Spend just a few minutes on the phone with Ken Straight, and you’ll find yourself smiling. While I’ve never had a chance to meet the owner of Ken Straight Arms in Winter Park, FL in person, I did speak to him this morning about a break-in that occurred at his gun store yesterday, and he was surprisingly upbeat about the incident.
Despite having locks, tempered glass, and a monitored security system, a suspect managed to break into the store about 2:30 AM Thursday morning. The suspect stole a handful of firearms and fled before law enforcement could arrive.
While Mr. Straight felt violated as any victim of a robbery would be, he was very happy with the support he received from Seminole County Sheriff’s Department and ATF agents who helped process the crime scene and verify which arms were missing from his inventory.
He already has new security measures in place, and he’s promising to come back, “bigger, better, and stronger than before.”
But precisely which firearms were stolen from Ken Straight Arms?
According to a story by the Orlando Sentinel, a MAC-10 submachine gun was among the items taken.
Submachine gun, assault rifle among weapons stolen during gun-store burglary, cops say
A submachine gun and an assault rifle were among the firearms stolen Thursday during a burglary at a Seminole County gun shop, the Sheriff’s Office said.
A man dressed in black broke into Ken Straight Arms, 3744 Howell Branch Road near Winter Park, about 2:30 a.m., a sheriff’s report states.
He smashed glass display cases and stole a Mac 10 submachine gun and an AK-47 rifle, according to the report.
Also missing are at least four 9mm handguns, two .45-caliber handguns and a .380-caliber handgun. The business owner, Ken Straight, was still compiling a list of the stolen weapons Thursday.
This is a suppressed MAC-10, in the hands of former Navy SEAL and author Matt Bracken.
The MAC-10 (more accurately designated the M10) was a very compact .45 ACP submachine gun that was used by special operations forces in Vietnam and up through the 1980s. Its main selling point other than its size was that it offered respectable short-range firepower in a suppressed weapon when it was paired with the Sionics suppressor developed in conjunction with the gun. It wasn’t silent, but the reduction in noise made it difficult for enemies to tell where our special forces operators were by sound alone.
Unfortunately for Military Armament Corporation (MAC), the M10 never found success in the military beyond the special operations community, and the suppressed submachine guns were prohibited from export to foreign markets. Military Arms Corporation closed its doors in 1976.
The clever submachine gun ended up becoming wildly successful in Hollywood where it is typically stripped of its suppressor and hip-fired by actors playing gangster, but it simply didn’t find any commercial success as it was a heavily regulated firearm under the National Firearms Act of 1934.
So how did a submachine gun that was only used by elite military units and Hollywood actors—which hasn’t been produced in 38 years—end up in the a small gun shop in Winter Park, Florida?
Put simply, it didn’t.
It was never there.
At this point, people might be tempted to point the “finger of blame” at Orlando Sentinel reporter Susan Jacobson, accusing her of making up the gun or of sensationalizing the story.
But Jacobson swears that “MAC 10 submachine gun” was exactly what the Seminole County Sheriff’s report stated was stolen, and even though that claim was explicit, she was hesitant to run with the claim in the story. She promises to update the story and remove references to the MAC-10 (that correction has not yet made).
We’ve left a message with Heather Smith in the Public Affairs Office of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department, asking for a copy of the report on the burglary of Ken Straight Arms.
We’ll let you you if we turn up the origins of this mysterious submachine gun that never existed in real life, yet somehow made it into print.
Update: True to her word, Jacobson has removed all references to a “Mac-10” and “submachine gun” from the article.
Now, if we can only teach her what an “assault rifle” is…
A screen-capture of the original article is preserved below.
Update: I have the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department report. It does indeed claim that “he [Straight] was missing a Mac 10 sub machine gun and an AK-47 rifle.”
What was actually stolen was a MAK-90 (above), a semi-automatic Chinese rifle also know as the Type 56 Sporter derived from the AKM. Roughly 1 million were imported between 1990-1994.
Somehow the investigator writing the conflated the one rifle into two distinct weapons and came up with “submachine gun” competely out of thin air, even though the inventory of arms stolen were all conventional pistols, with the exception of MAK-90 itself