Sure, Ruger has built plenty of pistols, rifles and shotguns, but did you know they also made a handy little submachine gun for a while? It is true. The guns name was the MP9, and its inventor may surprise you.
Why make one of these?
In the 1980s, Ruger was very keen to attract law enforcement and military sales. It was always rumored that Bill Ruger himself thought that the Mini-14 should have been chosen to be the US Army\'s standard rifle after Vietnam. The P85 series pistols came about from the US military handgun trials that led to the adoption of the Beretta 92 as the Department of Defense\'s M9.
With the above in mind, at the same time, police forces across the country were rapidly establishing SWAT teams and SRT units. These small, specially trained groups would be sent into harm\'s way, often engaging serious threats at close quarters. For this, they liked compact 9mm submachine guns like the S&W Model 76 and HK MP5. Well, if Smith and the Germans could make a sexy little 9milly burp gun, by gosh Ruger could too. Better yet, old Bill had an ace up his sleeve.
(The UZI was the basis for the Ruger MP9)
The name Uziel Gal may not ring a bell but his work in firearms is famous. This man, a retired Israeli Defense Forces Colonel in the 1940s invented a 9mm submachine gun that used a telescoping bolt to keep its overall length down. His gun was named the UZI, after him. By the 1980s, Col. Gal was living quietly in the United States but still dabbled in firearms design to fill his free time. One of his projects was a gun for Ruger.
His design, labeled the MP9 (Machine Pistol, 9mm), externally and internally looks much like the UZI. It had a centerline pistol grip through which a 32-round magazine fed through to the action. A very neat folding stock compacted under the end of the weapon when not in use and extended out when needed. Its short barrel was spring-loaded and detachable to form a shock absorber when the bolt of the gun went cyclic at speeds of up to 600-rounds per minute. Unlike the UZI, however, the MP9 fired from a closed-bolt to keep the ATF happy.
Another improvement to the MP9 was in the fact that the lower receiver was of high-impact Zytel polymer, rather than the stamped steel used in the UZI. This made the gun lighter and less expensive, while also allowing a forward grip to be molded directly into the frame.
- Caliber: 9x19mm Luger/Para
- Weight: 6.6-pounds empty
- Length (stock closed/open): 14.86-inches/ 21.97-inches
- Barrel length: 6.84-inches
- Rate of fire: 550-650 rounds per minute
- Magazine capacity: 32 rounds
- Effective range: 50-100 meters
Getting your own
It appears that Ruger only made this gun for two years (1995-96) and no hard production numbers can be verified. Figures banded about on different websites state that \'less than 2000\' came off the lines. While it was begun in the 1980s, the Hughes Amendment came about in 1986, which banned all new production machine guns from being sold to civilians. This is why you see \"Pre-1986\" and \"Post-1986\" in ads talking about Class III weapons.
With the civilian market unreachable due to Hughes, Ruger could only market the MP9 to military and LE sales.
The thing is, by 1995 when they finally made it to production, most departments were getting away from 9mm subguns and moving to short-barreled 5.56mm carbines. As far as we can tell, no department adopted it but a few did find their way into the Department of Justice because they have popped up from time to time in the hands of Federal agents. The Ruger room-broom does look very cool and as such, it has made cameo appearances in many films, TV shows, and video games ranging from I, Robot to Battlestar Galactica to the Hitman series.
This left the few MP9s out there as Post-1986 Dealer Samples, which makes them rare and very hard to come by. Ruger could have given the MP9 a longer 16-inch barrel and sold it in semi-auto only as a carbine to the civilian market, or just dropped the collapsible stock and sold a semi-auto only pistol, but elected to do neither.
To the tears of Ruger lovers everywhere.