunkirk, we had plenty in warehouses. More than enough to equip the men returning from Dunkirk and equip the LDV that later morphed into the Home Guard. The real issue was distribution and reequipping the returning BEF soldiers, the LDV/Home Guard were rather down the priority list leading to frustration amongst those men who had volunteered to join it.

        The main areas of shortage for the British Army in the early war period after Dunkirk was the heavy equipment left behind by the BEF in France like trucks, tanks and artillery. There was also a shortage of LMG as most of the BREN guns had been left behind.

    3. Remember that before the Revolutionary War the Brits wanted to disarm the citizens in the now US of A. That is part of what led to the war. Now, the Brits at home, have disarmed their “servants” in the name of safety. I do not for second believe that our armed citizens would quietly give up their arms to any government, to include our own. The left is paving the way for that future confrontation.

    4. I would only hope this might have been a small attempt for a Brit to help out those who realize England will soon be under siege by the radical Muslim hordes that the fools in Parliament have unleashed upon their citizens. But it wpuld take many, many of these small initiatives to make any difference at all. Do you realize this could actually be our future if the mania over gun ownership is allowed to grow?

      No, I’m not Chicken Little, just a guy who keeps his ear to the rail, eye on the smoke signals, and 71 years of lessons in reality. Oh, yeah, 12 years in the law enforcement community.

    5. I know the British monarchy hasn’t had anything to do with making the laws in many many years. Why because they are a bunch of inbred idiots from years of marrying their cousins, sisters, etc. It was the same for the other kingdoms that have gone by the wayside. The Queen is paid an outlandish sum of money every year that could be better used to revamp their failing health care system. The citizens of Britain are finally taking a stand to get arms because their political system has been allowed to let tens of thousands of so-called refugees into the country that has caused nothing but problems. The cops won’t set foot in muslim areas because it is too dangerous. Really? Fuck that. The United States is headed that way too in many areas of this land. As far as I am concerned Megan Markle married way under her social class. She has a mindless boob she can order around.

    6. Photo appears to be a normal small-scale machine shop utilizing outdated-but still perfectly functional lathe and milling machines. Don’t see anything “large-scale” here. Large scale, to me, would mean smelting, forging, computer automated machining stations, quality control, multiple assembly stations, spring winding equipment, and so on. It appears the report is bent on creating a fear based outcome to a lengthy trial- perhaps as an example to others?

      1. A ‘small shop’, ‘large scale operation’. Somehow those two phrases do not match. I think the Telegraph is pitching B.S. for their overlords.

    7. Perhaps to the pea sized brains of the local bobs, twenty or thirty guns a month is “large scale”. But that’s quite the stretch. If they were producing a thousand or so, then perhaps…..

      Follow on reports will be interesting.

      1. Hah! 20-30 a month? I can do that in a week, of course I can order most of the parts, and just mill the receiver; it just depends on whether I have the cash or not!

        Lets remember, the brits gave up their arms in ’97, IT’S A LICK ON THEM!

    8. The gummit hooh hahs the other side the Puddle forget England’s long and bright history of the home workshop. As motorcars began to proliferate, thousands of cobbers turned to in their own small workshops and built their own motorcars. Many of the well known marques of the last century had their beginnings just like this. MG (Morris Garage), Morris, Austin, Cosworth, Morgan, Vincent, Lotus, Jaguar, Rover and LandRover, Triumph, Rolls Royce and Bentley, Aston Martin, Elva, then the “tuners” who perfected the basic cars produced in volume once things got rolling, making them race champions.. Donald Healey, Jensen, Harry Westlake, Cooper, Carrol Shelby, Paddy Hopkirk….. these all started out in small garages or workshops all over the countryside.

      If Englishmen could accomplish that, with little to no training and very basic machinery, why would anyone question their ability to do the same with firearms? Even those, most of the popular and respected makes started out, both sides the Puddle, in small workshops. Browing, Garand, Smith, Colt, Wesson, Marlin Ruger… and the english as well…. don’t know their lines as well as I do the US origins, but if we can do it here they can do it there.

      No word on to whom they were intending to distribute. Is this a creative backlash against the commoner who would carry about with him the best suited means of protection against the incrasing thuggery now in ascendance that side the water? Or is it a more sinister operation to provide arms for some nefarious uprising to take over the government and establish their own?

      Silly boys, though… don’t test fire your products inside the build facility. Never try out your race car in your own neighbourhood. Always take them a ways away where you will not be known or identifiable. then, when the fun is ove,r quietly and docilely make your way back home as if you are returning from a short excursion to the High Street shoppes….. use your brains, lads…..

      It will be interesting to learn WHO were about this operation, and for whom they were producing. Perhaps it is one isolated venue in a large network of loosely connected similar works……

      1. Thank you for mentioning the Vincent, a lovely motorcycle, half machine and half chimera. Those of you who aren’t familiar with it should Google it. It’s a wonderful example of what can be built in a small garage.

        The ability to build guns in small shops is hardly new technology. Methinks the mainstream media doth protest too much.

    9. I think that the British have forgotten their Magna Carta and the reason for it. Beware American patriots! Our time is coming. Do not forget our Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the reason for them. The future of your children is at stake.

    10. Whenever any item is outlawed, it instantly creates a black market for that item. The best example of this was when the U.S. outlawed alcohol. It established the mafia in the U.S. because of it. But when it was legalized again, it did not create the massive amount of alcoholics as the anti-alcohol people had predicted.

      1. Prohibition did do one thing. It slowed our alcohol consumption. Some Americans would start the day with a beer. I guess some still do. But per capita, we used to consume five times as much alcohol as we do now. I can’t even imagine drinking 5x what I do now.

    11. That’s just a machine shop… Now they’ll be snooping through all the machinist’s stuff and are bound to find other “illegal” items such as sharp objects like calipers, finger nail clippers, scribes…

      1. “Killing is a matter of will, not weapons.
        You cannot control the act itself
        by passing laws about the means employed.”
        The late Col Jeff Cooper, 1958
        Handgun expert and founder of Gunsite Academy

    12. Well, some Brits do have huevos. With all the trouble they have with the Muslims, having a gun, legal or not, would be a comfort.

    13. You mean to say that guns can be made with machinery?
      Out of parts available in any plumbing section of a hardware store ?
      Everyone knows you need a 3 d printer to make a gun.
      Ammo land you are committing a thoughtcrime here!

    14. To use a quote from Jurassic Park ‘Guns will find a way’. Legislate all you want, weapons have been around since the dawn of time and will continue to be around. Better to address the reasons for violence than the tool used to commit it.

    15. This reminds me of an old song by a UK New Wave group, “No thugs in Our House”. The Brits believe no one has illegal arms because that is what they are told, even when there is evidence to the contrary – it can’t be because it’s not allowed. On our side of the pond, the anti-rights people, politicians, groups and media tell us if the law-abiding are disarmed, the criminals won’t have illegal arms. Both views are insane and stupid, and perpetuated by similarly ill-informed, ignorant and deceitful, hypocritical (they have arms and/or armed guards), anti-rights people that want to control the populous. The only way to attain that is by force, if we are disarmed, it will be that much easier. They don’t care how many innocents are injured and killed along the way.

      1. And that “New Wave Group” was… XTC

        “No thugs in our house.
        Are there dear?
        They made that clear.
        They made sure little Graham promised us he’d be a good boy!”

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