Big Mac Attack!
By Frank Iannamico

As expected, the MAC 10 designation often leads to a question of, “Was there a MAC 1 through MAC 9 submachine gun?” The answer is simple; no and yes.

As the price of Class III firearms continues to spiral upwards, and beyond the budgets of many enthusiasts, many are taking a second look at the guns on the lower end of the price spectrum. One of the former “bottom feeders” was the MAC 10 series of submachine guns. Of course as interests shift, price increases soon follow due to the free enterprise system’s harsh supply and demand rule. The MAC is no exception, but they currently remain an affordable option for those who desire to own a submachine gun.

Choosing just which MAC to purchase has been a question often posed on the popular Internet discussion boards that cater to the Class III enthusiast. There are a somewhat confusing number of options to consider when selecting a MAC 10 as there are different calibers as well as several variations and manufacturers. A MAC M-11 submachine gun was also produced along with the original MAC M-10. The .380ACP caliber M11 was much smaller in size than the MAC 10, and was not made in large numbers. An original 1970s era MAC 11 is rather scarce. In addition to the MAC 10, there are also MAC-style submachine guns like the SWD M11/Nine, which looks like a MAC but technically is not. The SWD 9mm M11/Nine is smaller in size than the original MAC 10 and since its introduction in the 1980s, the MAC 10 has been bestowed with the nickname BIG or FAT MAC.

A Brief History

As expected, the MAC 10 designation often leads to a question of, “Was there a MAC 1 through MAC 9 submachine gun?” The answer is simple; no and yes.

Gordon Ingram originated the series of submachine guns that eventually lead to the MAC 10. Mr. Ingram’s first .45 caliber submachine gun was made in 1946, and was called the Lightening Model 5. The Ingram Model 5 was also known as the M5 for anticipated military sales. The M5 designation was chosen because of the existing U.S. M3-M3A1 submachine gun and the possibility of a future M4 submachine gun. The M5 or Lighting Model 5 never passed the prototype stage with only one example being built.

Next came the Ingram Model 6, which was introduced in 1949. The M6 looked a lot like a Thompson submachine gun but was made primarily from sheet metal stampings. The weapon fired semiautomatic by pulling the trigger partially rearward; pulling the trigger all the way back produced full-automatic fire. In addition, there was also a mode of fire selector switch. There were three variations offered; the military, police and guard models, but they were all mechanically similar. Approximately 15,000 Ingram Model 6 submachine guns were manufactured and sold. The Ingram M6 weapon was also made in Peru and the receivers of those M6 guns are stamped with a Peruvian crest.

Although the Model 6 was offered in 9mm and .38 Super, virtually all were made in .45 caliber. The Ingram M6 was followed by the prototype M7, M8 and the M9 submachine guns that were similar in concept to the Model 6, but only the Ingram M6 was made in quantity.

In 1964, Gordon Ingram began to concentrate on a basic, simple weapon aimed primarily at the third-world market. While working at the Erquiaga Arms Company in California, Ingram made the first prototype of the Model 10 submachine gun. The M10 was radically different from any of Ingram’s previous designs. The first Model 10 was full automatic only and chambered in 9mm Parabellum, using British Sten magazines. The gun was made entirely of metal. The Ingram M10 weapon was offered in the Erquiaga Arms catalog but no orders were forthcoming, and consequently no additional Model 10s were produced by the company.

In 1969, Gordon Ingram went to work for the SIONICS Inc. Powder Springs, Georgia based company was owned by a flamboyant individual named Mitchell L. WerBell III. SIONICS primary business was designing and manufacturing suppressors or “silencers” for the U.S. government. The SIONICS acronym stood for Studies in Operational Negation of Insurgency and Counter Subversion. When WerBell learned of Ingram’s Model 10 submachine gun, he realized that the compact weapon, fitted with a SIONICS suppressor, would be perfect as an easy to conceal weapon with plenty of firepower for special covert operations.

After an agreement was reached between WerBell and Ingram, Mr. WerBell decided to change the name of his company from SIONICS to the Military Armament Corporation or MAC, in December of 1970. As production of the Ingram MAC 10 grew, the company was forced to relocate to a larger facility in Marietta, Georgia. In order to expand business operations further, the under-financed MAC organization was taken over by Quantum Ordnance Bankers Inc. Quantum was a group of investors that pumped millions of dollars into the company. Unfortunately, company mismanagement and proposed government contracts that never materialized eventually forced the Military Armament Corporation into bankruptcy in 1975. The assets of the MAC Corporation were auctioned off in June of 1976.

RPB Industries Inc.

Several former employees of the Military Armament Corporation purchased much of the defunct MAC Corporation’s assets at the company’s auction, and formed a new company called RPB Industries Incorporated. The new RPB Company also purchased the manufacturing rights for the MAC 10 and MAC 11 submachine guns.

