Trejo Model 1 Machine Pistol at James D Julia

The Trejo pistols were made by a small family company in Puebla, Mexico from the late 1940s until the early 1970s. They made primarily .22 LR rimfire pistols, in both small (Model 1) and large (Model 2) frame sizes. They were basically styled after the Colt 1911, but with a more aggressive grip angle.

What makes the Trejos notable is that Mexican law allowed ownership of fully automatic rimfire firearms at that time, and so a subset of the Models 1 and 2 pistols were offered with a select fire switch. This doesn’t really have any practical use, given the 8-round magazine of the Model 1 (11 rounds for the larger Model 2) and the roughly 1200-round-per-minute rate of fire…but it does make for a fun recreational machine gun.

Registered fully automatic Trejos like this one are actually quite rare – I suspect because prior to 1968 when they were legal to import, most buyers probably just didn’t bother to register them. The NFA was less strenuously enforced back then, and the $200 tax would have been more than the guns cost. Changes to Mexican gun laws in the early 70s rather abruptly put the company out of business, ending the supply of new Trejos.

29 Comments

  1. “This doesn’t really have any practical use, given the 8-round magazine of the Model 1 (11 rounds for the larger Model 2) and the roughly 1200-round-per-minute rate of fire…but it does make for a fun recreational machine gun.”
    Does anyone tried to make higher-capacity magazines for it?
    Do you think that it can be used as… hmm… noise maker that is for deterrence by making sound?

  2. And if we talk about small-size machine pistol then let 1130:
    http://club.guns.ru/konovalov.html
    it is proof-of-concept by A.A.Konovalov, build from Makarov automatic pistol and it is blow-back operated but using peculiar arrangement, see 2 image from top:
    A) “classic” one, PPSh for example
    B) “wrap-around” one, Uzi, Ingram for example
    C) 1130
    dimensions of prototype are width,length – same as Makarov, height – +20mm, mass is 1020g (empty) and mass of moving parts is 400g. RateOfFire of 950 rpm was achieved, inventor suggest building sub-machine gun:
    -for 9×19 Parabellum or 9×18 PMM cartridge
    -barrel length 220-230 mm
    -rate of fire 600-700 rpm
    -possibly folding-up front grip
    BTW: inventor of this weapon judge RateOfFire of 450 rpm in sub-machine gun to be optimal for accuracy

    • That’s what I always wondered about these pistols said to be useless :
      8 rounds of .22 at 1200 to 1500 rpm are something like 8 pellets from a #1 buckshot.
      If I’m not wrong, at 3 meters on the torso, it would be quite the smack ! Especially facing a feral dog or a knife wielding dissipated pilgrim…

      I think that my own view on the subject is a good answer :
      Do I want one of these ? No
      Why ? Because I don’t want to spray a quarter pound of lead between two breath, I just want to save my life
      What’s the solution then ? A .38 special with a laser dot to mutilate a leg, not a harvester to tiller a torso.

    • One RPG sourcebook I have, in reference to SF weapons, describes a “polymer one-shot” pistol firing a round called the 2mm Screamer. Think, strip of stamped metal with a line of recesses, each containing a 2mm steel ball and a propellant charge. Pull the trigger and it rips through the strip like a belt-fed LMG, unloading 20 2mm ball bearings on the target in about 1 second.

      This would be pretty much the same thing, except the .22 LR probably would do more damage.

      I’d call it a gun you’d use then dump down the nearest sewer grate. In Mexico back then, it might have been common enough not to come back and say “hello” accompanied by the authorities.

      cheers

      eon

      • “One RPG sourcebook I have, in reference to SF weapons, describes a “polymer one-shot” pistol firing a round called the 2mm Screamer. Think, strip of stamped metal with a line of recesses, each containing a 2mm steel ball and a propellant charge. Pull the trigger and it rips through the strip like a belt-fed LMG, unloading 20 2mm ball bearings on the target in about 1 second.”
        This reminded me about QSPR:
        http://modernfirearms.net/handguns/double-action-revolvers/usa/qspr-silent-revolver-e.html
        however this weapon was rather one-hand-revolving-silent-shotgun (see description in link)

      • “2mm Screamer”
        I once have idea for .20 straight center-fire rimmed cartridge which should get high performance (for its size) from being relatively long, but still having overall length equal or smaller than .32-20 W.C.F. so it could be used in revolvers designed for .32-20 cartridge. Such cartridges should permit building of revolvers of high-capacity and reasonable size (width).

        • See .19 Calhoon Hornet;

          .19 Calhoon Hornet
          The .19 Calhoon Hornet is a .19 caliber rifle wildcat cartridge. The cartridge is based on a necked-down blown-out .22 Hornet cartridge. This provides less stretching, and greater case capacity with a lighter bullet. The result is a flatter trajectory when compared to the .22 Hornet. Having a larger bore than the .17 caliber centerfires helps mitigate some of the fouling problems that rifles in that caliber tend to have.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calhoon_cartridges

          26 grain bullet @ 3600 F/S for 770 FPE from a 20″ rifle barrel. Cartridge OAL is 1.47″ vs. 1.59″ for the .32-20.

