The “Carlo” of Palestine

Yoel M. is a contributing writer for Silah Report, and is a firearms enthusiast based out of Israel. His first report on S.R. was about the Israeli “Hitchhiker” magazine.

A fatal stoning attack against a civilian car and its driver at the Jewish New Year eve, September 13th 2015, marked the semiofficial beginning of the “Third Intifada”, also known as the “Knife Intifada” or “Stabbing Intifada” or as more accurately could be could the “Individuals’ Intifada”. Unlike previous rounds of violence led by major terror groups like Hamas or militia groups associated with the Palestinian Authority, the “Individuals’ Intifada” attacks are almost exclusively done by lone wolfs or at most pairs of attackers, unlinked to any political or armed group. Mostly those attacks committed by young men and women are motived by social media networks.

The tools of those attacks are opportunistic by nature: knives, stones, vehicle-ramming attack etc. One of those tools is the subject of this article, the Carlo sub-machinegun. The Carlo (كارلو) is a homemade sub-machine gun slightly modeled and resembling the Swedish Carl Gustav M/45 (كارلوجستاف) – a well-known sub-machinegun in the Arab world with licensed produced by Egypt under the name ‘Port-Said’ and later under ‘Akaba’ & ‘Kara’ as the simplified versions.

As a sidenote the similarity in names and appearance between the real Carl Gustav M/45 and its watered down copy create great confusion among Israeli news organizations commonly mistakably identify and report a Carlo as factory made M/45. One news outlet even reported that the Sarona-market attack terrorist’s weapon of choice was a ‘recoilless rifle’! Clearly, the reporter copy-pasted from the first item Google had to offer when searching ‘Carl Gustav’ and came up with one of the recoilless rifles under the name of ‘Carl Gustav’.       


Israeli police first encountered the gun at the beginning of the 2000’s in the hands of Arabs criminals in the West Bank as a self-defense gun and for celebratory gunfire. The gun, its manufacturing, and usage weren’t on the police high priority list as the phenomena seemed contained within the West Bank and as an inner Arab problem. Police operations at the West Bank also fall in the thick border line between the civilian police and the Israel Security Agency (‘Shin Bet’) areas of jurisdiction. Up until the latest Intifada, there was a minimal effort of both organizations to cooperate.

Several shooting attacks, the most notable is the June 8th 2016 attack at the Tel Aviv Sarona market where two gunmen armed with Carlos murdered four diners proved the guns efficiency at very short range attacks against unarmored people despite being inaccurate and unreliable (one of the shooters at the Sarona market attack was even caught on camera angrily throwing his Carlo after it jammed after only a few rounds).


The common feature all known Carlos share is the ammunition, all known guns are chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum, which is the by far the most common pistol cartridge in Israel and used by all branches of the military, law enforce agencies, government institutions, security, private security companies and private gun owners.

The magazines used are mostly Uzi 25 rounds magazines, inserted to a magazine well in front of the pistol grip. Pistols grips appear to be high quality factory made durable plastic M16 pistol grips as well as some M16 telescopic buttstocks when the guns are stocked. The barrels are smoothbore, usually very short, barrels which are not much more than regular steel pipes.

All Carlos are full auto only fired from an open bolt, ejection port is locate on the top side of the gun and a short charging handle is locate at the gun’s right side and it reciprocating when firing. The question of why have a right side charging handle for a gun mostly used as a machine pistol? A right-handed charging port will gain no value of a charging handle at the right side he can’t easily charge with or clearing jams without buttstock and handgrip.

Since the gun’s ejection port on top a charging handle and its slot cutout could easily place left side enabling the shooter reciprocate the bolt with left hand while holding the gun right-handed. No clear answer, the first option is by trying to leech of the M/45 popularity the makers of the Carlo also copied the location of the handle scarifies functionality in order to resemble the recognized M/45.

Second option is that machine pistol concealed under a coat is best placed left of the body in order to pull it quickly (by a right-handed), having a left side handle will poke the user side so right side handle is preferable. Another source of speculations is what appear to be sort of rectangular upper hunch on the top rear part of the gun which is quite common for the higher end Carlos. Its purpose is unknown, it raised a bit the rear sight but noting that required such large protrusion. It maybe housing of some sort of crude delayed blowback mechanism, probably leaf spring, used to lower the fire rate of fire and make it more controllable gun.



Miles is the founder, editor, and local Khan governing Silah Report. He is quite found of obscure languages, dangerous locales, and fascinating small arms designs and uses.

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