FAMAE SAF is a submachine gun produced and manufactured by FAMAE (Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército) since 1993. Since 1999, Taurus have produced the SAF under license in .40 S&W for Brazilian law enforcement. Semi-automatic-only variants manufactured by FAMAE are mostly marketed for sale in Canada.
FAMAE SAF is a blowback-operated select-fire submachine gun, firing from a closed bolt. It is based on the Swiss SIG SG 540 assault rifle which was produced under license in Chile in the 1980s. The design is a shortened version of the SIG 540 rifle, but the rifle’s rotating bolt has been replaced with a simple blowback bolt. The SAF also has a bolt hold-open catch that engages after the final shot. Otherwise, the receiver, stock, fore-end, trigger/hammer assembly and floating firing pin design are from the SIG 540. (It also retains the folding trigger guard for winter glove use.)
The upper and lower receiver as well as the trigger guard are steel, and the pistol-grip and handguards are all made from polymer. The ambidextrous safety/fire selector switch, as well as the interchangeability with SIG 552/553 handguards are a feature found on the latest versions. Older versions used their own handguards.
The 9mm magazines use a transparent plastic made from polymer, allowing the number of available rounds to be determined visually. The magazine is fitted with protruding lugs on one side and corresponding slots on the other, allowing two or three magazines to be clipped together for a quicker magazine change. The .40 S&W magazines are made of steel and holds 30 rounds.
The selector has four settings: safe, single shot, 3-round burst and fully automatic. Some models were made in a semi-auto only configuration for law enforcement and civilian customers.