          A Ruger Single-Six in this caliber would be a highly interesting small-game gun, don’t you think?

          cheers

          eon

          • I know that there exist several .20 cartridge (like for example .20 Hornet) but there are bottle-neck in shape (“straighting” .22 Hornet produce .270 REN) and I propose straight-walled .20 design to provide (relative) high capacity without monstrous cylinder.

  3. Being French, I don’t know the laws, nor the academic vocabulary, of the USA.

    Can someone explain me what means “tranferable” ?
    I always hear “transferable full auto”. Does the term “transferable” also applies for semi-auto ?

    • It specifically apples to fully automatic weapons. To a first approximation: there is a list of firearms– not models of firearms, actual unique-object firearms– that may be sold by one private citizen to another private citizen. (Intermediated by a specific class of firearms dealer.) The list was closed in 1986; no more may be added to it.

      Thus, it is legal for a US citizen with a clean record to go out and buy a fully automatic firearm… if he can find someone willing to sell one on the list. They tend to go for very high prices, and since the list was closed in 1986, the firearms themselves are all over thirty years old.

      In 2016, there were about 176 thousand firearms on the list, according to this letter from the Department of Justice. (From it, you can see that actually, “the list” I’ve been talking about is a subset of a larger database. Still, the list is often referred to as “The NFA registry”, even though that’s not a great name for it.)

      Most semi-automatic weapons may be bought and sold freely in most states, but some large polities– notably California– impose additional restrictions.

      • Thank you Stephan, it is much clearer now !

        In this document you showed me, we see post-86 machineguns being mentioned.
        Then post-86 civilian full auto firearms do exist in the USA, right ?
        They aren’t transferable so, what ? You can own them but not sell them ? Only registered armouries/associations/armorers/shooting ranges can own them ? They are registered semi-auto converted to full-auto by a special kind of armorer (as cinema supplies, for example) ?

        • Short answer: I don’t know.

          Longer answer: I believe the lion’s share of post-1986 fully automatic weapons are owned by law enforcement, with the rest owned by folks with specialized licenses. Beyond that: the text of the law itself is at 18 U.S. Code § 922 – Unlawful acts. What the exceptions listed really, honestly, truly mean to people on the ground is specialized knowledge I do not have. (I couldn’t even name the relevant licenses, let alone say what one has to do to get them or what they allow one to do.)

          • Ok, too bad. Laws are not made to be known by the people…
            Thank you though ! I now know what this word mean and you were very helpful

  4. I once had one of the semi auto Trejo pistols. It was cheaply made, and quite dangerous. It had a propensity to go off at any given time if one touched almost any control on it. I traded it off after one of its unintended discharges came about one inch from my foot. Just taking it out of a holster was dangerous.

    • No armorer could fix it ?

      In France, we had plenty of similar problems with pistols after the war : pistols that fired a shot when inserting the magazine, when closing the slide, when putting the safety on, etc.

      It was in fact pistols made by STO (“Service du Travail Obligatoire”, Malgré-nous workers of the third Reich) in France, Poland and Germany. Mainly Radom Vis wz.35, Walther P38 and other mass produced guns of the period.
      These were sabotaged to cause accident to the users or the surrouding people, as they were intended to serve the German army.
      As pistols are not used intensively during a war, they stood up to the armistice and ended up in civilian hands, were they did wrong to many innocent people in shooting ranges. Thus, french armorers (and I suppose in every other country where owning a pistol was possible) worked hard on securing these pistols by producing decent quality replacement parts to make them secure again. It’s not a problem anymore, now.

  5. Take a couple of mags from the parts kits, cut them up and weld them together, and you could probably make 15 rounders without too much trouble. Or a skilled machinist could design a longer mag, maybe even a mini snail drum. It does look like fun for sure, and affordable to feed. Buying it is another story.

    • The trouble is whether or not you could get away with claiming that you were simply buying a rim-fire pocket pistol that happened to have a “faulty trigger sear and safety catch.”

      I could be wrong, so feel free to ignore this post.

    • As Jeff Cooper once said of the Star Model MD selective-fire 1911 clone, you could just leave it on single-shot until you wanted to attract a lot of attention.

      cheers

      eon

  6. Interesting video, Ian. Thanks! By the way, it seems Armas Trejo resumed operation, producing .22 pistols; remains a small outfit (glorified Darra). They even have a Youtube channel:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZqXxiyD590
    Doesn’t know if they improved their build quality, but back in the day their .22 and .380 pistols were cheaply made, as William remarked above.

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