I’ve always thought the select-fire Cristóbal rifle, a neat little gun chambered in .30 Carbine produced in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s, was interesting.
Italian merc Elio Capozzi (U.S. HBT camo and AR-10) speaks with a Dominican rebel with a Cristobol Carbine, 1965, image from LIFE Archives
The Armería F. A. San Cristóbal produced about 200,000 of these carbines, a big number considering the Dominican Republic never fielded more than 40,000 troops
Designed by exiled Hungarian firearms engineer Pal Kiraly (who made guns for SIG back before WWII and then the Danuvia 39M and 43M models of lever-delayed blowback submachine guns for the Royal Hungarian Army during the war), the gun wound up being used in a few weird places including Baptista-era Cuba.
San Cristobal carbine on display at US Army Airborne Museum at Fort Benning. The Army captured a few of these back during the U.S. Intervention in the DR in 1965-66 (great 250-page U.S Army paper on that here) and click on the image to big up if you want
Well, it seems some of the Dominican Republic-made ammo wound up in Ethiopia at some point, because RTI now has some on hand for a price ($39 per 50-round box) that is sure to make bullet collectors interested.
The boxes certainly are eye-catching, stamped by the San Cristobal Arsenal:
Here we see a lovely Pal Kiraly-designed MKPO made in Neuhausen, Switzerland, by Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG).
The mags fold up into a recess in the forearm
Only 1228 of these guns were produced between 1933 and 1941. This one is the MKPO, the short barreled variant, serial number 1162. We can assume it was made in 1941. Caliber is the very hard-hitting 9x25mm Mauser and they were capable of firing at 900 rpms. Photos Sourced from James D. Julia Inc.
Note, magazine folded up
Interestingly enough, one of the largest users of these innovative machine carbines was the Pontifical Swiss Guard who still keep a very well preserved rack of these in their armory to this day.
SIG MKPO subguns on bottom left with their mags folded up into the forearm and MP43 44s top left ready to go in the Swiss Guards armory. Note the two-handed swords to the right
For more on the arsenal of the Swiss Guard, see my article over at Guns.com
Also of note, Pal Kiraly was a Hungarian who later fled to the Dominican Republic and designed the San Cristobal carbine for bad old Trujillo, who thought himself a bit higher up the food chain than the Pope, at least as far the DR was concerned.