What are Model Guns?

In Japan during the late 1960s and 1970s there was a great interest in replica machine guns and self loading pistols. Various companies went about producing some of the most famous and infamous weapons from the 20th century.Amongst the most renown companies were the Model Gun Corporation (MGC) and Marushin. Because of the strict laws concerning blank ammunition in Japan these guns were originally designed to fire only paper caps pushed into heavy brass "dummy cartridges" sometimes four or five were needed to produce proper blowback effect.These brass cartridges are all re-useable however some cleaning and maintenance is needed.

The introduction of the plastic cap brought a new design in cartridge. These new (cp) type cartridge simply unscrewed in the middle and the many paper caps were replaced with a plastic cap containing 1g of gunpowder. These caps were in 5mm or 7mm according to the different calibre of cartridge they were fitted into. Also inside the cartridge was a simple brass valve that created the force for blowback.

What was unique to the Japanese guns is the attention to detail in the cartridge size, they are correct in shape and size to the originals which makes these guns very realistic.

Something in common with all modelguns is that they only had a firing pin mounted in the barrel or breech facing backwards, each cartridge was open at the front and was simply pushed onto this pin. For open bolt machine guns the force of the bolt pushing the cartridge onto this pin was enough to ignite the cap and produce the rearward movement of the bolt. For closed bolt smgs/ rifles and pistols the cartridge was pushed on the pin and then the force of the hammer dropping onto the back of the bolt/firing plate caused the cap to ignite. The most modern type cartridge even incorporated a "primer" which was struck and pushed inside the cartridge to ignite the cap.

Whilst the principal is very different to traditional blank firing guns the effect is similar although not as loud, as much less gunpowder is used. However the effect is just as realistic and many of these replicas are used on smaller budget movies, the only drawback is that the re-usable cartridges need to be collected and cleaned.

The term modelguns also relates to the fact that indeed some of these did originally come in a kit that had to be assembled prior to firing.

Are these legal in the UK?

Yes is the short answer: Basically none of these guns can ever be made to fire live ammunition. The majority of the older all zinc ones have completely solid barrel sections and they are made at a slightly different scale to the real ones so interchangability of parts is impossible. Also the fact that they are a zinc alloy, whilst making them look realistic would not allow them to withstand the force of a real cartridge going off and would most likely cause serious injury to anyone attempting it. The majority of the later guns incorporate parts in ABS reinforced plastic and while this makes them strong enough for use with the 1g caps, again they would not be able to withstand the forces created by real ammunition. Under current UK guidelines no modelguns are illegal and are allowed to be purchased and owned without a license. As with all replica or "imitation" guns these must be kept well away from the public to avoid a lethal response from the police. All of the guns on this web site are shipped with a red barrel plug to comply with the laws concerning the sale of such items. This complies to all UK guidelines and federal laws on the exportation of replica guns.