Armi Jager AP85: An Italian .22 Rimfire Faux-MAS

Armi Jager was an Italian arms-making company that was created in the early 1950s by Armando Piscetta. He initially made .22 rimfire sporting rifles, then transitioned into making Old West style revolvers, and in the 1970s began offering a series of military lookalikes (he was also heavily involved inn development of the 9x12mm pistol cartridge). These were made in both .32ACP and .22 LR to comply with Italian law, and they were also readily imported into the US (with .22 LR models being much more common than .32 ACP ones). The first was the AP-74, mimicking the M16A1. This was followed the AP-80 AK, the AP-84 Galil, and the AP-85 “FAMAS”, which we are looking at today.

The FAMAS was the last of Armi Jager’s models, and rather than make new parts to accurately copy the French design, they used a mixture of elements from previous models. The action and magazines are form the AK pattern guns, with a carry handle based on the M16A1 molds and a Galil front handguard. It is the least realistic of all the designs, and today is popular really for its own distinctive appearance, as well as its tenuous connection to the FAMAS.


  1. This Armi Jager AP85 is not a copy of the Famas, it was a copy of the then new (circa 1985) Norinco Type 86S bullpup rifle.

      • It’s difficult to make a blanket statement about the acclaim of NORINCO products in Europe and whether they were subject to mimicking. NORINCO, or China North Industries Corporation, is a major Chinese state-owned defense corporation known for manufacturing a wide range of products, including firearms, ammunition, vehicles, and machinery.

      • In 1985 they didn’t even know it existed. Even to have some good picture of the FAMAS was difficult.
        The AP85 is simply a FAMAS-esque gun made with what they already had in production.
        The coincidence in the form of the grip/trigger guard (nearly identical to that of the Norinco Type 86, and different to that of the FAMAS) can be misleading, until you realise it’s the same setup they used for the Jager AP80 (AK copy) and AP84 (Galil copy).

        • In 1985, the Norinco 86s was certainly known to US gun owners, as I sold them from a gun shop in Atlanta Georgia that year and also in 1986. The Armi Jager AP85 was also certainly known, and coincidentally I also sold this very model from the same gun store I was working in Atlanta Georgia in the same year, 1985.
          On the other hand, the Famas was completely unknown in 1985 other than references in small arms guides.

          • Unfortunately Jager was not a US company, otherwise they would have surely known of that rifle you sold one of the less than 2000 total samples known, and they would have never missed the opportunity to mimic that success.

            Since instead they were an Italian one, they probably knew about that obscure weapon adopted by their neighbor country’s army in 1978.

          • Indeed, Jager was an Italian company. The Norinco rifles were the media stars of the period, and all the gun press -magazines primarily, covered them. That’s where Jager likely got the idea to make a bullpup copy of the AK they already made. If Jager were making a Famas copy, they would have made it look like a Famas, rather like they made a AR 15 copy that looked like an AR15, and and AK rifle, that actually looked like and AK. Our even a Galil copy that actually looks like a Galil, and further even called it a Galil.

          • “(…)called it a Galil.(…)”
            Maybe this is key. Did adverts issued by Armi Jager for AP85 did state which weapon they intended to represent?

          • I recall the gun magazines at the time called the AP85 an AK bullpup copy, and I can only imagine that if Jager wanted it to be a Famas copy, they would have made it look like a Famas – and called it a Famas .22. Or something catchy like when they called single actions “Dakota” and”frontier”.
            Nobody in the 1980’s cared much about or documented French arms.
            The difference now is that Ian and the internet have covered French arms and they’re very collectible.

          • So why didn’t they make a Type 86S copy that looks like a Type 86S?
            Because, last time I checked, the Type 86S has a metallic half-buttstock. it would have been way easier to weld a similar one to the AP85, instead of creating a wooden one for it.
            What Bullpup with a similar look has a buttstock instead? Oh, yes, the FAMAS.
            The Type 86S doesn’t have any front handguard, right? You really don’t have a place to put your front hand if you don’t lower the folding front grip. So why they placed the Galil handguard on it, so that you could grip the rifle exactly like a FAMAS?

