The Llama brand is in the process of being resurrected thanks to Philippine gun manufacturer, Metro Arms Corporation (MAC). Llama, which was founded in Eibar, Spain in 1904, had made a name for itself during the better part of the 20th century for manufacturing pistols based on John Browning’s recoil-operated design. However, the Basque firm’s apparent inability to keep up with modern trends in firearm design coupled with the global economic contagion of the late 1990’s caused it to close shop in 2005.
I recently visited the MAC factory in Paranaque City to meet with its CEO, Hector Rodriguez about completely different matters. It was during this visit that he told me that their medium sized but dynamic company had secured both the manufacturing and distributorship rights for the Llama brand. As both a gun enthusiast and an economic journalist, I immediately realized how big a deal this development was to the local manufacturing sector!
Following the closure of Llama, its engineers, gunsmiths and other employees (Fabrinor Cooperative) who took management control of the company, reportedly entered into an agreement with Bersa of Argentina to keep the Llama brand alive. But it did not take long until Bersa came out with its own revolutionary gun designs which found instant market success—and therefore manufacturing Llama pistols was apparently shelved.
Rodriguez was hesitant to reveal the nitty gritty of MAC’s arrangement with what is left of Llama’s shareholders. He did, however hint that they had practically purchased the Llama brand or something to that effect. Not only will “modernized” Llama pistols be rolling out of MAC’s factory soon, but the Filipino firm will also be exporting them to the United States and possibly Europe as well as selling them locally, he explained further.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that prototypes of two pistols bearing the Llama logo were just about completed. They consisted of a large-frame pistol in .45 ACP and a small-frame pistol in .380 ACP—both taking their cue from the M1911 but with modern touches! MAC chief engineer Jessie Salientes allowed us to handle and take pictures of the prototypes, which we intend to show to our readers soon. Watch for a more detailed article and first-ever photos of these two “born again” pistols here on Home Defense Journal!