Infobox Weapon
name= FAMAS

caption= FAMAS F1
type= Assault rifle
wars=First Gulf War
designer= Paul Tellie
manufacturer=Nexter (formerly GIAT Industries)
variants= F1, G1, G2, FAMAS Export, FAMAS Civil, FAMAS Commando
weight= kg to lb|3.61|sp=us|abbr=on|precision=2 (FAMAS F1) kg to lb|3.8|sp=us|abbr=on|precision=2 (FAMAS G2)
length= convert|757|mm|in|1|sp=us|abbr=on / convert|965|mm|in|1|sp=us|abbr=on with bayonet
part_length= convert|488|mm|in|1|sp=us|abbr=on
cartridge=5.56x45mm NATO
action= Lever-delayed blowback
rate= 900-1000 rounds/min (F1) 1000-1100 rounds/min (G2)
velocity= convert|960|m|ft|1|sp=us|abbr=on/s (F1) convert|925|m|ft|1|sp=us|abbr=on/s (G2)
range= 300 m (F1) 450 m (G2)
feed= 25-round box magazine (F1) 30-round box magazine (STANAG system) (G2)
sights= Rear aperture fitted with tritium night inserts, front post

The FAMAS ( _fr. Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne or "Saint-Étienne arms factory assault rifle") is a bullpup assault rifle designed and manufactured in France by MAS (an abbrevation of Manufacture d'Armes St. Etienne - one of several government-owned arms factories in France) located in Saint-Étienne, which is now a member of the French government-owned Nexter (formerly GIAT Industries) group. It is the service rifle of the French military.


The first French bullpup rifles were developed between 1946 and 1950 at the AME (Atelier Mecanique de Mulhouse) and MAS, testing rounds such as .30 US Carbine, 7.92x33mm Kurz, 7.65x38mm (Made by Cartoucherie de Valence) and some other intermediate calibers. Since France was engaged in the First Indochina War at the time, and was also the second-largest contributor to NATO, the budgets for new types of weapons were reduced and priority was given to the modernisation and production of existing service weapons. Nevertheless, approximately forty different prototypes were developed between 1952 and 1962, most of which were designed for the 7.62x51mm NATO round, however, the round was not found to be suitable for any bullpup designs, and consequently, none were adopted, and the ideas were set aside. MAS then began to manufacture under license the H&K G3 and the H&K 33 in the 1960's and studies were reactivated to produce a weapon using the new .223/5.56mm round.

The FAMAS project began in 1967 under the direction of Paul Tellie and the first prototype was completed in 1971, with French military evaluation of the rifle beginning in 1972. When production problems delayed the general issue of the new rifles, and with the 1976 airborne operation in Kolwezi showing the immediate need for a more modern weapon, the French Army began searching for a temporary rifle to fill this need until the FAMAS came into full production. The H&K 33 was considered, and 1200 pieces were tested by Infantry, Marines, Mechanized and Airborne troops, but it was ultimately turned down in favour of the SIG SG 540, built under licence by Manhurin, until enough FAMAS rifles were produced to begin general issue. The French military finally accepted the rifle in 1978 as the standard French combat weapon.

After adoption, the FAMAS F1 replaced the aging MAS 49/56 rifle and MAT-49 submachine gun, and approximately 400,000 FAMAS F1 assault rifles were produced, with production now complete. The F1 was followed by the G1 that included several minor improvements such as redesigned grips and an enlarged trigger guard, but it remained conceptual and was never actually produced. The FAMAS G2 was developed circa 1994 to bring the rifle more in compliance with NATO standards by having tighter rifling and accepting standard NATO magazines, but also included several other upgrades taken from the G1 model, such as the enlarged trigger guard and improved hand guards. The French Navy purchased the FAMAS G2 in 1995, and began distributing it to the Fusiliers Marins and Commandos de la Marine, but the French Army has held off large scale purchase of the G2 to date, and the FAMAS F1 still remains the Army's primary service rifle. Small quantities of the FAMAS F1 have also been exported to Senegal and the United Arab Emirates, but for the most part, the rifle has remained almost exclusively in French service.

Design details

thumb|left|1. Rubber buttpad ">
2. Removable stock
3. Cheek rest. Can be reversed for right or left-handed shooter.
4. Mobile assembly and ejection port
5. Pins
6. Bipod
7. Handguard
8. Cocking lever
9. Grenade launcher sight
10. Grenade support
11. Muzzle brake
12. Barrel
13. Fire control selector: Safety, single shot, automatic
14. Trigger
15. Magazine release
16. Magazine
17. Serial number
18 (right). 3-round burst or full automatic selector
18 (left). Sling ringThe FAMAS assault rifle is a bullpup configuration like the British SA80 and the Austrian Steyr AUG, with the ammunition feed behind the trigger. The receiver housing is made of a special steel alloy, and the rifle furniture is made of fiberglass. The rifle uses a lever-delayed blowback action, a system employed on the LMG AA52 derived from the prototypes built during Army Technical Department tests having taken place between WW1 and WW2. Fire rate is controlled by a selector just behind the magazine well, with three settings: safe, single shot, and automatic fire. Automatic fire can be in three-shot bursts (rafale) or fully automatic; this is determined by another selector, located under the housing and behind the magazine.

The FAMAS F1 and G1, the original variants, were designed to use French-made 25-round magazines with the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. These magazines were incompatible with standard NATO weaponry, but the FAMAS G2 uses the STANAG Magazine as used by most other NATO rifles, such as the M16 and SA80. The FAMAS G2 weighs kg to lb|3.8|sp=us|abbr=on|precision=2. The G1 and G2 have a large, grip-length triggerguard like a Steyr AUG to allow easy access to the trigger when wearing gloves.

The F1 and G2 models of the FAMAS feature a bipod attached to the upper handguard.


The FAMAS first saw service in Chad during Operation Manta and again in desert operations in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm and in other various peacekeeping missions. Operational conditions proved the weapon to be reliable and trustworthy under combat conditions. The FAMAS was affectionately known as "clairon" ("bugle", because of its shape) amongst French troops in the late 70s-early 80s, but this practice is no longer current. An improved version of the FAMAS G2 is integrated in the Félin system.

Senegal and the United Arab Emirates received a small number of FAMAS rifles (possibly F1) from France, though it was unknown when they received them. Djibouti uses this weapon in its military as the standard infantry weapon. The Philippines also received a limited number and is used by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force.


External links

* [http://www.sturmgewehr.com/bhinton/FAMAS/ Buddy Hinton collection]
* [http://www.defense-update.com/products/f/felin.htm FELIN article, with FAMAS pictured as part of FELIN system]
* [http://world.guns.ru/assault/as21-e.htm Modern Firearms]
* [http://www.remtek.com/arms/famas/index.htm REMTEK]


* [http://www.nazarian.no/images/wep/461_MAS_223_en_manual.pdf Nazarian's Gun's Recognition Guide (MANUAL) FAMAS .223 Manual (.pdf)]

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