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Musgrave 9mm: A Gun for the Black Market


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and today we’re taking a look at a really remarkably simple pistol manufactured by the Musgrave company in South Africa. Now Musgrave had been really the largest commercial gun manufacturing company in the country. They’re pretty well known for sporting rifles, in particular hunting rifles, but they expanded into other things. It was Musgrave that marketed the Galil copy, the R4s and the R5s, to the South African public. And over time they’d actually ended up becoming a government-owned entity. … Now, the pistol that we’re looking at today dates from 1995 to 1996. which is right at the end of Musgrave’s existence. So in 1996 the company was amalgamated with
Vektor and basically ceased to exist. And by 2003 Vektor was shut down as well. So the reason
here is the company was owned by the government, and the government at that point (the new government
having been elected in South Africa in 1994), decided that it wasn’t really interested in
supporting commercial firearms manufacture, small arms manufacture, and so
that’s why they ended up shutting it down. But before that happened, Musgrave did
develop this pistol. And the purpose of this (and by the way, it doesn’t really have any
designation, it’s just the Musgrave 9mm pistol, … this particular company hadn’t really been involved in
handguns at all, so this was a new venture for them), and apparently what happened is the director of the
company, some time in ’95, brought in all his engineers, and had some examples of confiscated, … homemade
criminal guns taken by the South African Police, and he basically tossed these
things on the table and went, “Look, if these guys with basically no tools and no
education can make a cheap, simple gun, why can’t we?” And so they put together this, largely to
compete with actually the Norinco 213 that was being imported in fairly large numbers
and was a really very inexpensive handgun. And the market that they were making this for was
the black market, and I don’t mean the illegal market, by that I mean the brand new and
expanding market to sell handguns to the black population of South Africa.
Now, this had been technically legal during apartheid before ’94, but typically
black citizens of South Africa would have owned rifles or shotguns, and just would have had a hard time legally acquiring a handgun. It was legal,
but very few people actually did it, … you know, for a variety of reasons.
Partly they were expensive… Anyway, in ’94 this started to change and
there became a big potential market for this, but in order to exploit that market you had
to come up with a gun that was very inexpensive because the typical black citizen of
South Africa was quite poor, literally you have guys living in mud huts.
And to compound this the legal regulatory structure of South Africa required a couple
things at this point if you are going to buy a handgun. You had to have a safe to put it in. Well, that’s
difficult if you live in a mud structure with a dirt floor. … How do you mount a safe, because it
can’t just be a safe sitting on the ground, it has to be actually mounted somehow.
You also had to have a certificate of training. This was introduced because prior the typical
gun owner was white, who had been in the army, had military training. The typical black
gun owner had not been in the military. So had to get a certificate of training, had to get a
mounted safe, … it’s a lot of obstacles to overcome. And so what gun shops would actually do in this
period, which I find really fascinating, is put together basically a package deal for something like 1,000 Rand,
which was as affordable as something like this could get. And that would include your pistol, which at
the time would have probably been a Norinco 213 in 9mm Parabellum, that was
the calibre that everybody wanted. It would include a training certificate, where
basically the shop owner would take you into the range and give you a, you know, here’s how it works,
go through the basics, and then sign off on it, a training certificate. And it would include a
simple safe, and a big steel post, and a bag of pre-mixed concrete. And literally what you
would do is dig a hole in the floor of the house, put in the post, mix up the concrete,
pour it in, bolt your safe to it, and presto, you have met the legal
requirements to own a handgun. So what Musgrave was doing with this was
attempting to compete in that market. So they had to make something really, really simple and
inexpensive, because what they were competing with was actually a legitimately pretty nice pistol that
had been manufactured in China by the gazillions, and was not being sold for the cost of manufacture.
Think of them as basically surplus pistols. So let’s take a look at what they came up with. The design here is just simple straight
blowback. It has a polymer frame, which is even more interesting than you think.
And then a steel slide and barrel assembly, and if we take a look at this,
it’s just this whole tubular frame reciprocates back when you fire.
There’s a big spring in here, we’ll take this apart in just a minute. Big breech block on the back,
and this is actually the safety. So when you have the red dot up, it’s hot
and ready to fire. And when we rotate this around, like so, now it’s in the safe
