Christian Prouteau on the FR-F1 Rifle

My interview with Christian Prouteau focused on the MR-73 revolver and how his men in GIGN trained with it. However, I did also ask him about the FR-F1 rifles, and figured I would separate that brief conversation out since it was on a different subject. Specifically, I asked why the FR-F1 used such an outdated scope, the APX L806.


  1. There’s actually a lot of equivalents of lightweight precise thin barreled rifles like the FR1, we know them as hunting rifles (esp.stalking / deer guns), and to be honest I wonder if it was really necessary to design an FR1 instead of purchasing a bunch of nice hunting rifles and call it a day…

    • The Remington 700 and Winchester 70 based rifles used for a long time by the US army and USMC have basically been hunting rifles. Other armies did so too or used some “sniperized” former service bolt-action like the Norwegian or Finnish armies did with WW2 surplus Mauser or Mosin actions. So did the British with Lee-Enfield actions. Others just put a scope on their standard issue battle rifle and called it good. Well a H&K G3 often shoots tighter groups than a K98k, so that had some merit and dedicated snipers were not part of German doctrine then.

      The french opted to build a dedicated design.

  2. The weapons are interesting, but not nearly so much as the man. In a world poised on the edge of nuclear disaster, tearing itself to pieces, a young Frenchman steps forward. He needs a team of Olympic athletes, a magnum revolver, track suits, sunglasses, and sideburns. And it worked!

    • *laugh* Yeah, I was thinking the very same to myself. The FR-F1 felt more like a cheap & convenient solution for the moment. And also very French in a way. Because, no matter the deficits – adding “esprit” (on more time) to the mix will “fix” all its issues! As long as it’s a rifle “Made in France”…

      • 3 years after the FR1’s introduction, Steyr came out with the SSG 69. In Germany, guns like the Krieghoff 640S were available in the 60ies. I don’t really see the FR1 as a unique, or particularly successful design.

        Yet, I really like how the MAS 39 was converted to a precise rifle by essentially a small group of enthusiasts. And it certainly is a cool and interesting rifle, both optically and mechanically.

      • The 5 franc coin is 29 mm in diameter, which is exactly 1 moa per 100 meters.
        The group is slightly smaller than a circle with a diameter of 2 times the diameter of the coin.
        At best, this is approximately 1 moa.
        For a service rifle, at “police” distances it is not bad.

        For it to be “0.5 moa by 200 meters”, the group must be the same diameter as this coin.

        • I don’t speak French but the translation on the screen is:
          “The best shooters with that rifle at 200m could put 10 shots inside a 5 franc coin.”
          To me that means that the ten shots could be covered by the coin. The picture displayed is about 2 coins across but it doesn’t say that they is the group that he is talking about

  3. Courage !That’s how i srarted speaking with French the 1st t;ime in France in 1996. Now, married to a French woman, wether i speak Greek or French it’s the same for me. Anyway, my wife has no matching serial numbers with the one back in ‘ 96 !

  4. That scope mount he put the Zeiss scope on the FR-F1 looks like a regular German claw mount (“Suhler Einhakmontage”). Makes sense as it is easy to use, returns to zero, is durable and is found in any gun shop (around Europe at least).

    • No, this is a “Schwenkmontage” (sideways pivoting mount). They are still popular in Europe, although I must admit that they offer zero advantages to a proper Picatinny system.
      (By the way, Europeanscooe mounting systems would be enough for a whole forgotten weapons issue)

  5. Though as Ian has shown recently by clearing all stages with his FR-F1 with the APX scope and barely any training with the rifle, the APX scope is obviously not as bad as it might seem by the paper specifications. Something adjustable from 3-10 or similar range scope would have been of course been preferable.

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