The Ares Defense FMG ("Folding Machine Gun") was a novel attempt by a gun manufacturer to create a completely different sort of compact submachine gun solution. Ares, Incorporated - headed by famous gun designer Eugene Stoner (designer of the M16 rifle and M63 Stoner LMG) - was responsible for the work with design attributed to one Francis J. Warin. The project was born as a solution to counter the slew of kidnappings being encountered in South America throughout the 1980s. As such, the basic concept of a "folding machine gun" revolved around the idea of essentially arming civilians - in particular those high-level / high-value businessmen who typically ended as the targets of kidnappers - with a weapon that was highly concealable and brought into action within seconds, providing a first-and-last level of defense for the civilian. The weapon appeared in 1986 but never entered serial production.
The result of this work became the Ares FMG ("Folding Machine Gun") which utilized a basic blowback firing action, proving acceptable for a weapon of its size particularly when coupled with the ubiquitous 9x19mm pistol cartridge. The weapon was fed through either 20- or 32-round straight magazines with the magazine inserted into the pistol grip ala the Israeli UZI, balance attained by setting the grip, feed and trigger unit at the center of the gun's length (as well as the ejection port). It is worth noting that the 32-round magazine prevented the folding action from being achieved. The folding action of the FMG essentially divided the weapon into three major components - the receiver, the grip/trigger group and the hollow shoulder stock. The FMG featured a rate-of-fire of 650 rounds-per-minute with an effective range between 250 and 400 feet. A three-round burst function was incorporated into at least one prototype.
The Ares folding submachine gun was collapsed by pushing a lock button that released the shoulder stock, the operator moving the stock down and forward over the pistol grip. This coupled unit then was hinged to fold under the receiver to complete the portable, concealable rectangular shape. To unfold the gun, the operator merely pushed two unlocking buttons found along the front part of the receiver, pulling the shoulder stock unit down and rearwards, then up on its hinged to finally fix into place - completing the unfolding process. To keep the design as clear of protrusions as possible, no iron sights were fitted which was, more or less, an accepted concession considering the close-quarters nature of the fighting to be expected. The FMG folded down to a handy 10.3 inch length (262mm) and could be brought into action in as little as 3-5 seconds.
Though never entering serial production, it is believed that at least five working versions were constructed and tested. The first model accepted long, straight magazines from the World War 2-era German MP40 submachine gun. The second is known to have been designed with the UZI 9mm straight magazine in mind. Additionally, no variants were acknowledged beyond these few examples. Though an interesting concept for its time, the design obviously did not generate the anticipated interest in the market for the FMG to be developed any further - it seems it proved easier to simply hire security personnel trained for protection than to arm the average businessmen with an automatic weapon.
The Dave Boatman-produced M-21 folding submachine gun and the Russian PP-90 (9x18mm Marakov) all follow the same type of design philosophy as the Ares FMG though the Ares product has remained the most recognizable of the three.
Manufacturing Ares Defense Systems, Incorporated - USA
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