Sanna 77: A Czech SMG Turned South African Carbine

The Sanna 77 was a semiauto copy of the Czech Sa 25 submachine gun. It was first produced in Rhodesia by the GM Steel company for the Rhodesian military. In this form, it was the GM-15 and GM-16 (available as either civilian semiauto or military full auto), and was made without and licensing agreement. The Rhodesian military wanted more submachine guns, and a captured Czech example looked like a simple and effective weapon that would be easily manufactured.

It appears that when the tooling was made for the GM-15/16, a second set was also produced, and brought into South Africa. In 1978, the Sanna 77 was put on the market as a semiauto only version of the GM-15/16. It differed only in the stock, which was a single polymer part (instead of a the metal stock of the Czech original and the Rhodesian copy). A substantial number were made and sold by 1983, when production ceased. The remain relatively common in South Africa today, although they have a poor reputation for reliability and virtually all of the stocks have broken.


  1. Interesting question… If once a “machine gun” then always a “machine gun” is the ATFE law regarding parts kits and availability… And so the parts minus receiver are shipped to U.S. surplus parts suppliers… Why not make a stockless version as a pistol, with a “stabilizing arm brace” like so many of the proliferating two-hand handgun/pistol types being marketed?

    The biggest problem would be engineering it to fire from a closed bolt, witness the Uzi carbine or the Sterling Mk.VIs marketed long ago in the U.S. … But a 40 rd. magazine of 7.62x25mm or 9x19mm as in the Czechoslovak samopal 23-24-25-26 type guns in a self-loading pistol would be a formidable arm.

  2. 0.56 – “they had Stens, they had Sterlings, they had (blip)”

    Any takers on what the blip was?

  3. Funny how Sanna 77 on stock is written in some western-cowboy font (!?), something you maybe could see on childrens plastic revolver toy gun.

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