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Arsenal Blog 010: Calico M100

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Arsenal Blog 010: Calico M100

Arsenal Blog 010: Calico M100

SILENCERCO’S ARSENAL SERIES showcases guns we love for various reasons that reside in our in-house arsenal. We are best-known for making guns quiet in order to do this, we must interact with a great variety of amazing platforms. In these posts we will tell you about each platform we like, why it’s different and relevant, and why we think it belongs in our pantheon of greatness.

The Calico .22LR with a SilencerCo Sparrow .

Does this gun look familiar to you? If you’ve seen the movie Spaceballs, then you’ve seen the Calico M100. The appearance of the Calico M100 made it a perfect choice for the movie’s futuristic space guns. Personally, we think it looks like an oversized version of the Noisy Cricket from Men in Black, but we’ll let you decide.

The Calico M100, manufactured by Calico Light Weapons Systems (CLWS), was designed in 1985 with a slim profile and high magazine capacity for use by military and law enforcement. Chambered in .22LR, the Calico M100 utilizes a unique top-mounted, 100-round, helical magazine. Civilians were not allowed to own Calico products that had magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds during the Federal Assault Weapons Ban from 1994 to 2004, which is why the manufacturer went out of business during this decade-long period. With the expiration of that legislation in 2004, the public could once again purchase these exotic firearms in their original configuration.

CLWS produced 2 basic designs, one in .22LR (Models 100, 105, 110), and another in 9mm (Models 900, 950, 960, Liberty). 9mm models look different in that they eject right in front of the trigger guard to the bottom and .22LR models eject to the side from the receiver.

Calico M100 helical magazine diagram
The Calico .22LR.

One of the most iconic parts of the Calico the cylindrical helical-fed magazine is both a positive and a negative. The magazine contains helical guide grooves at its inner cylinder wall with a rotating central follower that cause the cartridges to follow the track inside the cylinder. The follower is operated by a spiral spring, located at the rear of the cylinder. The magazine is equipped with a winding handle so it can be stored loaded with an unwound spring.

We love the 50- and 100-round capacity options, because who doesn’t want to be able to shoot uninterrupted for so long? Yet they do take quite a bit of time to load which can hinder your shooting experience. We recommend picking up a speed loader if you get the chance to take a Calico M100 for a spin. Ready for some sticker shock? Each new magazine costs $200. An additional feature is that each magazine comes with an adjustable spring tension feature which allows you to store the magazine full without being concerned about wearing out the spring.

The folding stock is a space-saver but takes some getting used to. When the stock is fully extended it is uncomfortably thin, making an effective cheek weld nearly impossible to acquire. Like with the speed loader for the magazines, we recommended picking up an aftermarket stock to take your Calico M100 experience to the next level.

The Calico .22LR.

The standard sights of the Calico M100 feel a bit awkward with the top-mounted magazine in your face, but don’t worry  Calico offers scope mounts so that you can toss on an optic of your choice.

Quick and efficient takedown is facilitated by pushing out on the hand guard and unthreading the coupler that holds the barrel to the action  no tools required.

With the exception of a few magazine misfeeds, we found the Calico M100 to be highly reliable and enjoyable to shoot both suppressed and unsuppressed.

Things We Like

  • Simple and efficient takedown

  • Extremely reliable

  • Unique and iconic appearance

  • Compact size

Things We Don’t Like

  • Slim stock with ineffective cheek weld

  • Time it takes to load the magazine

  • Sticker price on additional magazines

Bottom line

Unique looks, high-capacity magazines, reliable operation, and a fun caliber make the Calico M100 a win in our book. Swap out a few aftermarket accessories, and you’ll have yourself a staple for your arsenal.

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