configuration. It is hammer fired. Sights are are pretty basic there, but
effective. And then the magazine on this is a Beretta 92 magazine, it locks in the
base with the standard Beretta locking catch. Now the reason for this is, well twofold.
First off Musgrave was actually the licensed representative or dealer for Beretta in South Africa, they
did mostly long guns, shot guns and that sort of thing. But they also manufactured a copy of the
Beretta 92, called the Z88, later the SP1. The Z88 also used Beretta magazines, so
Musgrave had … tons of Beretta magazines to work with, so it was a natural
thing to pair with this pistol. Definitely no reason to design a brand new
magazine if you’re trying to make a cheap pistol. Not much there in the way of markings.
We have a serial number on the barrel, and then that stamp right there
is a South African proof mark. There’s a little Musgrave logo in
the grip, also the other side of the grip. And they stamp Musgrave on the frame, which they
then proceeded to put the barrel mounting screws through. It has a single action trigger. When the safety is
engaged the trigger [hammer] is unable to drop. That fires. Trigger pull is not great, but,
yeah, … we’ll just go with not great. For disassembly we’re going to start at the muzzle. There’s supposed to be a little set screw
in here that holds this muzzle plug on. That set screw is missing on this particular
gun, so I can just unscrew this cap at the front. This is what holds in the recoil spring. That comes out, spring comes
out. Then we’re going to go ahead and take out these two … hex bolts. These
are what hold the barrel into the frame, and that is done with an Allen key. Once those are loosened those can come out. And then lastly, we have a
pair of screws holding this rear collar on. With those loosened, we can dump those two screws
out. And then this whole assembly is going to come off the frame. Once that’s off, we can then take
the barrel out, and then this collar slides off (there, slide that off the front sight). So I said the frame was more interesting than you
might expect, and the reason for that is it’s actually moulded in two halves, a left and a right.
And you can see the seam very easily here, and then they’re not, like, seam welded
together, they’re actually screwed together. So a couple of screws here, the magazine catch, this is what holds the frame
together as as one continuous piece. There’s no metal infrastructure in here, because
the way the blowback system works, all of the … pressure bearing parts, all the moving parts,
everything like that is contained in the upper assembly. So you can see a little metal
there, under where the barrel goes. That’s actually just a very thin little plate. I’m
honestly not entirely sure why it’s in there, but it is. The fire control group is a hammer
system. So there’s the hammer. Single action only and an ejector right next
to it. And that is all there is to the frame. And there’s really not a whole lot
more going on in the slide. This is one, aside from the safety block at the
back, this is one unitised, complete part. As far as I can tell it is machined
with the breech block still in it, so they turn the outside on the lathe, and
they drill in from the back, drill in from the front. That way there’s no need to have a separate pin. Well, I guess simpler to make, or
at least one part instead of two. You can see how the safety works, this is the
fire position and when I rotate this around, it moves that big ol’ block, and that’s just
going to prevent the hammer from dropping. So … actually, mechanically, it’s a very effective safety. Now, you’re not gonna break that
safety. There’s nothing to go wrong there. And then the firing pin is right there, hammer hits it, we have an extractor up in the top
and an ejection port and that’s it. And then there is a serial number
(this one’s actually mismatched), and another South African proof
on the back of the breech block. Here’s the rear collar, it’s a cast part and you
can see that clearly in the … surface finish. This has the rear sight in it and it
also serves to hold the rear end of the … breech block assembly down onto the frame. There’s the whole thing laid out. They certainly
accomplished the goal of making a very, very simple pistol. Although they didn’t accomplish the goal of
successfully competing with the Norinco 213 because they made a very small number, and
these are today, you know, only 20 years later and within a country that has a relatively small firearms
collecting community, these are very scarce firearms. The fellow who owns this one knows of a total
of five, and has only ever seen two in person. So apparently the ones that do show up tend
to get exported, because foreign collectors who are interested in this sort of thing are willing
to pay substantial amounts of money for them. But that’s the Musgrave pistol. In total apparently … the original contract for these
was 600 guns, just to see how the whole thing worked. And I don’t think they actually completed that.
This one is, as you saw, is number 400. They probably made something like 500 of these,
and they’re actually really quite scarce today. They are not particularly good quality guns, as a
side effect of having to be very inexpensive, but they are certainly really
interesting guns to take a look at. Hopefully you enjoyed the video,
hopefully you learned something. Thanks very much for watching.

