Apart from stopping the entry of illegal firearms in the city, the Mumbai police have a new challenge — dealing with the sophistication in country-made weapons, which brings them on a par with factory-made weapons.
According to crime branch sources, the sophistication is a result of help from workers at ordnance factories, where government weapons are made. Unlike the earlier firearms, which were mainly pipes and other metals assembled together using welding machines, the improvised weapons have better grooves in the barrel to increase the velocity, are more accurate, and with high fire power.
“The spring technology in magazines, combined with the better muzzle and new trigger mechanism, has helped overcome the impediments in crude weapons. The new-and-improved weapons do not lock or explode if a bullet fails to exit the barrel,” said an officer.
Most of the illegal factory units operate from Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Madhya Pradesh (MP). Officials said villages around Azamgarh in UP and Sendhwa in MP act as havens for cheap illegal weapons, providing guns even to the Maoists in several parts of the country.
Crime branch officials said while manufacturing a firearm is easy, getting ammunition for it is difficult.
“Often, the groups get empty shells of fired cartridges from scrap dealers, which are then reshaped and filled with gunpowder. The bullets are sealed with a lead base, instead of brass. Also, some of the seized rounds belong to ordnance factories, hinting at pilferage,” said the officer.
In the absence of unique serial numbers, tracking the ordnance factory, where the rounds were made, becomes tough.
Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police, crime, said, “We are keen on curbing the violence that takes place with the use of an illegal weapon. The whole force is jointly working towards it.”