You all know about the MagPul FMG9 – but did you know that there is a much earlier, and very similar weapon that came out of Eugene Stoner’s stable?

Looking like something from a 1960’s Bond film, the weapon in question was not designed by Eugene Stoner but an engineer named Francis J. Warin who worked at Stoner’s company ARES Inc. – at least, if the patent issued in his name in 1986 is anything to go by.

The gun was simply called the ARES FMG (Folding Machine-Gun) and the inspiration to develop it allegedly came from noting that many senior businessmen and VIPs were being kidnapped in South America in the early ’80’s.  The patent description however describes the weapon as being especially useful for undercover policemen.  In the end though, the weapon never entered full production and only 2 prototypes were made.  The gun certainly was ultra-concealable though – even with a 20-round Uzi magazine fitted it could be folded in on itself down to half its deployed size, ending up being similar in size and shape to a carton of cigarettes.

Even more interesting is that around the same time as the ARES FMG was being developed – and then shelved due to legal ramifications – another American gunsmith, by the name of David Boatman, developed a remarkably similar weapon known as the UC-M21. As well as the obvious external similarities, the M-21 and FMG are operated in much the same way as well.  Where they differ is in details such as the M-21 operator only needing to depress one button to fold / unfold the weapon.  The M-21 was also fitted with rudimentary sights housed in a detachable carrying handle, whereas the FMG had no sights.  The M-21 also had removable rear dust cover fitted with a fake telescoping antenna – this was designed to protect the gun’s mechanism from the ingress of dust and grit when stored or carried folded, and also to disguise the fact that it was a gun.  The M-21 also featured a set of sling swivels, whilst the FMG had none.

UC-M21 photos copyright Oleg Volk

Like the FMG before it, the UC-M21 fell foul of new Federal laws that prohibited the manufacture of new fully-automatic firearms that could be bought by qualified civilians after 1986.  As a result, both of these firearms are very rare and very valuable.