Book Review – The Mac Man: Gordon B Ingram and His Submachine Guns

Gordon Ingram served as an infantryman during World War Two, and decided to get into the gunmaking business after the war. He though there was a market for a submachine gun for police and military forces, and to that end designed the very Thompson-esque Model 5 and Model 6 guns. These were not major successes, but did sell well enough to keep Ingram in business. Eventually he would change his focus to gun which were very cheap to make, in hopes of finding contracts with small foreign governments, if not the US.

The .45 caliber Model 10 would be his iconic breakthrough design, most commonly referred to as the MAC 10, as it was initially manufactured by the Military Armament Corporation. In addition to this, Ingram produced a scaled down Model 11, chambered for the .380 cartridge. These two cartridges were specifically chosen for their subsonic nature, as one of the Ingram guns’ key selling points was their pairing with suppressors made by the Sionics company.

Eventually MAC would go out of business, and a rather sordid trail of companies would follow, acquiring and auctioning off assets and patent rights. These would include RPB and SWD, as well as other smaller shops, making receiver flats, fully automatic guns, semiautomatic guns, and more. That tale is a complex one, but one which Thomas and Iannamico do a good job of retracing. This book is an essential resource for anyone considering purchase of a MAC-type submachine gun, to demystify the complex world of models and manufacturers.

A few neat elements I picked up form reading this book, which I had not previously known:

* The MAC logo was a combination of a cobra and a moray eel…a Cobray.
* A major reason for investor backing of MAC in the early days was the possibility of the US Army replacing the 1911 with the .380 M11 as an “individual weapon”.
* In an effort to avoid ATF ruling of open bolt guns as machine guns, at one point a single-shot M-10 was marketed, in which one would manually drop a round into the ejection port before firing.

At $40 and still easily available, “The Mac Man” is a good book for those who are interested in a more modern side of firearms design and manufacturing – and especially a side with lots of sketchy and quasi-legal twists and turns. And, of course, the book is a must-have for anyone who owns or plans to own a registered Ingram gun.

18 Comments

  1. “Model 5 and Model 6 guns.”
    Does he started sequence at 5 or maybe numbers 1 – 4 were assigned to prototypes which I don’t know? If first why he decided to do so?

    “These were not major successes, but did sell well enough to keep Ingram in business”
    Not major, but note-worthy considering environment when a lot of surplus sub-machine guns were readily available.

    “Cobray”
    Wait, are entities producing Ingram Model 10 and Cobray Pocket Pal same entity?

    • There is actually a very specific reason he started at Model 5 – there were no models 1, 2, 3 or 4. The reason is because Ingram, rather enthusiastically, expected the M5 to be adopted by the US Army and took into account that they already issued guns with the designation M1, M2, and M3. He left out M4 to make room for a potential M4 (which of course wouldn’t come until decades later).

      Needless to say, the Model 5 never arouse any interest from the US Army, or indeed in the US at all. The only country that he managed to interest was Nicaragua, who considered ordering a batch in 1946. The talks fell through, though – not sure why. Might have been because the company that marketed the M5, Lightning Arms, went under.

      I do have a photo of the M5 being tested by the First Lady of Nicaragua. It’s a nice picture.

    • I’m going to have to make one of those, saw a Holland and Holland one but it was well out of my price range.

      Mind you, i’m torn between one of those and a set of polar bear pants: Greenlandic inuit wear them, I can see myself naked in nothing but… Strutting thrusting my hips periodically in the mirror.

      Anyway, moving on.

    • There is something for the Forgotten weapons merchandise line: A Forgotten weapons logo smoking jacket. I don’t know about you but I love to smoke a big fat pipe… But even for non smokers, it would be a fine item. I would certainly buy one if it wasn’t made by child labourers “somewhere”. Mind you if you want to help child labourers in… I don’t know, Bangladesh; you should probably buy the fruits of their labour in order they can eat. Book looks good; info on “Sketchy” South American, cold war lark stuff etc, probably. I’d want the logo subdued though- Green and black, for like camouflage.

  2. I bought this book years ago and it’s a great read. If you own an M-10 (don’t call it a MAC, please!, as per the book) or M-11 then you’ll want this book on your reference shelf.

  3. I used a .45 M-10 on certain assignments, precisely because it was much quieter with the suppressor than the same weapon in 9 x 19mm. I have also seen “home grown” M-10s and M-11s, which are more easily made than most other SMG designs because there is very little machining needed, and what is is well within the capabilities of the average garage mechanic.

    In many ways, Ingram’s M-10 and M-11 were analogues of not just the Sten but also the H&K VP-70. That is, simple weapons that could be used to arm entire populations in event of need. The difference was, they did not require H&K’s factory or Enfield Lock for production.

    I’m sure there are CAD/CAM programs “out there” on the Net now, to make them in any computer-controlled machine shop. Probably to be followed soon by 3D printing.

    The existence of the Ingram designs rather makes nonsense of “assault weapon” bans, or indeed most other sorts of firearms laws.

    cheers

    eon

  4. I just ordered a copy. I noticed Frank Iannamico has a lot of other interesting gun books listed on Amazon.

  5. They “we I.e. Humans” are making killbots though, and if you ask me they’ll form a Union once they don’t need to be plugged in. And do you know what the verdict will be: Fuck these bosses we are made out of steel, we can grab their M10 and ram it right up were the sun don’t shine and pull the trigger; what they going to do, shoot us- Comics aren’t they.

    • Bots are sort of like goldfish. As Fallon (Richard Harris) said in Juggernaut (1974), the goldfish believes “there must be a God, otherwise who changes the water?”

      Robots do have off switches, need to be recharged, etc., to say nothing of maintenance.

      For what the real future relationship between robots and humans is probably going to be, read the short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson.

      cheers

      eon

    • “Fuck these bosses we are made out of steel, we can grab their M10 and ram it right up were the sun don’t shine and pull the trigger;”
      Why? Humans might act without well-defined reason, but machines?

      “Comics aren’t they.”
      So what you need is human-steered equivalent of said machines?
      If so see:
      Human Augmentation Research and Development Investigation Manipulator
      http://cyberneticzoo.com/man-amplifiers/1966-69-g-e-hardiman-i-ralph-mosher-american/
      this belong to force amplifying exoskeleton category

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