A locally made RPG type launcher along with a Kalashnikov type assault rifle which were found buried in Purulia district, Kolkata. Police reported that the weapons were found at two sites near Khatanga village bordering Jharkhand. Two individuals arrested had links to Maoist rebel groups.
The launcher appears to fire a standard PG7 munition and interestingly appears to use a trigger grip unit identical to those seen on locally made Sterling submachine gun copies, also appearing regularly in Maoist arms caches.
The Sikligar are a primarily Sikh armorer caste who historically specialized in swordsmithing and repair. In recent years many skilled artisans within the community have focused on the dramatically more profitable illegal firearms trade where Ghost Guns are created from bits of scrap metal, likely without the help of a 3D printer.
” “We are born as skilled arms-makers and are making arms since ages. Where is the option for us? (The) government hardly cares for us. Most of our people are helpless because of utter poverty and we need money… even police take advantage of this,” said Kartar, another resident of Signoor.
Police said that earlier most of the guns made by the community were .315 bore or .12 bore but now many of them have mastered the art of making high-precision 7.65 mm pistols.
Police are also following up information that some of Sikligars have even started making automatic weapons.
According to sources in the community, a Sikligar can earn anything between Rs. 3,000 to Rs 40,000 for an investment of Rs 1,500 to Rs 4,000.
All he has to do is to buy an iron rib, gunpowder and umbrella spring (used for making magazine) and fire a kiln. Working with bare hands and using a hammer and chisel, one weapon is ready in about four days. Some also use lathe machines to make more sophisticated weapons, the sources said.”
The automatic pistol in construction above appears to be made from sheet metal plates welded together and not dependent on any type of expensive modern machinery. Barrels in the region are often made from steel pipe or tubing salvaged from car parts or simply drilled out on an ancient lathe.
Another illicit factory uncovered producing automatic pistol copies typical of the region. This is part of a growing trend towards more advanced criminal arms production in India.
“Acting on a tip off, Kolkata Police’s Special Task Force (STF) apprehended three persons while dealing in Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) and illegal arms on Monday. In the process, they also busted an illegal arms unit in Barackpore.
Three persons – Suku Sheikh, Md. Amjad Rayeen and Md. Abdullla were apprehended by the FICN team of STF from Maidan Police Station limits. As many as 40 semi-finished improvised arms and fake notes worth worth Rs. 1 lakh was seized from their possession.
However, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Further questioning and examination of these three arrested led investigators to an illegal arms manufacturing unit at Jaggatdal under Barrackpore Police Commissionerate. Investigators unearthed this illegal arms manufacturing unit where 20 semi-finished improvised arms, drilling machine, lathe machine, raw materials and equipments were recovered. Six others who were working at this manufacturing unit were also arrested.
According to sources, the arms that were being made here were 7mm and 9mm pistols. The consignment compromising 20 semi-finished arms was meant for Bihar.”
An illegally made loose copy of the 9mm Sterling submachine gun used during a shootout between a gang and police last month in Rautahat. A number of these have showed up in Maoist arms caches. Sometimes refereed to locally as a ‘desi sten’.
A number of ‘Sterling’ type submachine gun copies have surfaced in recent arms seizures by Indian authorities. The British 9mm Sterling is still used by the Indian army and police so no doubt familiar to the country’s many underground gun makers.
Above: Locally made firearms (Left-to-right): Craft-made ‘Sterling’ type SMG, two .32 automatic pistols and two 30 bore ‘katta’ pistols.
Pictured are various locally craft-produced pistols recently seized by the Eastern Command of the Indian Army. Some are widely seized indigenous models while others may possibly originate from Pakistan or China.
Above: An example shown alongside improvised .22 rimfire ammunition, a trait more typical of pistols produced by illicit gunsmiths in China.
Above: A widely seized design of semi-automatic pistol produced by gunsmiths mainly in Uttar Pradesh. Along with very bad attempted Beretta markings the laminate flooring company’s logo is still visible on the grip panel.
Above: Note the serial number stamped below the grip panel which judging from the low number could possibly be for the maker’s own reference rather than inflated.
Above: Telltale brazing marks on the slide and frame suggest multi-part construction of main components.