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The French MAS-38 Submachine Gun

3,960

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The MAS-38 was France’s first officially adopted submachine gun, rushed into service in 1940. It was basically too late to help with the defense of France, with less than a thousand delivered by June 1940. The Germans kept the gun in production, making 20-30 thousand under the designation MP722(f). French production picked up immediately after the war, and 203,000 were made by the end of 1951. The gun would see service mostly in Indochina.

Mechanically, the MAS 38 is a simple blowback SMG, although it has a few unusual features. One is the approximately 6 degree angle between the barrel and receiver, which was done in order to drop the stock and allow a sight picture with shorter iron sights. As a result, the bolt face is also cut at about a 6 degree angle off perpendicular. The safety is the trigger itself, which folds up and forward to engage, locking the bolt in place. The weapon is chambered for the 7.65 French Long cartridge, which was also used in the 1935A and 1935S pistols. It is lighter than most other military submachine gun rounds, roughly on par with 9x18mm Makarov. That reduced ballistic peer does make for a very comfortable and controllable weapon, however.

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