Mamba Pistol

The Mamba is a semi-automatic pistol developed in Rhodesia and later produced in South Africa, intended for military and police duty. It is named after the mamba, an African snake known for its deadly venom that leaves little to no chance of survival for victims of its bite.

Mamba Pistol
Class Manportable
Type Handguns
Manufacturer Sandock-Austral
Origin Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
Country Name Origin Year
South Africa 1977
Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) 1977
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
South Africa View
Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Sandock-Austral 1977 View

The origins of the "Mamba" pistol date back to the mid-to-late 1970s in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Rhodesia in the 1970s was facing an outright rebellion that at the end took the form of a civil war between the white-dominated Rhodesian government, and two rival African factions, ZANU and ZAPU. Due to the war, Rhodesia struggled for years against a UN embargo. In an attempt to procure war materials, Rhodesians bought weapons from illegal traffickers and sympathetic governments. They also exploited their small domestic industry as far as it could, having their engineers come out with many interesting designs that were later developed into functional, commercially viable weapons. Many weapons were produced in neighbouring South Africa, which was about to have UN-imposed arms sanctions as well. The Mamba pistol is an example of this as it was developed in Rhodesia and later produced in South Africa, being intended for military and police duty.

The Mamba was a high-capacity pistol (15 rounds with possibility of one additional round in chamber), robustly made in stainless steel and with advanced design traits like a curved trigger guard and the highly effective grip. Prototypes were first produced in 1977.

The pistol was a poor seller and with the original manufacturers about to be affected by the imposed arms sanctions in South Africa, the right to manufacturing the Mamba pistol was sold to the Navy Arms Company of the US in the early 1980s by Viper Engineering (Pty) Ltd. The Navy Arms Company production of Mamba pistols only lasted a few years. The total production roll of this handgun, either in South Africa and the US, can be accounted to some hundreds of pieces. Navy Arms manufactured the Mamba Pistol in both 9×19mm and, for countries where 9×19mm Parabellum ammunition was illegal for civilian use, 7.65×21mm Parabellum (a.k.a. the .30 Luger).

Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin  Rhodesia
 South Africa
Production history
Designer Relay Products (Pty) Ltd.;
Salisbury, Rhodesia
Designed 1975
Manufacturer Viper Engineering (Pty) Ltd.,
a division of Sandock Austral;Boksburg, South Africa
Produced 1977
Length 218 mm
Barrel length 128 mm
Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
7.65×21mm Parabellum (Allegedly)
Action Recoil-operated, SA/DA
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Feed system 15-round box magazine
20, 25, 30, and 40-round box magazines (Planned, but never produced)
Sights Iron

End notes