The Rifles of Costa Rica 1898-1998

 by Dan Reynolds
The first smokeless powdered rifles adopted by Costa Rica were 7x57mm DWM M1895 Mausers.  These were adopted by the Army.  Carbines may have also been purchased but this is not known to be a certainty.
Costa Rica has always acquired arms in relatively small numbers due to its size and to financial constraints.  The next known acquisition was the Modelo 1910 Mauser in 7x57mm from Mauser Oberendorf.  This was the Serbian type with fully supported case head breeching.  Long rifles were the chief style purchased, but some short rifles were also acquired.  Some had straight export markings, but most had the crest of Costa Rica on the ring.

FN short rifles/carbines in 7x57mm with the national crest were purchased in the 1930's along with a few Breda selective fire 7x57mm rifles around 1938.

The Army was formally abolished in 1948, but a police type Civil Guard provided security with rifles and Beretta submachine guns.

In the 1950's, the U.S. provided several thousand .30 M1 Garand rifles and .30 M1 and M2 carbines.  In the 1960's more .30 carbines were obtained bringing the number on hand to several thousand.

As conditions in Central America degenerated in the late '70's and 1980's , M14 and FN FAL rifles in 7.62x51mm were obtained second hand along with M16A1 and FN FNC as well as Israeli Galil 5.56mm rifles.  Various models of the AK in 7.62x39mm have spilled into the country as a result of the Nicaraguan civil war.

In the late 1980's ChiNat Type 65 5.56mm rifles were purchased in larger numbers.  This rifle was developed on Formosa to avoid licensing fees for the M16 and uses the same magazine.  It shares some characteristics with the M16, but is generally considered to be a lesser, more affordable weapon.

All of the above rifles are still held in some quantity except for the M1895 and M1910 Mausers.  Some FN Mausers may have been converted to 7.62x51mm and Israeli 98K Mauser conversions in 7.62x51mm may be held in small numbers.

Copyright 10/7 2000 Dan Reynolds