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MAS 49: A Universal Service Rifle

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As the MAS 44 saw combat service with French Marines in Indochina, some of its shortcomings began to reveal themselves. The rifle was reliable and durable, but it lacked some capabilities, most importantly rifle grenade launching and optics mounting. After a test series of MAS 44A rifles, a new pattern was adopted as the MAS 49 and put into production in 1951.

A total of about 80,000 MAS 49 rifles were made, and they incorporated a scope mounting dovetail in the left side of the receiver and a grenade launching muzzle device and sight. In addition, the bayonet was left out, as it was no longer seen as necessary. Not all rifles were used with scopes or for launching grenades, but with the universal capability it was simple to adapt any rifle to whatever specialized role was required. Ultimately the MAS 49 would be replaced again in only a few year, by the MAS 49-56 iterative improvement – but that’s a subject for a future video.

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