FAMAS Assault Rifle


The FAMAS (Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne or "Assault rifle of the Saint-Étienne weapon factory") is a bullpup-styled assault rifle designed and manufactured in France by MAS located in Saint-Étienne, which is now a member of the French government-owned Nexter group. It is the service rifle of the French military.

Type Assault rifle
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1978–present
Used by Djibouti, France, Gabon, Indonesia, Lebanon,
Senegal, United Arab Emirates
  • 1982 Lebanon War
  • Chadian–Libyan conflict
  • Gulf War
  • Bosnian War
  • Afghanistan war
Production history
Designer Paul Tellie
Designed 1967–1971
Manufacturer Nexter
Unit cost F1: 1500 €

G2: 3000 €

Produced 1975–2000
Number built F1: 400 000
Variants F1
FAMAS Export
FAMAS Commando
Weight 3.61 kg (7.96 lb) (FAMAS F1)
3.8 kg (8.38 lb) (FAMAS G2)
Length 757 mm (29.8 in) / 965 mm (38.0 in) with bayonet
Barrel length F1, G2: 488 mm (19.2 in)
G2 Commando:405 mm (15.9 in)
G2 SMG:320 mm (12.6 in)

G2 Sniper 620 mm (24.4 in)

Cartridge 5.56x45mm NATO
Action Lever-delayed blowback
Rate of fire 900–1000 rounds/min (F1)
1000–1100 rounds/min (G2)
Muzzle velocity 960 m/s (3,100 ft/s) (F1)
925 m/s (3,030 ft/s) (G2)
Effective range 300 m (F1)
450 m (G2)
Maximum range 3200 metres
Feed system 25-round box magazine (F1)
30-round box magazine (STANAG system) (G2)
Sights Rear aperture fitted with tritium night inserts, front post


The FAMAS assault rifle is a bullpup configuration, with the ammunition feed behind the trigger. The receiver housing is made of a special steel alloy, and the rifle furniture is made of fiberglass. The rifle uses a lever-delayed blowback action, an action used on the AA-52 machine gun derived from the prototypes built during Army Technical Department tests having taken place between the First and Second World Wars.


Fire mode is controlled by a selector within the trigger guard, with three settings: safe (central position), single shot (to the right), and automatic fire (to the left). Automatic fire can be in three-shot bursts (rafale) or fully automatic; this is determined by another selector, located under the housing and behind the magazine.

The FAMAS G2 weighs 3.8 kg (8.38 lb). The G1 and G2 have a large, grip-length trigger-guard like a Steyr AUG to allow easy access to the trigger when wearing gloves.

Both F1 and G2 models of the FAMAS feature a bipod attached to the upper hand-guard.

The FAMAS-G2 and some F1 sport a "polyvalent hand-guard" which features a standard NATO accessory rail, allowing a variety of sights to be mounted, notably red dot sights and night vision units.

The FAMAS features two alidades for aiming rifle grenades with several modes:

  • direct fire at 75 or 100 metres, in anti-vehicle role
  • indirect fire, in anti-personnel role:
    • with the FAMAS inclined by 45°, allowing fire from 120 to 340 metres
    • with the FAMAS inclined by 74°, allowing fire from 60 to 170 metres

In indirect fire mode the grenade support(more exactly named "grenade enforcement ring" in French) is moved forwards or backwards on the barrel which has markings (12/13?). This changes the position of the grenade on the barrel and automatically the volume of the chamber in which the gas expands to push the grenade forward. Each position of the grenade support has a number which is multiplied by a certain fixed number depending on the alidade position, 45° or 75°; this will accurately indicate the firing distance of the grenade.


The FAMAS F1 and G1, the original variants, were designed to use French-made 25-round magazines with 5.56x45mm cartridges. Due to the 1/12 rifling of the F1 barrel and its blowback action, ammunition must be a steel-case, French-made SS109 cartridge; using standard brass-case 5.56x45mm NATO causes overpressure and can cause malfunction. The barrel of the G2 uses a 1/9 rifling, which enables it to use the SS109 or the M193 interchangeably.

During training with blank ammunition, a plug is added to the muzzle of the FAMAS. This plug is necessary for automatic or semi-automatic operation, which it allows by blocking part of the gas.

The FAMAS can use a variety of rifle grenades up to 500 grammes. Notable examples are the antipersonal APAV40 and the antitank AC58. It can also fire some hand grenades designed for this alternative purpose, notably the F2 grenade that includes a bullet trap. The FAMAS can accommodate an external grenade launcher as an add-on module under the hand guard; the US M203 grenade launcher is sometimes used.

  1. Rubber buttpad
  2. Removable stock
  3. Cheek rest. Can be reversed for right or left-handed shooter.
  4. Mobile assembly and ejection port
  5. Pins
  6. Bipod
  7. Handguard
  8. Charging Handle
  9. Grenade launcher sight
  10. Grenade support
  11. Muzzle brake/22 mm rifle grenade launcher
  12. Barrel
  13. Fire control selector: Safety, single shot, automatic
  14. Trigger
  15. Magazine release
  16. Magazine
  17. Serial number
  18. (right): 3-round burst or full automatic selector
    (left): Sling ring

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