FA MAS [Automatic Rifle]:

The FA MAS (Fusil Automatique, Manufacture d'Armes de St. Etienne) is France's newest service rifle and has already demonstrated itself to be an effective and generally well-designed combat rifle. The FA MAS was first introduced in 1973 and subsequently modified. The FA MAS was adopted by the French armed forces and placed in 1979 into production. The French combat rifle is manufactured by GIAT (Groupement Industriel des Armements Terrestres) at the companies St. Etienne arsenal. It is considered an excellent rifle and the equal of the Austrian Steyr AUG combat rifle.

The French experimenting with many unusual calibers, such as the 7.5mm rifle and 7.65mm Long pistol cartridges, until the French finally decided to work with NATO's calibers and chambered the FA MAS for what is essentially the U.S. 5.56x45mm M193 cartridge. It differs only in the fact is uses a Berdan primed steel case. Compatibility with NATO has been served and the French now has a cartridge with proven efficiency in causing casualties.

The FA MAS in constructed in bullpup configuration and measures only 30.28 inches in overall length. Even with the flash suppressor, the barrel is 19.5 inches long. Oddly cut with only three grooves, the rifling's rate of right-hand twist remains one turn in every 12 inches. An optional pitch of one turn in 9 inches is available as a compromise to accommodate the SS109 projectile. But in spite of its compactness, the FA MAS weighs 8.0 lbs. empty and minus the bipod - at the outer limits by today's standards. Steel parts are phosphate finished and the receiver has been anodized gray.

The Rifle Fires from the closed-bolt position, this method of operation is by means of delayed blowback. This principle smacks of Heckler & Koch (early prototypes of the FA MAS were pictured with the G3 bayonet) but in fact the delay system has been taken directly from the French AA 52 General Purpose Machine Gun.

the Rifle has a black plastic lower handguard which is pinned to the barrel and receiver andextends back to the magazine well and cannot be removed. To accommodate the bullpup configuration, the trigger mechanism and pistol grip have been mounted to the lower handguard, forward of the magazine well. The pistol grip is ergonomically-designed and has three finger grooves and a storage area which contains a plastic bottle of lubricant. The rifle can be fired on eiether shoulder and has the ability to switch the side casing are ejected. The rifle has sights integrated into the barrel. As well as being able to withstand very harse conditions, The FAMAS is easy to repair and maintain.

There is a short barrel available for the FA MAS and is available in versions that use the FA MAS standard magazines (25 round) or the very plentiful M-16 magazines. The FA Mas can fire rifle grenades. A semiautomatic-only version of this interesting assault rifle has been imported into the United States in limited quantity by Century International Arms.

Weight: 8.66 lbs (3.93 kg).
Caliber:5.56x45mm NATO (.223 Remington).
Barrel Length: 19.2 inches (48.8 cm) long barrel, 16 inch (40.6 cm) short barrel.
Overall Length: 29.8 inches (75.7 cm) long barrel, 25.6 inch (67.5 cm) short barrel.
Action:Delayed Blowback.
Mode of Fire: Semi Automatic, Three Round Burst, and Fully Automatic (Civilian - Semi Automatic only).
Range:1333 feet (400 meters).
Magazine:25 round (or use M-16 magazines depending on type).
Cost: $800 estimated.
Made in: France.
Special: Hull Quality Bullpup that can withstand extreme conditions and is easily maintained. The rifle is ergonomically-designed. Special versions are available that use M-16 magazines.

[ FA MAS, M-16, GIAT, and Remington are copyright of their respective owners. ]

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1999, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.