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

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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…

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