The FAMAS (MAS being the French arsenal at St Etienne, a facility with a long history of firearms manufacture) is a pretty rare rifle in the US, but has gotten a lot of exposure in video games and is more recognizable than one might expect. It’s a bullpup design that began in the 1960s. There was an immense amount of French experimentation with new firearms to replace the MAS 49/56, and the FAMAS was the eventual outcome.
The mechanism is a delayed blowback, using the lever-delaying system developed by Pál Király (the same man who was behind the KE-7 light machine gun and Cristobal carbine). The bolt has a single extractor which can be mounted on either the right or left side, and the receiver has ejection ports on both sides, with a detachable cover to block the one not in use. Between this and the top-mounted charging handle, the FAMAS is a fully ambidextrous design (unlike some other bullpup rifles).
The FAMAS was officially adopted by the French military in 1978, and still uses it. The original F1 version has undergone two major changes, the G1 (the main change being a full-hand trigger guard) and the G2 (changing from a proprietary 25-round magazine to STANAG 30-round mags). A few small countries (Senegal, UAE) have purchased FAMAS rifle, but the primary user is France. A small number of semiauto-only examples were imported into the US in the 1980s, but they are very rare and expensive today.
We have two manuals available for the FAMAS, one in French and one in English (both describing the original F1 variant).
FAMAS F1 manual (English)
FAMAS F1 manual (French)
We also have a short video update on the RP46 top cover project:
It’s really a group effort to get projects like this one up and running. Wwe would like to thank the folks who have helped up do the reverse engineering in particular – without that assistance, we wouldn’t where we are now.