Sunday, June 18, 2017

The French MAS-38 submachine gun.

Developed in the period between the World Wars, it was part of a complete overhaul of French small arms. It 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). During the occupation the Germans considered it a secondary arm. The '38 saw use by both the Vichy and Free French Forces.

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. The most interesting feature of this weapon is the 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.

Notched blade front and a set of 100 and 200 meter flip-up rear sights, with dust covers for the ejection port and magazine well, integral "flip-forward" trigger safety, a sling ring on the left side.

The weapon is chambered for the 7.65 X 20mm French Longue 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.

The French military were introduced to the cartridge when the US demonstrated the Pedersen device after the end of World War I in Le Mans and again when John Browning exhibited a carbine in the same caliber in 1920. The US .30 Pedersen cartridge (Auto Pistol Ball Cartridge caliber .30 Model of 1918 or .30-18 Automatic) used in the Pedersen device was the basis for the 7.65×20mm Longue. France adopted weapons for the cartridge and those weapons saw combat use; so the cartridge is best known by its French name.

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