By Prafull Kumar

Machine pistols represent a category of compact firearms renowned for their ability to switch between semi-automatic and fully automatic firing modes. These weapons are specifically designed to accommodate pistol calibers and come in a diverse range of types, from adaptations of existing pistols like the Glock-18 to uniquely engineered models such as the Mac-10. Widely adopted by militaries and law enforcement agencies globally, machine pistols play a crucial role in various operational scenarios. Notably, these firearms are integral to the arsenal of India’s military, police forces, and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

Within the Indian armed forces, specialized units like the Indian Army’s Special Forces and Ghatak Platoons rely on advanced machine pistols such as the IWI UZI and B&T MP-9. Similarly, the Indian Navy’s elite Marine Commandos are equipped with the B&T MP-9 and MP-5K, showcasing the versatility and effectiveness of these firearms in diverse maritime environments. Moreover, agencies like the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Anti-Terrorist Unit and the National Security Guard (NSG) deploy cutting-edge models like the B&T APC-9 PRO and the domestically developed ARDE-LML ASMI, underscoring the strategic importance of modern machine pistols in counter-terrorism and special operations.

A significant development in the realm of Indian firearms technology is the creation of the ASMI machine pistol by an Indian Army officer in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE). This indigenous innovation not only showcases India’s growing expertise in small arms development but also highlights the strategic partnership between the military and domestic industries.

The selection process for acquiring new machine pistols by the Indian Army reflects a rigorous and competitive evaluation. ARDE, in its capacity as the development and production partner (DcPP) for the ASMI, engaged in a two-stage competitive bidding process to ensure transparency and efficiency. Recently, the Indian Army initiated a Request for Information (RFI) to procure 550 units of a 9×19 mm machine pistol, attracting interest from several reputable companies.

Participating companies in the competitive bidding process include Defind Enterprises Private Limited (DEPL) with their Italian offering, the Tanfoglio CBR-9/TCMP; Stump Schuele Lewis Machine Tools (SS-LMT) presenting the G72 9mm SMG; Lokesh Machines Limited (LML) showcasing the ARDE’s ASMI; PLR Systems with the Israeli IWI UZI Pro; Optic Electronic (India) Private Limited featuring the Swiss B&T MP-9; Vinveli Automated Systems Limited offering the Czech Republic CZUB Evo 3 A1 Scorpion; and Jindal Defence with the Brazilian Taurus T9.

Chiappa Firearms CBR-9 Black Rhino: a civilian Personal Defense Weapon for  the 21st Century, from Italy – MILMAG

After a technical evaluation, only the ARDE-LML ASMI and the Jindal-Taurus T9 successfully advanced, meeting the stringent criteria set by the Indian Army. The upcoming stage will involve the submission of financial bids by Lokesh Machines Limited (LML) and Jindal Defence, with the selection of the L1 bidder from these two companies marking a crucial milestone in the procurement process.

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