The ASMI – An Indian SMG


I blame it on Taurus. You see, I was reading about Taurus, who is the Mr. Worldwide of foreign manufacturers, and stumbled across the T9. The T9 is a submachine gun made for an Indian Small Arms Competition, it looks like something anyone could build from an AR-15 build kit. This led me down a lot of websites that required a lot of Google Translating to read and understand everything concerning an Indian military competition for a new submachine gun. This eventually resulted in me finding my favorite, the Lokesh Machine ASMI. 

Admittedly, this is my favorite based on the idea that the thing works—and works as advertised. India doesn’t have the best run of domestically produced guns, and that’s likely why they had to team up with Taurus in the first place. ASMI or Asmi comes from the Sanskrit word Asmita, which means pride, self-respect, hard work, etc. If the ASMI functions as advertised, it might meet that name. 

Why the ASMI 

The ASMI submachine gun, a product of Lt. Col. Prasad Bansod’s design, was developed in 2020 after four months of intensive work at the Indian Army Infantry School, with support from the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The Indian Military’s commitment to the project is evident as they continue to refine the weapon. Interestingly, the ASMI is primarily intended for police forces.

Courtesy Raksha Anirveda

The border units in India are a bit more militarized than most due to sharing a border with both Pakistan and China. So, they have a fairly diverse armament selection. The units fielding the ASMI include the Border Security Force, the National Security Guard, and the paramilitary Assam Rifles. Each of these units is tasked with border and national security. Additionally, the PARA SF troops will also receive the ASMI. 

The submachine gun is a niche weapon these days. Most modern military forces choose short carbines, and submachine guns tend to be considered a bit underpowered. They do excel in extremely close quarters, especially for more traditional police forces who might want to avoid lugging a rifle on a common foot patrol. They work well in and out of vehicles. 

Courtesy Raksha Anirveda

It’s worth mentioning that until recently, the Indian Army and border teams were still using Sterling carbines. A new SMG might be a better option logistically than a rifle, and 9mm ammo might be the more common option. 

An In-Depth Look at the ASMI 

The ASMI is a 9mm submachine gun that makes use of several familiar concepts. It’s not a gun that innovates but rather gathers innovations that modernize them. The ASMI takes cues from the Uzi. The magazine sits inside the pistol grip, which helps keep the weapon super short and compact. The gun is only 24 inches overall with the stock deployed. 

With the stock folded, the gun is only 15 inches long. The ASMI uses modern polymer for the frame and aircraft-grade aluminum for the upper receiver. It even uses Glock magazines. More than a few of the Indian entries in the SMG world use Glock magazines. 

Courtesy Raksha Anirveda

The gun still uses a direct blowback system. While reliable, cheap, and easy to manufacture, the blowback systems have excessive recoil. It’s controllable, but it could be better. The use of a blowback design hopefully ensures the gun’s reliability, which would be important for Indian domestic arms production in the wake of the INSAS rifle. 

The ASMI functions with very modern ergonomics. The charging handle can be swapped from one side to the other. It appears the safety is ambidextrous. No word on the magazine release. 

Barrel lengths vary. There are 6.2-inch options, 7.2 inch, and an 8-inch version. It’s unclear if all three have been adopted or if one has been chosen. Across the top, we have tons of room for optics and M-LOK slots. 


The ASMI’s design is fascinating. We rarely see modern SMGs with magazines in their grips. It’s interesting to see a modernized variant of that design, and it seems to be a promising domestically produced option. 

Does it Work? 

The Indian Army only ordered 550 of the ASMI. In fact, the Indian military put out another RFP, and B&T got the nod. This entry was for SMGs for pilots, armor crews, and similar roles. Why not fill that role with the ASMI? 

We’ve heard that producing that many guns would be a strain on production, and that’s why B&T got the nod. It could be true; the ASMI is a new gun, and maybe production is slow. It’s not quite clear, and we haven’t heard much from the ASMI about its 550 gun order and its performance. 

Personally, as an SMG fan, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the SMG developments in India. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.