Country of origin
Weight (with loaded 50 round magazine)
Weight (with loaded 100 round magazine)
Length (with 50 round magazine)
Length (with 100 round magazine)
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
50 - 200 rpm
50, 100 rounds
Range of effective fire
is a small American company, manufacturing firearms. It was
established in 1982 and released its first weapon in 1985. It was
originally designed as a submachine gun, but evolved into a line of
unusual pistols, semi-automatic carbines and submachine guns with
helical high-capacity magazines. The Calico
company offers an entire family of firearms based on the same
design. The M950 submachine gun was
the baseline product of this company proposed for military market
and law enforcement forces. It was introduced in the late 1980s or
early 1990s. The Calico weapons
have a number of advanced and even revolutionary features, as well
as unusual styling. However there were significant reliability
issues with these weapons. Eventually for various reasons these submachine guns were
not adopted by any country and were produced only in limited
numbers. Sales of civilian versions were also not so bright.
M950 submachine gun uses a roller-delayed blowback action used in
& Koch MP5 submachine gun, and some other Heckler & Koch
weapons. This weapon is chambered for a 9x19 mm ammunition.
unusual feature of this weapon is its magazines. The Calico
submachine guns are fed from detachable high-capacity helical
magazines. It is available with 50- or 100-round capacity magazines.
The idea behind this weapon was the volume of fire. Back in the late
1980s and early 1990s such magazine capacity was impressive and the
weapons looked like from the space age.
located at the top of the weapon. This feature allowed to reduce
overall size of the weapon. Furthermore the center of gravity is
located directly over the shooter's wrist, providing great balance
of the weapon. Spent cases are ejected downwards through a special
port located in front of the trigger. On top of the magazine there
are some small vision blocks, that allow to make a quick estimate on
the remaining ammunition. Translucent magazines are also available.
contains a helical glide grooves at its inner walls, with the
rotating central follower that causes the cartridges to follow the
helical track inside the cylinder. Such design allows to store 50 or
100 rounds in relatively compact package.
magazine is loaded the shooter has to wind it up. There is a special
winding handle on the magazine. It takes 10 times to wind the
50-round magazine and 23 times for the 100-round magazine. With
unwound spring the magazines can be stored fully loaded indefinitely
without the spring fatigue. The spring tension can be released with
a push of a button.
company offers a speed loader for its magazines. When the speed
loader and an open box of ammunition are used, the 50-round magazine is
loaded within 15 seconds and the 100-round magazine is loaded within 30
company patented design of its unusual magazines. However the
design was soon copied and cloned. Russian
CF-05 submachine guns use similar magazines. Though the Bizon is fed from the bottom, rather than from the top. North
Koreans even use helical magazine for their
this weapon is made of glass-filled polymer. Also all the controls
are well laid out. It is comfortable to shoot and has mild recoil.
submachine gun is
extremely compact and light considering its firepower. Even though
the Calico M950 functions like the Heckler & Koch MP5, and has two
times and even tour times the magazine capacity, it is in fact
lighter than the MP5 or
of the Calico submachine guns is that these weapons proved to be
notoriously unreliable. The weapons tends to jam due to the feeding
problems. The crops of the problem lie in its unique magazine. There
was something fundamentally wrong about the cycling of the
ammunition. Also the magazines are cumbersome.
safety switch and fire mode selector is located in front of the
trigger, on the triggerguard. This switch is fully ambidextrous. A
non-reciprocating cocking handle is located on the left side of the
military and law enforcement versions of this weapon are capable of
semi-auto and full-auto firing. There are also various
semi-automatic only versions intended for civil customers.
M950 is easy to clean and to maintain. All models of the Calico
pistols and submachine guns can be easily field stripped in a few
seconds without using any tools.
M950 submachine gun comes without stock and as a result had poor
firing accuracy. Improved version of this weapon, the M960 is available with a solid
submachine gun also has unusual iron sights. The rear sight post is
fixed directly on the magazine. The front sight is adjustable.
Though due to the unusual design the Calico submachine guns have a
very high sighting line, which reduces accuracy. Also the baseline
submachine gun lacks buttstock. As a result the weapon is not
particularly accurate. Range of effective
fire is 50 meters. Maximum effective range is 100 meters. Despite
poor accuracy due to its high capacity magazine
the M950 has got a lot of firepower and provides the volume of fire.
submachine gun can mount a laser pointer or sound suppressor. An
optical sight can be mounted via an adaptor.
M950 submachine gun is a baseline version capable of semi-automatic
and fully-automatic firing. This weapon comes without stock.
Sometimes it is also referred as an automatic pistol.
semi-automatic only pistol version.
semi-automatic only carbine. It has a longer barrel than the pistol.
is a semi-automatic only carbine with a solid stock.
submachine gun with a telescopic stock and longer barrel. Due to the
added buttstock this weapon is more accurate than the baseline M950.
Furthermore the stock is located directly behind the barrel
centerline. Such design greatly reduces recoil effects. The weapon has very little to
no muzzle climb even when firing in fully automatic mode. The same
design feature, when the stock is located behind the barrel
centerline, was used on the
rifle and some other weapons.
M955AS submachine gun with a solid stock and longer barrel.
is a submachine gun with additional forward grip. It is based on the
previous M950 and has some minor improvements over its predecessor such as
additional forward grip. Buttstock is present on this weapon. It was
introduced in 1990.
submachine gun with a telescopic stock and a forward grip.
M960AS submachine gun with a solid stock and a forward grip.
Liberty series of a semi-automatic only civilian weapons. These are also
fed from 50- and 100-round capacity magazines. These weapons are
available with various buttstocks and barrel lengths. In 1994 the Federal
Assault Weapons Ban was introduced. It restricted civilian firearms
to 10 round capacity magazines and made sale of the Calico weapons
for civilian customers illegal. Though the legislation expired in
2004 and the company is again producing and selling these unusual
weapons with high capacity magazines for civilians.