The Hotchkiss “Universal” submachinegun was put into production in 1949, and saw only very limited sales. It was originally designed in 1949 as a semiautomatic-only police carbine, but after being released it was quickly refitted as a select-fire submachine gun. We don’t know for sure, but suspect the Universal competed with the MAT-49 for a French military contract (which it did not win.

The overriding design intent was to make a very compact folding carbine, and Hotchiss certainly met that objective. However, the gun ended up being too expensive and complex to achieve any real commercial success. Some wound up in Indochina, and some sales were made to Venezuela and Morocco, but that was about the extent of the Universal’s production. There are a few of these guns that were imported into the US as live semi-auto carbines, interestingly.

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22 Comments

  1. That’s one awesome piece of hardware! Quite similar to other SMG’s of the time (like the Swedish M45 I’m familiar with), but the folding is just so neat.

    And, funnily enough, when I image google it, no one seems to have figured out that you can slide the magazine in for folding, all the pictures have it out, and in the way of the collapsing barrel :).

  2. MAB, MAS, MAT … sounds like parsing Latin 🙂 The French do seem have a “need” to make innovative, unusual or even downright right field unique guns but in my (limited) experience of using them (which doesn’t include this one regrettably) they have all functioned extremely reliably. It’s a pity that this SMG was not further developed and refined … as Rikk said … modern remake with Uzi mags … yes please! Only thing different to Rikk is that I’d maybe choose the easy loading ultra reliable M45 mag – if there were any to be had without taking out a second mortgage.

  3. Will this fire with the barrel in the short position? It is small when all folded up, but quite long with the fully extended barrel.

  4. I bought a bunch of parts years ago and to my suprise there was 2 in the bottom of the pile.
    I wish now I still had them.

  5. My father was a coronel in the army and we had one of this at home back in late 60´s, it was a light green color (?¿), it was supposed to belong to the parachute group. I was a nice peace to fire with, I enjoy it a lot. You did not show the ejector port cover, that pops out when you cock the gun.

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