Scarce Spanish STAR Submachine Gun In The Pak-Afghan Region

Updated: 1 day ago

STAR, short for Star Bonifacio Echeverria, is a well known Spanish company which manufactured firearms for around 116 years, from about 1905 to 1997 when they closed up shop. The various firearm designs and platforms they manufactured, apart from some pistol designs, aren’t too common and don’t typically pop up in more out-of-the-way regions of the world. That being said, a small more unknown gem of theirs happened to end up in an arms dealership located in the infamous town of Darra Adam Khel in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, of all places.

As we know, the Khyber region has many more rare or antique firearms still lying-in various dealerships, now unwanted by the majority of buyers. However, the firearm in question isn’t your run of the mill rarity, this is a now out-of-production submachine gun, which according to some sources is thought to be an example of less than one thousand examples ever produced. This low production count makes it at least in the top-five rare firearms to be found in KPK or Pakistan in general, and possibly among the top-ten worldwide.

Fig.1.1. The Spanish STAR model Z-84: left face (Source: Khyber Armoury Database)

This firearm, or shall we more accurately say piece of moon dust, is the STAR model Z-84. This is a select-fire, gas-blowback operated, open-bolt submachine gun with a magazine holding 25 or 30 rounds and is chambered in the widely used 9×19mm cartridge. It has been said that it was also available in the Spanish 9mm Largo cartidge also. The submachine gun was manufactured from around 1984 up until the closure of the company in 1997. There are two variations or configurations which were produced, one being the Largo with a longer barrel length of 270mm and the other being the Corto with a shorter barrel length of 215mm. The STAR model Z-84 in the Corto set-up seems to be the one we have pictured. Due to the rarity of the firearm and lack of proper documentation, the details available are minimal. The closest nation to Pakistan that is known to have used these in some numbers is Iran, so this may be where the submachine gun made its way from, that is if it’s not a more dated import into Pakistan from elsewhere. Two different Military and Law-Enforcement forces; the UEBC and Ertzaintza, have been known and documented to have used this submachine gun in some numbers also.

Fig.1.2. The Spanish STAR model Z-84: right face (Source: Khyber Armoury Database)
Fig.1.3. The Spanish STAR model Z-84: left face (Source: Khyber Armoury Database)
Fig.1.4. The Spanish STAR model Z-84: top face birds-eye view (Source: Khyber Armoury Database)

To differentiate between both the Corto and the Largo variations, images of both from STAR Firearms can be seen below. The most common variation seen used is usually the ‘Corto’.

Fig.1.5. The STAR model Z-84 (Source: dekowaffen-tuerk.com)
Fig.1.6. Spanish UEBC with the STAR model Z-84 ‘Corto’ (Source: star-firearms.com)
Fig.1.7. Spanish Ertzaintza with the STAR model Z-84 ‘Corto’ (Source: armas.es)
Fig.1.8. Iranian combat divers pictured using the STAR model Z-84 ‘Corto’ (Source: ARES ConMat)

The images we sourced are from different dealers and the serials aren’t clear enough to tell if these are separate examples so initially we assumed there may be two examples. However, we have checked the extensive wear patterns between both sets of images and they are indeed the same specimen. It would have been more spectacular to find more than one example but one is better than none.

Again, after seeing another gem turn up, we can never be too sure that the Khyber region has given up all its treasures. This is certainly the case here as older and more antiquated arms are resigned to be left lying in the back of dealerships, no longer wanted as firearms technology continues to evolve. We must wish and pray that there is more to feast our eyes on in the future, so far we haven’t been disappointed.