The RPB company name represented the initials of the new company owners; Ray Roby, Charles Pitts and R.W. Brueggemann. Some of the early MAC 10s sold by RPB had a Powder Springs or a Marietta, GA address on the right side of the receiver indicating the use of original Military Armament Corporation receivers obtained at the auction. The left side of the receiver was stamped with RPB’s Atlanta, GA address. After the supply of original MAC receivers were exhausted, the new RPB made receivers were only marked with the RPB name and Atlanta, GA address. All of the aforementioned productions of MAC 10s were made chambered in 9mm Parabellum or .45ACP.

In 1977, RPB Incorporated began experiencing financial difficulties and by June of 1978, the majority of the corporation’s stock was acquired by Mr. Wayne Daniel and John Leibolt. The new owners resumed production of submachine guns at a new location in Atlanta. By the 1980s, RPB was doing well offering their customers a variety of MAC weapons and accessories. In 1982 RPB was dissolved and many of the company’s assets liquidated at the second “MAC” auction held on October 16, 1982.

SWD Inc.

In 1983, Mr. Wayne Daniel, possessing the rights both to the MAC 10, MAC 11 and the Cobray logo, started a new company he named SWD Incorporated. The SWD name represented the owners’ initials Sylvia and Wayne Daniel (Sylvia was Wayne’s spouse). Although SWD produced the MAC 10, the company was best known for introducing the M11/Nine. The M11/Nine was a new small 9mm submachine gun based on the earlier .380 MAC 11. The new gun was available in a submachine gun version and a semiautomatic-only configuration. The M11/Nine was very successful; particularly the semiautomatic-only model that was considered a pistol.

Jersey Arms MACs

During 1982, a MAC clone designated as the “Commando Series, Avenger Model” was introduced. The Avenger was manufactured by Hatton Industries of Indian Mills, New Jersey for the Jersey Arms works. This MAC variation is known to enthusiasts as the “New Jersey MAC”. Only 520 of the guns were produced, and only a handful sold before sales were discontinued and the guns placed into storage. In 1987, the remaining inventory was purchased by SWD Incorporated who refurbished the guns and sold them.

Texas MACs

In 1986, James M. Leatherwood, a former engineer of the original Military Armament Corporation, acquired the manufacturing rights for MAC 10 and the remaining stock of frames and parts from SWD Incorporated. SWD retained the rights to the Cobray name and the MAC 11 submachine gun.

Mr. Leatherwood began production of the MAC 10 in Stephenville, Texas under the Military Armament name. The new Texas made submachine gun incorporated a few upgrades that included; a redesigned buttstock, an M1 Garand style safety, a muzzle brake, and most significant of all, a reduced automatic cyclic rate of “only” 750 rounds per minute. The redesigned MAC was designated as the M10A1. The production guns were made in .45ACP caliber, but a 9mm conversion kit was available at additional cost.

When the Texas MAC company went out of business in the late 1980s, Wayne Daniel of SWD repurchased many of the remaining receivers and parts. Mr. Daniel assembled the former Texas MAC components with RPB parts to create yet another MAC variation. The Texas/SWD MACs in 9mm used SWD’s Zytel magazines from their M11/Nine submachine gun.

The most desirable variation of the BIG MACs are the original 1970s production 9mm and .45ACP MAC 10s from the original Military Armament factory in Powder Springs, Georgia. These are generally regarded as the highest quality of the series. These MACs are easily identified by the Powder Springs address stamped on the receiver.

The MAC 10 in .45 caliber uses inexpensive M3 grease gun magazines. Although the original U.S. M3 magazines must be altered slightly to work in a MAC, a new magazine catch is now on the market that allows the use of original modified as well as unmodified M3 magazines. In addition to Cobray marked surplus M3 magazines, the company offered newly- manufactured ten and forty round models. There is one other advantage to the MAC in .45 caliber and that is the ability to convert it to 9mm by the use of a magazine adapter and an upper barreled receiver. (The trigger frame is the registered part of a MAC).

The original 9mm MAC 10 used Walther-style double stack, double feed magazines. The company manufactured their own magazines that today are expensive when compared to the .45 magazines. There were a number of “aftermarket” magazine produced for the 9mm MAC 10. A 9mm MAC 10 cannot be converted to .45 caliber due to its smaller grip frame where the magazine is inserted.

Original 1970 era MAC suppressors, accessories and magazines are growing increasingly popular with collectors. Though all BIG MAC 10s have been out of production for quite a number of years now, there are several companies currently manufacturing spare parts, conversion kits, magazines and a host of accessories.

The MAC is one of those firearms that most enthusiasts either love or hate. Many like the sinister look and reputation of the MAC (garnered largely by its use in movies). Others delight in the fast cyclic rate and full auto “mag dumps” which is best described like holding a tiger by the tail - at least for a second or two.

In Memory of Gordon Ingram who passed away on November 4, 2004.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V8N8 (May 2005)
and was posted online on May 24, 2013


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