Sunday, April 09, 2017

Exotic Weapon.

Just before midnight on Friday Saskatoon police were called to a break and enter at a garage on Cairns Avenue.  Although the suspect had left before they arrived the K9 unit soon tracked him down.  He was arrested and found to be carrying a firearm, switchblade, and crystal meth.  None of these by themselves are unusual, but the firearm he was carrying was.  Police say it was a 7.65 mm Skorpion machine pistol.

The Skorpion was a product of the Cold War era Czechoslovak arms industry, a weapon that could be carried in a holster, but capable of fully automatic fire.  It was intended for use by special units, vehicle crews, and others who needed a weapon more compact than a rifle, but with more firepower than a standard pistol.  It also reflected the Czechoslovak military's willingness to go its own way with weapons, not being a Soviet design and using a non Warsaw Pact caliber, 7.65 mm, aka .32 ACP.

The actual utility of such very compact automatic firearms has always been questioned.  They're bulkier than a standard pistol, yet their small size makes them hard to control on fully automatic.  Most people they've been issued to don't get the practice time to learn to use them effectively.  But the Skorpion proved popular, seeing a lot of export sales, including ending up in the hands of European terrorist groups like the Italian Red Brigades.

So where did the one seized early Saturday come from?  If it was one of the full auto originals it's a prohibited weapon in Canada, never sold legally, and not something you'd expect a street crook in Saskatoon to get his hands on in 2017.  On the other hand semi automatic only versions of the Skorpion have been produced for the civilian gun market, and apparently they have been sold in Canada as a restricted firearm.  So if it's one of those it was either stolen from someone in Canada, or imported illegally from the US, where they are also legal.

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