PAWS ZX-7: An American Sterling in .45 ACP

An American entrepreneur named Bob Imel found the Sterling SMG particularly interesting, and wanted to import them into the United States. He reached out to Sterling in 1967, but was unable to work out a deal before the 1968 Gun Control Act prohibited importation of machine guns. So instead, Imel decided to make them in the US. He tried to arrange a license with Sterling to do this, and finally gave up in the mid 1970s. Instead, he began making his own copy instead, under the company Police Automatic Weapons Systems (PAWS). Imel made a number of simplifications to the design, and also offered it in .45ACP (as the ZX-7, using M3 Grease Gun magazines) as well as 9mm Parabellum ( as the ZX-5, with variations using several different magazines, including Sten and Uzi).

Imel’s work was again cut short in 1986, when the Hughes Amendment closed the machine gun registry in the US. He again shifted, this time to closed-bolt semiauto models (the ZX-6 in 9mm and the ZX-8 in .45). In total, he made about 1200 guns; 400 transferrable machine guns, 300 machine guns for export and police sales, and 500 semi autos.

Today, we are looking at the very first ZX-7 made…


    • Apparently, yes.

      The sterling mag is curved, rather than tapered to accommodate the tapering 9mmP case, and has 2 rollers for the follower, and feeds from either side, rather than having a friction increasing taper to a single feed position.

      Single feed mags require a stronger follower spring, due to a sort of “gearing up” effect of squeezing the staggered columns of cartridges into the centre

      They’re also more susceptible to dirt and friction, and harder to load, compared with a dual feed mag, which you can just press cartridges into, or fill with a stripper.

      So, yes, STEn and greasegun mags were arguably not as good as proprietary sterling mags.

      • As an upside to using Sten, using and grease gun mags,

        Straight mags allow a longer mag housing, and better support for the mag, if someone decides to use the mag as a grip

      • Sterling magazine is one of two really successful magazines for SMG.
        But the M / 45 magazine is half as simple and cheaper.
        Probably, having burned all the fingers on the STAN, they blew on the cold.
        Although, the problem with the STEN logs was not in its design, but in keeping the correct geometry.

  1. Back to small caliber smg’s. I remember one of the Italian firms made a small pistol only(no stock) semiauto version/copy of the Sterling back around 1980 for the american market

  2. PAWS just has to be the absolute worst name for a gun manufacturer ever.

    When a potential buyer can confuse your name with some kind of puppy charity, you need to rethink your name.

    • In 1968, the underlying fear was of revolution from the Left. Based on FBI racist paranoia, not actual troop strengths. There were widespread rumors that Black GIs were smuggling weapons home from Vietnam to carry out The Big One.
      That’s why Reagan endorsed gun control in California, specifically to target the Black Panthers.
      Whites weren’t particularly feeling the itch to overthrow the government at the moment, so no problem.

  3. I imagine the Supreme Court has chickened out of considering the Hughes Amendment, because it seems to me to be entirely unconstitutional.

    The 1934 Miller case established that the 2nd Amendment protected arms suitable for militia use, but found (wrongly imo) that short barreled shotguns did not count. However, a full auto weapon is surely completely suitable for use by a militia member. For the life of me I cannot see it any other way, but then again I do not have the benefit of a Harvard education to enable me to argue that black is, in fact, white.

  4. “Constitutional”…
    I don’t see any difference.
    The Constitution, in fact, has long been an empty phrase and an imaginary fetish for the latest Boy Scouts.
    Any more or less expensive lawyer will explain to you in five minutes that “the Constitution cannot be regarded as a fundamental law, since it does not take into account the rights of the most unprotected fagots.” LOL

      • To the school where they teach very clearly, which doesn’t matter what the law says.
        The only important thing, is who will soon run out of money to pay for “lawyer’s services”. LOL

        And you can save your kindergarten tales “about justice, humanism and democracy” for kindergarten.

        • You have a very cynical view of life, if I may say so. It is only because of the 2nd Amendment that Americans have kept their gun rights.

          If you look back to 1900 most European states were happy to allow their citizens to own arms. That has all gone. Look at the massive gun confiscations in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand since the 1980s. It happened in English speaking democracies, but not the USA. There is a reason for that.

  5. I’ve been looking high and low for a Rear Sight for a ZX8. I thought a Sterling SMG would work but not. I’d love to have some dimensions or a drawing.

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