AFN-49: The Forgotten Full-Auto Brother of the FN-49

0:00 Introduction and Overview of the AFN 49
1:23 Detailed Insight into the AFN 49’s Global Presence
3:01 Demonstration and Explanation of the AFN’s Unique Features
5:05 Auto Trip Feature: A Deep Dive
7:27 Unique Characteristics of the AFN 49
8:48 The Journey of AFN 49s to the US
10:17 Conversion of Luxembourg AFN 49s: A Historical Perspective
10:43 Conclusion and Acknowledgements

The SAFN, aka FN-49, is one of the classic post-war European battle rifles, and was sold to nine different countries in the early 1950s before the FAL became FN’s primary combat rifle offering. What is often forgotten is that despite being limited to a fixed 10-round magazine, nearly half of all FN-49s produced were actually fully automatic AFN-49s. The Belgian Army, Luxembourg Army, Luxembourg Gendarmerie, and Belgian Congo all purchased the automatic pattern. So today, we’re going to take a look at how it differs from the regular SAFN that we are used to seeing.

Interestingly, a batch of the Luxembourg Gendarmerie rifles were imported into the US without anyone realising that they were automatic until hey arrived and were being unpacked. InterArms went to the IRS (the NFA was a tax law administered by the Treasury; this was before the formation of the ATF) and proposed removing the selector levers and auto sears, as well as milling off their attachment points on the receivers. The IRS agreed that this would be an acceptable conversion to render the guns legally semiautomatic only, and the changes were made before the rifles were sold. They remain on the US collector market today as an interesting example of legal conditions prior to the adoption of a pointless and punitive decree of “once a machine gun, always a machine gun”.

Many thanks to the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Brussels for access to this very cool piece! Check them out here:


  1. I didn’t know that the AFN-49 was widely distributed. Given their experience with the AFN-49 in caliber .30-06, it is no mystery why FN designed its FAL in the British .280 cartridge initially..

  2. If you had one of those Army of Luxembourg FN49s that started out as an AFN49 with the cutout on the stock for the lever as well as the grind marks where it was previously stamped, would it be presently legal to own?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.