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Lever-Delayed Prototype SMG: The MAS Mle 1948 Series

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When France decided to adopt a new 9x19mm submachine gun after World War Two, all three of the main French arsenals (St Etienne/MAS, Chatellerault/MAC, and Tulle/MAT) developed designs to compete for adoption. Tulle would eventually win and their design became the MAT-49, but the other lines of development are quite interesting.

The MAS design from 1948 was a lever-delayed system, anticipating perhaps the later FAMAS rifle. We have a series of developmental prototypes to look at today, from early prototypes to an example used in field trials in Indochina. They all share the same basic mechanical system, but cary in many details including stock design and barrel length. Overall the design is pretty good, and they performed will in trials – but the lever-delayed action was much more complex and expensive to produce than MAT’s simple blowback design.

Many thanks to the IRCGN (Institut de Recherche Criminelle de la Gendarmerie Nationale) for allowing me access to film this series of prototype for you!

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