The Vault

San Cristobal Carbine (Model 2)

The San Cristobal armory was a surprisingly large-scale arms manufacturer set up in the Dominican Republic in the late 40s. They produced several different weapons, but the most common was the Model 2 Cristobal carbine. Designed by Pál Király, it was a lever-delayed blowback mechanism chambered for the US .30 carbine cartridge  (7.62x33mm).

When the bolt begins to move rearward, the lower short arm of the inertia-lever leans against the stationary shoulder of the breech-encasing. The rearward movement of the bolt causes thus rearward rotation of the inertia-lever, the upper long arm of which pushes violently rearward the heavy striker. the inertia of this latter makes itself in a degree , increased according to the lever age of the two arms of the inertia-lever. By this arrangement , the bolt offers a s great a resistance to the recoiling cartridge case, as if the inertia and its weight would be three to five times greater than it is in reality. The inertia- lever very efficiently delays the opening of the bolt and reduces to a convenient degree its recoil velocity. The bolt offers very efficient support to the bottom of the cartridge case, permitting the adaptation of the weapon for a comparatively high- power cartridge.

Several hundred thousand were produced, and they were a popular weapon in central and south America. Unlike the US M1 Carbine, the Cristobal used a magazine mounted at slightly less than 90 degrees to the barrel. Most of the carbines produced were select-fire, with a front trigger for semiauto fire and a rear trigger for fullauto. A semiauto only variant with a single trigger was also produced. A good history of the carbine and the Dominical arms production industry is available at Manowar’s page on Hungarian weapons.

We have a bunch of photos of the bolt mechanism, as well as a few historical photos and clippings. These include a photo of Fidel Castro (pre-revolutionary Cube was a large purchaser of Cristobal carbines) with several armed soldiers – we’re not used to seeing historically significant people with the weapons we usually focus on.

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New York Times column on the opening of the San Cristobal factory (July 3, 1950)

San Cristobal official description (English)

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