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Musgrave 9mm: A Gun for the Black Market

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In the brief couple of years between the election of a new black-majority government in South Africa in 1994 and the dissolution of the Musgrave company, it attempted to produce a new 9mm pistol to sell to the burgeoning market of black South African citizens buying handguns. Ownership of pistols by black citizens had been legal under apartheid, but was (not surprisingly) quite uncommon – this began to change in 1994. The most popular pistol at the time was the Norinco 213 Tokarev in 9x19mm, which was available in large numbers and at very low cost.

To compete against this, Musgrave designed a simple blowback, polymer framed pistol chambered for 9x19mm using Beretta 92 magazines (which Musgrave had a large supply of, being the license Beretta distributor in the country). The gun was extremely simple, held together with a handful of screws and using a single action only hammer-fired mechanism. It was a commercial flop, however – unable to match the quality and price combination of the Tokarev and only about 500 were made in 1995 and 1996.

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