30 Comments

    • Presumably French police still keeps them (in 9mm Para):

      “The French are notoriously reluctant to part with equipment that is still serviceable. Friends who have visited France have seen ancient MAC 35 and MAC-50 pistols being carried, MAT-49 submachineguns and MAS-36 bolt-action rifles, as well as Mousqueton AMD – a Ruger Mini-14 produced for use by the French Police.”
      (from Quora)

      • As of 2021, MAC 50 pistols are still in use in the french ground forces, mainly in the reserve/staff units, while they are being phased out in favor of MAS G1 (licensed Beretta 92F) and Glocks.

        MAC 35s and MAT 49s are no longer in use but may still exist in the farthest row of the most obscure state warehouse.

        MAS 36s might still be in use in riot control units (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité and gendarmerie mobile) as grenade launchers. Maybe in honor guards (garde républicaine) for ceremonial duties too.

        AMDs went to the penitentiary administration in early 2000s at the latest, but CRS used them as late as mid-2010s, though most probably in a very limited role, (e.g. when G36s aren’t available).

  1. Amazingly manageable with potent 7.62 Tokarev round. I would guess the weight helps it quite a bit. For comparison – this gun weighs empty 3.5kg while PPS43 (Sudayev) weighs only 3kg. Talking “built like a tank”. 🙂

    • “Amazingly manageable with potent 7.62 Tokarev round..”(C)

      No wonder.
      The MAT49 is known for its smoothness and controllability, and the TT cartridge has roughly the same recoil momentum as the 9×19.

      • True, the weight of 9mm Para is about 120gr vs 85gr for Tokarev’s. The velocity of lighter one is perhaps 90 m/s more but is somehow balances out.

    • I did some calculations a long while back,

      7.63 tok, hasn’t any more recoil impulse nor case head back thrust, nor peak pressure compared to 9mmP

      What it has, are higher muzzle velocity and more muzzle blast and Flash.

      There’s not a significant difference At the other end either

  2. The Youtube image looks like Ian is firing the gun upwards. It took me a second to realize that it can’t be so and the image is simply tilted about 45° upwards… Just reminds me of festivities in some countries, such as the recent Taliban victory celebration in Kabul, which routinely lead to casualties due to people firing their guns in the air with live ammunition to celebrate.

      • “What goes up must come down!” I’d hate to be on the receiving end of such tomfoolery. After all, small-arms bullets are not designed to achieve orbital escape velocity.

  3. I shot tens of thousands of rounds in my time in the French Military. We used to keep the oil cans in the air with 2 rounds at a time. It is one of the most simple “pistolet mitrailleur”I have ever shot. The best I have tried.
    Yes the Germans and Austrians and Swiss have great weapons. But in my time, this was the best I had, as a “sergent” in the Alpine troops! GREAT MEMORIES!

  4. I wonder what barrel the North Vietnamese used for the conversion? Was it a repurposed 30 cal barrel or did they make their own? Very cool!!

    • I’ve heard claims that PPSh and PPS barrels (presumably from wrecked guns) were used by the VM and VC, and given the sheer variety of improv gunsmithing guerrillas get up to I have no reason to doubt that, but I would suspect that if large scale conversions were carried out by the NVA they would have most likely have had new barrels given that North Vietnam had the necessary equipment and were building new 7.62 tok subguns in their own right

  5. I once read about MAT 49s in 7.63 mm and assumed it was a typo. Sometimes, we can be too smart for our own good.

    Why isn’t that neat old gun still being made?

  6. According to A.B.Zhuk, who was author of “Rifles and Submachine guns” the MAT-49 was so popular among VietKong that they produced their own copies in 7,62 in the junge in almost “home-made” conditions. But conversions were much more siple, of course.

  7. I will always remember my first close up meeting with MAT49. It was christmas
    1977 and I was driving through snowy pass in the french massif central about 11 at night.In the middle of nowhere there was a gendarmerie van slewed across the road.When I opened the window I had a MAT49 barrel pushed into my face .They were looking for Pierre Conty wanted for murder and bank robbery.They never caught him but they certainly made sure I would always recognize the MAT

    • Funny and fitting story; much appreciated. A C-mas romance in French style. Lucky you the officer practiced “trigger discipline” 🙂

  8. Other than its roughly 10 pound loaded weight, the MAT 49 almost qualifies as a true “machine pistol” due to its compact dimensions.

    Its lack of a manual safety other than the 1911-type grip safety was due to its intended purpose. It was designed for paratroops and vehicle-mounted troops who needed a compact weapon that could deliver a lot of firepower in a hurry with no diddling around.

    To that end, not only does it have a retracting wire stock like the U.S. M3 “Grease Gun” (which the French shamelessly copied), but the magazine housing folds forward to lie parallel to the barrel. That small “nub” at the bottom from of the housing/foregrip is a latch that secures it to the underside of the barrel jacket. And yes, it can be folded forward with a loaded magazine in place.

    This made the weapon completely safe even when cocked, because there was no way for the bolt to put a round in the chamber and fire it.

    As such, when a para landed and found himself facing an irritated Viet Minh, all he had to do was yank the magazine down and back and go to work.

    The MAT 49 is one of the most intelligently-designed, well-built, and brute-reliable SMGs ever made, and has never really gotten the respect it deserves.

    cheers

    eon

    • “(…)magazine housing folds forward to lie parallel to the barrel.(…)”
      This was in requirement, so it also appeared in competing designs
      MAC 47 https://guns.fandom.com/wiki/MAC_47
      MAS 48 https://guns.fandom.com/wiki/MAS_48
      However, drive for compactness might be already noticed in pre-war MAS-38 which albeit sporting fixed wooden stock was smaller and lighter than many 1930s sub-machine guns. Apparently French successfully used their brains to figure what they actually need.

      “(…)its roughly 10 pound loaded weight, the MAT 49(…)MAT 49 is one of the most intelligently-designed(…)”
      If MAT-49 is too heavy for you, but you want to have ability to fold magazine and using this in lieu of safety, then use SIG MP-48 http://modernfirearms.net/en/submachine-guns/switzerland-submachine-guns/sig-mp-48-mp-310-eng/

    • “…The MAT49…has never really gotten the respect it deserves…”(C)

      Not to be confused with “was not respected” with “was not distributed”.
      The French did not make MAT49 for export, so it is a rather rare animal.
      And among those who dealt with them, he just enjoyed respect and popularity. For example, the same Vietnamese.

  9. Can’t see one without being reminded of the last scene of The Day of the Jackal (the original movie). The effects of it were a bit over done in the movie, but no doubt that it would have done the job.

  10. Hello,’
    I was happy to see my former weapon ( NVA MAT-49 SMG) demonstrated by Ian. A little background on the weapon! It originally had a longer barrel, but was cut down to make it more compact. The front sight is not original, but was built after the barrel cut. It was brought back from VN and registered during the 68 amnesty. For a short period it was carried by a Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) member before being traded for a carton of cigarettes. I wrote an article on the French MAT-49 SMG in a magazine, and illustrated the weapon in same. After describing how the weapon was capture during a firefight, a friend did an illustration of the former VC carrying it just before he was dispatched. I will be happy to send you a copy, if you provide me with your address.

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