            Because they wanted to mimic a FAMAS with what they had in production.

            They couldn’t do that with the AR 15 copy, because in 1975 they had NOTHING in production. Having to start from scratch, they made a rifle that was a closer copy. In 1985 instead there was a significant economy in using what they already had in production.

            Type 86S sales are pretty telling of what kind of “stars” the Norinco rifles were. Why mimic a rifle that NONE wanted?

          • It’s unfortunate that you don’t actually have any direct knowledge of the period, or of the gun industry at all. Or of the US government ban of Chinese gun and ammo imports that ended the sale of the 86s. But if it makes you feel better, by all means, call it a Famas.

          • It’s unfortunate that you don’t actually have any direct knowledge of how a thing called “time” works, and have to invent bullshit to cover your ignorance.
            The sale of the Type 86s in the US ended in 1989. The AP85 was on the market in 1985 (and had been designed before) so the rifle whose success you are pulling out of your ass must have been on the market before the design of the AP85, just to be copied.
            Let’s say the guys at Jager had been super-quick, and the Type 86s was sold in the US starting from 1984.
            That means that the ho-so-successful rifle you are blabbering about sold less than 2000 samples in 5 years.
            To call that a success and Norinco rifles “the media stars of the period” is the measure of your knowledge of the gun industry.

            “I can only imagine that if Jager wanted it to be a Famas copy, they would have made it look like a Famas – and called it a Famas .22. Or something catchy”

            They called the M16 copy “AP75”, not “M16 .22 Or something catchy”. They called the AK47 copy “AP80”, not “AK47 .22 Or something catchy”. They called the Galil copy “AP84”, not “Galil .22 Or something catchy”, so why they should have called the AP85 “FAMAS .22 Or something catchy”?
            And according to your, ahem, “reasoning” why had they not called the AP85 “Type 86s .22 Or something catchy”?
            And, again, if they wanted to make a Type 86s copy, why didn’t they make it look like a Type 86s, since it was EASIER than what they did instead?

            But keep on inventing, please. You are cute being so proud of your knowledge of the “gun industry” for having sold a rifle once.

          • I’ll call it for what it is and the manufacturer says it is. But you can keep on negating reality and calling it the way that makes you seem more idiot. You are more funny this way.

          • Rather like I feel about your grammar. Somewhat uneducated, but understandable. Thanks for your opinion though.

          • Tell me…
            After having sworn so passionately the AP85 was made to mimic a rifle sold in less than 2000 samples, that only you in the entire world considered a success, instead of the service rifle of the French Army. After having brought up your “direct knowledge of the period” and of “the gun industry” against all the evidences. After having pulled out of your ass that in the ’80s none knew the FAMAS and the Norinco rifles were the stars of the period.

            How it had been to discover that the AP85 had been made to mimic the service rifle of the French Army?

            Do you feel an idiot, or you got so used the sensation to not pay attention to it any more?

            With perfect grammar, please.

            Idiots are funnier when they pose.

    • You nailed it. This was one of the first practically available AK bullpups, and while you didn’t see all that much about them in the U.S., Europeans weren’t unaware.

  2. I’m aware that the FAMAS model was the last among Armi Jager’s lineup and utilized elements from previous models. Although this variant is less realistic compared to others, I like it due to its unique and sophisticated appearance as well as its connection to the FAMAS design.

  3. I think I had one of their AK replicas. Long gone now so I can’t be sure. I would have liked to have gotten my hands on a faux-MAS. I have a real weakness for rimfires. They are always affordable to shoot.

  4. Wow! Silly me, I thought I was the only one who remembers these.
    I still have two AP-74 rifles and one AP-15 rifle. They are nearly identical except for the safety. One has a lever similar to the M16, the other has a push button. They are all .22lr. Believe it or not, for a cheap copy they have proven quite reliable over the decades.

  5. They used the dog pudding out of the AP15 in the original Dawn of the Dead. I’ve always thought that the Armi Jager rim fire clones looked way better than the Armscor Philippino clones.

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