Imbel

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My dressed-up wad gun, originally a Springfield Armory (manufactured by Imbel in Brazil) 45 ACP 1911. The red dot scope on the top and the custom-fitted grips are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the modifications are concerned.

All Springfield-Armory firearms begin in Brazil. (Paraphrased from Wikipedia.)

Although it is extremely difficult to acquire firearms in Brazil, that country is, nonetheless, the source of a large percentage of weapons throughout the world.

In the 1970s, the Brazilian government sanctioned Imbel to be their sponsored and near sole supplier of such. But not limited to the country, Imbel built relationships with other countries and various weapon manufacturers. Springfield-Armory, the maker of the 1911 on which my wadder is based, is one such partner.

But in Brazil, the laws, fees and waiting periods mean that Brazilians rarely have, much less carry, firearms. On the contrary, most law abiding folks are defenseless.

So when confronted by a gun-wielding but otherwise petty thief, they hand over R$40-50 — about US $30-45 — which they carry for just such occasions. This is so common that most guidebooks for tourists recommend carrying “not less than” that amount for just such an occasion so you don’t anger the thief by not having enough.

So, the criminals in Brazil, like those in the US,  have handguns. But if they are easy for crooks to get them in the US but so hard to acquire in Brazil, how is it that so many small time crooks in Brazil are able to get them?

Well, several sources report that the manufacturer of those firearms is very often that same Imbrel who sells into neighboring countries at a steep discount, and then those weapons come back across the border illegally where they are sold to the criminals for significantly less than the exact same gun would cost if purchased legally in Brazil.

Where there is a will, and a profit to be make, a way will be found.

Laws don’t stop gun traffic and especially not when there is profit to be made.

I do it myself, albeit by carefully following the laws and rules.

At one point while planning my current business trip to Brazil, I wondered if I could buy an Imbrel 1911 directly from the manufacturer – on the cheap – and take it back to the US on the flight home and pay an import duty and, in the process, come out spending less than if I’d bought it in the US. But the answer is I would need to schedule a stopover outside of Brazil, maybe in Cartagena or Caracas or Concepcion, and find a dealer who would sell to a foreigner without taking me to the cleaners.

Considering that complicated, financially uncertain and possibly dangerous beginning, I abandoned the idea.

Crooks use guns to commit crime in Brazil because they know their victims cannot overcome such overpowering force. I carry the requisite R$40-50 in my wallet while in Brazil and ready to be forked over upon demand. (So far, I still have it.)

And while the same *might* be true in the US, petty thieves in the US also know that occasionally they just might pick on someone who will blow a hole through them.

Robert Heinlien wrote that an armed society is a polite society.

It works.

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