Hafdasa C-4

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Hispano Argentina Fábrica de Automóviles C-4
Armamento - Museo de Armas de la Nación 45.JPG
Type Submachine gun
Place of origin  Argentina
Service history
Used by EA
Production history
Designed 1938
Manufacturer Hispano Argentina de Automotives SA
Variants Fixed Stock / Underfolding Stock (C-4)
Rifle Stock (Z-4)
Machine Pistol (C-2)
Cartridge 9x19mm Parabellum
.45 ACP
Action Blowback-operated, Open bolt
Feed system 40, 50 round detachable box magazine
Sights Iron

The HAFDASA C-4 is a submachine gun of Argentinian origin and is chambered in 9mm and .45 calibres. It has an aluminum lower receiver and is fed from a wide box magazine (50 rounds for 9x19mm Parabellum rounds and 40 rounds in .45 ACP).[1] Its magazine insert has a dust cover that folds open forward to form a grip shrouding the front of the magazines. The C-4 was available with a fixed wooden stock, folding metal stock, full rifle stock and also came as a machine pistol


Originally it was derived from the HAFDASA 'Ballester-Rigaud C1' model submachinegun, based on the famous Beretta Model 1918/30 submachinegun that was used by the Policia de la Capital ("Capitol Police") and Policia de la Provincia de Buenos Aires ("Buenos Aires State Police"). The Army and Navy were impressed by the weapon and proposed acquiring a new natively-produced submachinegun of Argentinian design.

The Carabina Modelo 1 Ballester Rigaud (or C-1) had a hooded front sight and adjustable notch rear sight. It had a sling mount that ran across the left side of the weapon for ease of carry while prone. Instead of the folding bayonet of the Model 1918/30, it used a modified bayonet mount that could take a cut-down Mauser M1891 bayonet.

The Criolla ("Native") C-2 was the short-barreled machine-pistol version with an aluminum receiver and full pistol grip. They were originally semi-automatic, although it is known that some were modified at the factory for automatic fire. The receiver could be painted in green, black, or brown colors or was left "in the white" as dull aluminum for parades and ceremonies. It was originally designed for crews of armored vehicles.
The weapon is fascinating because it used three interesting concepts in its design.

  1. Using a synthetic material rather than using cured close-grained wood for the stock meant that they could be quickly made from a mold without needing machining and careful varnishing like wooden stocks would. They would also not warp or rot due to moisture like wood. The downside was that the stock would need to be carried with gloves in very cold or very hot weather due to the metal's conductivity.
  2. The large-capacity "coffin" magazine had two jointed feed lips and was divided down the middle into two spring-loaded stacks like the Suomi KP-31. The 9mm Parabellum magazine had two columns of 25 rounds for a total capacity of of 50, while the .45 ACP model had two columns of 20 rounds for a total capacity of 40. This was a high capacity, especially for the era. To keep dirt out of the magazine well when empty, a spring-loaded dust cover was flipped over it that fit flush against the magazine when loaded.
  3. An ambidextrous alternating bolt was part of the blowback mechanism. When pushed to the front, rotated to the left and pulled to the rear, it pushed down the left-side lip and fed from the left side of the magazine. When that side was emptied, the bolt could be pushed to the front, rotated to the right and pulled to the rear to feed from the right side of the magazine. Placing the bolt to the rear and straight up prevented the weapon from firing and acted as a crude safety.

Beginning in 1938, HAFDASA manufactured the C-4 Submachinegun, which was based on the C-2 design. It had the same forged aluminum frame as the C-2 but it had a long finned barrel with a muzzle compensator like the early Thompson SMG. It came with either a detachable wooden buttstock with a canvas sling or a ventrally-folding dual-strutted skeleton stock like the later MP-40 or AKMS.

The Z-4 was similar to the C-1, but it had a one-piece painted cast aluminum stock with a full forend and a semi-pistol grip (like the wooden stock of the M1 Garand).


Only 2,000 models of the Criollo were made in all variants. It was sold to the military and police, with many going to the Navy.


The C-4 was available with fixed and folding stocks.

The Army initially assigned the light weapon to its paratroopers. However, its design had a flaw: the cast aluminum receiver quickly became very cold at the high altitudes and vibrated painfully in the hands of parachutists who held it during jumps, and therefore ceased to be practiced.[2]

The Naval Academy Cadets used to parade with C-4s that had unpainted receivers and fixed wooden buttstocks. Their increasing rarity eventually reduced them to ceremonial weapons carried by the lead cadets.


The Z-4 variant came with a full length rifle-type stock and lacked the ribbed barrel and muzzle compensator.


  1. ^ *Julio S. Guzmán, Las Armas Modernas de Infantería, Abril de 1953
  2. ^ http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/3138/hafdasac4.jpg

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