A Spanish trade attache told me in an interview about 10 years ago that bilateral trade between Spain and its former colony, the Philippines was a sorry state of affairs. The Spanish Embassy and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce were then busy trying to accelerate trade between the two nations—which share three centuries of history. He lamented that Spain’s only significant export to the Philippines at that time was Fundador Brandy!
Interestingly, I remember a time when the only two Spanish exports that came to mind was of course, Fundador… and the Llama .380 pistol! Some of you might recall that here in the Philippines during the 1970’s and 1980’s, the .380 ACP was practically synonymous with the Llama and the Walther PPK. But since the Walther was so much more expensive, the most common .380 in private hands was the Llama.
However, I realize that our readers are not interested in our bilateral trading partners or in walking down memory lane! So, let me show you the photos of two Llama pistol prototypes that recently rolled out of the Metro Arms Corporation’s (MAC) production facility in Paranaque City. Both pistols were not quite finished but these pictures should give you a sense of what is to come.
The first model featured here is a small framed M1911-styled pistol chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge. Llama originally designated this pistol as the Model III-A. It came with spur hammer and a grip safety just like the Colt M1911 A-1… only it was much smaller.
MAC engineers made sure, however, that the pistol’s latest incarnation would contain the refinements one would expect in a 21st century M1911-inspired pistol. These refinements include a skeletonized hammer, a beavertail grip safety, a “commander” hammer and Novak-style rear sights. We do not know as of press time what this handsome sub-compact will be called.
The other pistol you will see here is the new Llama Max-I… and it is very different from the original Max-I manufactured in Eibar, Spain during the 1990’s. Its main difference is that MAC’s version is a true M1911 clone chambered for the popular .45 ACP.
It can be recalled that Llama, during the turbulent years before its closure, came out with M1911-look-alikes in a bid to capitalize on the market’s demands at the time. However, while the original Max-I closely resembled the M1911… it had totally different specs and therefore, parts were not interchangeable. This reportedly proved to be a big mistake for Llama’s Spanish engineers—and may have hastened the Basque firm’s demise in 2005. Why make a product that looked like the real deal but cannot benefit from the endless sea of aftermarket parts and accessories made for the M1911?
In any case, the new Llama Max-I made here in the Philippines by MAC is a real M1911 A-1 in form and specifications. The unfinished pistol that I saw was a “military-styled” version, and therefore lacked common upgrades such as skeletonized hammers, beavertail grip safeties etc. But because it is a true 1911-clone, anyone seeking to enhance their new Llama Max-I would have no trouble purchasing parts that fit!
How times have changed indeed! Fundador Brandy is now owned by the Emperador Group of the Philippines and Llama Pistols are being made right here in Paranaque City! It just shows that Filipinos are capable of conquests of their own!