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Gunsmiths of Danao City, Philippines

 

Danao City is well-known for its gun industry. The industry started around 1905-1906. When World War II came, the Danao gunsmiths went underground, joined the guerrilla movement or were inducted into the Resistant Movement. Their main task was to re-chamber the Japanese Airsaka rifles to fit the US .30 caliber round or to keep the original Japanese rifle in good service. The industry went on, still underground. In the early 1990s the industry was legalized by the government, with the creation of two organizations of local gunsmiths. The organization now left with proper permit is Workers League of Danao Multi-purpose Cooperative (World MPC), in Dungguan, Danao City

 

We visited one of these factories in 2010. Traditional Gunsmiths still use the time tested methods of milling machines and lathes to make each gun by hand. It is a laborious process. Each gun may take 7 to 20 days to make depending on the complexity. Each craftsman makes a gun from raw material till completion. Should there be any problems with the gun, it can be traced to a particular craftsman.

These craftsmen were a dying breed. It is difficult to find young people who are interested to learn the craft and continue its tradition.

Sadly a few months after we visited this factory, it was burnt down and was not rebuilt.

 

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