100 thoughts on “Musgrave 9mm: A Gun for the Black Market

  1. "the company decided that it wasn't really interested in commercial handgun manufacture" that's a weird way to say that all the execs, engineers, and marketing people capable doing this sort thing were probably no longer working for this company

  2. I can see foreign collectors buying these guns. The collector gets a historical gun. The seller gets a lot of money selling it. Now they can buy a better gun. Win win.

  3. Nice. I have to concur with an earlier comment. I'm S.African and have never seen one of these pistols. Crappy is an understatement LOL . Doesn't do justice to the Musgrave co. that made some really good hunting rifles (don't know if you have done a vid review on Musgrave)

  4. You lost me for a second with the zee88.. Then I remembered in the US you guys have zeebras while here in Africa we have zebras.

  5. I'm not a gun fan but i enjoy your vids a lot,anyway a bit of misinfo in this vid about blacks living in mud huts thats very incorrect around the time those guns were being made .but besides that little misinfo the your videos are always informative and i learn something new every time.

  6. Black market huh?
    thats fucking beautiful lol
    from anyone else that would be lame.
    you pulled it off sir, good one
    ๐Ÿคฃ

  7. Little fucker looks like it would have been relatively reliable for what they were… Wondering how they would've done in the long term

  8. I actually LOVED my Norinco 213. I could swap between 9MM and 7.62X25 with just a barrel swap. All the 7.62X25 needs is a good expanding bullet and I would chose that over the 9mm.

  9. So the new (black) government voted to close down one of the few sources of income and employment in the country? I can imagine all the other good things they did for the country.

  10. Idk about the actually quality, but it doesn't look cheap. It looks kind of like one of those .22s for target shooting.

  11. Ian probably has "Black" friends lol, slight education from an African, "black" people are called Africans in Africa. White people in Africa are called non-natives or European Africans.

  12. So? What kind of price were we talking about here? I don't know the timeline, some of the details of this look familiar, reminds me a little of my Ruger MkIV in some small ways. You can see right away that a real budget gun is bolted together? People now complain bitterly if they need to drive out a pin, and here you need three or four tools! ?? It looks promising, if it had gotten popular maybe they could have tooled up and made it reliable and cheap? Could they have beaten Hi Point?

  13. I would be incredibly curious what the recoil impulse of a gun like that is. I would think it very snappy because of the amount of slide mass vs the caliber. The frames are cool anyone 3D printing Musgrave repro parts yet?

  14. The Simplicity Could Easily Be
    Duplicated For Future DisArmed USA In Any Number
    of Lethal Calibers Via 3D Printer (Beware Future Fascist
    Politicians (could be a silenced โ€œWellRod 22LRโ€ IMHO) ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผโœ๏ธ๐Ÿ™€โ˜ฎ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

  15. I will always say that the reason a country makes it so much trouble to even purchase a firearm, is because they are afraid of an armed citizen.

  16. A South African yeet cannon?

    Seriously, this pistol has very few parts, some good features, and the price was reasonable. I'll take one of those ever a Chicom Tokarev copy any day…pity they're so rare.

  17. A 1000 South African Rand in 1994 is about 300 USD today.

    300 for a tokarev, a safe, 2×4 and concrete mix? That's a steal

  18. wait so it goes like this in South Africa at the time…..

    Government: here are basic requirements to own a firearm

    gun shop/industry: ok hey everyone here's a quick rudimentary training program and very budget priced gun

    Government: yep works for us ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ

    shit compared to the "great" Clinton ban & bullshit pushed today South Africa got guns & government involvement in people's right to have one correct

  19. Right I think if some nigga is living in a mud hut a safe and a handgun should be the least of their concerns.

  20. They didn't normally own pistols during apartheid because the country hadn't been destroyed by Mandela yet. Apartheid worked and blacks flourished then that was all destroyed by US liberals and a psychotic terrorist that bombed hospitals.

  21. Yip this was exactly how the Boers were sold out by the white liberals , the national party ! Now look at the brutal farm murders in south africa, on you tube.

  22. When I read the title, I thought this was a gun that was produced to be sold illegally. Talk about being mislead.

  23. Man, he did a pretty good job of dancing around the extremely racist reasons white people in SA wouldn't want the native south Africans from having guns. Nice job, Ian. ๐Ÿ˜‚

  24. And how did "we don't want to support domestic gun-makers" turn out for them? Are there less guns on the street in South-Africa? Is there less crime? I doubt it! I have friends who know people who were living there once and they say that crime is still pretty "normal" there, as are poverty, slums and drugs! ๐Ÿ™

  25. Is the missing setscrew an indication of reliability? Did the previous owner take it apart that often he left the setscrew off?

  26. White farmers would welcome having one or two musgraves to protect them from the new govt. that wants to give away there land with out paying for it

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