In 1967 the Armed Forces of the Philippines built the Government Arsenal, DND, in Camp Luna in Lamao, Limay, Province of Bataan, about 120 km from Manila by land, 70 km from Subic Naval Station and 90 km from Clark Air Force Station. The factory by 1971 was producing small arms ammunition for the AFP and today cranks out 5.56mm (M855, M193, Blank ammo); Cal. .45 M1911 ball, 7.62mm (linked & loose), Cal .30 M1 (the PI still has over 35,000 M1 Garands issued) and Cal. M2, 9mm parabellum.
However, since 2011, the Arsenal has also been modding and refurbing the PI’s legacy firearm inventory, much of it WWII surplus.
The main rifle of the AFP is the M16/M4 in a number of variants. Between 1974-1986, a local company, Elisco Tool Manufacturing Co.made 150,000 M16A1s for the Philippine Government under license from Colt. As part of the license agreement, in addition to the TDP Colt provided technical assistance to establish the manufacturing line.
The AFP also used locally made M7 bayonets, marked with the country crest. More info on those here
In 1983, the company picked up ArmaLite’s remaining production line at a fire auction and started making AR-18s, though not for PI military use.
These M16A1s have been the backbone of the AFP for 40 years, and have seen much use in rough conditions. To augment the aging 5.56 eaters, 63,000~ new Remington R4 (
semi-auto only select-fire M4s) have been acquired in the past few years with DND doing in-house upgrades on them including installing slings, Troy flip-up backup iron sights (BUIS) and EOTech optics.
AFP troops in Mindanao firefight with a Remington R4. Good TD
But wait, there’s more!
They have also been reworking old Elisco Colts into two new versions for use by police and military forces:
Worn out AFP M16A1s. Note they are largely “in the white” and you have some obvious handguard issues
They become the new 16″ Mid Length Carbine
Or the SDMR
Note the Israeli style slings. Also, odds are the OD green as well as the 16-inch barrels, and M4 style collapsable stock are more welcome in the jungle environment than black A1 “Mattel” furniture and 20-inch barrel.
Note the old Elisco Tool markings
Old 1911A1s are getting similar treatment.
WWI?WWII-era M1911A1s, the newest of which was made in 1945. You can bet the ones taped together have long since lost their internals, cannibalized to keep other pistols working.
Speaking of new, the serial number on the pre-owned Ithaca is in the 1945 run.
It’s a shame as those old 1911s were collectible war vets, but you have to admit these upgrades are night and day differences. You work with what you have I guess, although it could be argued they could have sold the WWII era guns on the milsurp market and bought brand new PI-made Rock Island/Armscor 1911s, but hey…
Then there is the Arsenal’s M3 Grease Gun updates for the PI Marines:
Philippines modified M3 on the range– note suppressor. That’s just good clean fun there