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Pistolet-Mitrailleur de 9 mm modèle 1949
MAT Submachine Gun.jpg
MAT-49 on display. This weapon has the front grip lowered in firing position, but lacks a magazine.
TypeSubmachine gun
Place of originFrance
Service history
In service1949–Present
Used bySee Users
WarsFirst Indochina War
Korean War
Suez Crisis
1958 Lebanon Crisis
Algerian War
Vietnam War
Laotian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Portuguese Colonial War
Rhodesian Bush War
Western Sahara War
Shaba II
Chadian–Libyan conflict
Lebanese Civil War
Libyan Civil War[1]
Syrian Civil War
Northern Mali conflict[2]
Central African Republic Civil War (2012–present)[3]
Production history
DesignerPierre Monteil
ManufacturerManufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle
Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne
No. built~ 100,000
VariantsSee Variants
Mass3.5 kg (7.7 lb) without magazine
4.2 kg (9.3 lb) with 32-round magazine
Length460 mm (18 in)
720 mm (28 in)
Barrel length230 mm (9.1 in)

Cartridge9×19mm Parabellum
7.62×25mm Tokarev (VPA converted)
ActionBlowback, open bolt
Rate of fire600 rounds/min[4]
Effective firing range100 m (110 yd)
Feed system20 or 32 rounds
35 rounds (VPA converted)
SightsIron sights

The MAT-49 is a submachine gun which was developed by French arms factory Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) for use by the French Army and was first produced in 1949.


In 1949, after evaluating several prototypes (including a collapsible design from Hotchkiss), the French MAT factory began production of the MAT-49 9 mm submachine gun. The MAT-49 used a machine stamping process which allowed the economical production of large numbers of submachine guns, then urgently required by the French Government for use by Army, French Foreign Legion as well as airborne and colonial forces to meet the need of a compact weapon.[5]

Production continued at Tulle until the mid-1960s, then switched to the Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne plant (MAS), where the weapon was produced until 1973. In 1979, the French armed forces adopted the FAMAS 5.56 mm NATO assault rifle, and the MAT-49 was gradually phased out of service.


Paratroopers of the 2e REP from the French Foreign Legion storming Kolwezi in 1978.

The MAT-49 saw widespread combat use during the First Indochina War and the Algerian War, as well as the 1956 Suez Crisis.[6][7] The weapon found considerable favor with airborne and mechanized troops, who prized it for its simplicity, ruggedness, firepower and compactness.[7]

After French forces left Indochina, the People's Army of Vietnam and Viet Minh converted many captured MAT-49s to the Soviet 7.62 mm Tokarev pistol cartridge, then available in large quantities from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. These converted versions could be distinguished by a longer barrel and a higher rate of fire at 900 rpm.[8][9]

North Vietnam covertly provided MAT-49s to anti-French occupation groups during the Algerian War after the French left Indochina.[10]


The MAT-49 had a short, retractable wire stock, which when extended gave the weapon a length of 720 mm (28 in), and the magazine well and magazine could be folded forward parallel to the barrel for parachute jump or with a 45° angle hence allowing a safe carry until the magazine well is brought back to vertical position before opening fire. Barrel length is 230 mm (9.1 in), with the MAT-49/54 manufactured with extended barrels and non-retractable wooden stocks.[5] As issued, the MAT-49 fires a 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge, using a single-column 20-round magazine for desert use or 32-round similar to the Sten magazine.

The MAT-49 is blowback-operated and box magazine-fed, with a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute on full auto. The MAT 49/54, a modified MAT-49s manufactured for police forces, had two triggers, allowing use of full-auto fire or single shots, but most were manufactured as full-auto only.[5] Minus magazine, the MAT-49 weighs about 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds), which is heavy for a submachine gun. The weapon incorporates a grip safety which is located on the backside of the pistol grip. The rear sights are flip-up and "L"-shaped, and marked for a range of 50 and 100 meters (55 and 109 yd). Production ceased before the introduction of the FAMAS assault rifle in 1979.


  • MAS-48 - prototype variant.
  • MAT-49 - main variant.
  • MAT-49/54 - gendarme variant with extended barrel and fixed wooden stock with a sling bar.[5]
  • MAT-49 silenced - variant fitted with a suppressor.[6]
  • MAT-49 M - variant modified by the Viet Minh, firing in 7.62×25mm Tokarev. It had a longer barrel, modified 35-round magazine, and a higher rate of fire (900 rpm). It was distinguished from the 9mm version by having a letter "K" stamped on the top of the receiver's endcap and the side of the compatible magazines. Spare parts were still produced in the early 1970s, the gun being used by the Viet Cong.[11]


Togolese sailors equipped with MAT-49 in 2007.

Non-state entities[edit]

See also[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In the video game Team Fortress 2, one of the playable classes, Sniper, appears to use a submachine gun, heavily inspired by the MAT-49 but with oversized sights and no stock as one of his standard weapons.[25]


  1. ^ Chivers, C. J. (20 April 2011). "Inferior Arms Hobble Rebels in Libya War". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  2. ^ Rebel Forces in Northern Mali: Documented weapons, ammunition and related materiel, April 2012-March 2013 (PDF) (Report). Conflict Armament Research and Small Arms Survey. April 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Importante saisie d'armes en Centrafrique" [Major seizure of weapons in the Central African Republic]. RFI (in French). 16 March 2014. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "MAT-49". Modern Firearms. 27 October 2010. Archived from the original on 13 April 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d McCollum, Ian (22 January 2020). "MAT 49-54 Police Submachine Gun". Forgotten Weapons. Archived from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The French MAT 49 Submachine Gun". Small Arms Review. Archived from the original on 12 June 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b Leulliette, Pierre (1964). St. Michael and the Dragon: Memoirs of a Paratrooper. New York City: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. p. 29.
  8. ^ "French MAT-49 Sub-Machine Gun". Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  9. ^ Johnson, Harold E. (September 1973). Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide – Eurasian Communist Countries (PDF) (3rd ed.). Defense Intelligence Agency. p. 98. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  10. ^ McCollum, Ian (18 October 2016). "Vietnamese Guns for Algeria". Forgotten Weapons. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  11. ^ a b Ezell, Edward Clinton (1988). Personal Firepower. The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War. Vol. 15. Bantam Books. pp. 18, 35, 42. OCLC 1036801376.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Jones, Richard D., ed. (27 January 2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010 (35th ed.). Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  13. ^ de Tessières, Savannah (April 2012). Enquête nationale sur les armes légères et de petit calibre en Côte d'Ivoire: les défis du contrôle des armes et de la lutte contre la violence armée avant la crise post-électorale [National survey on small arms and light weapons in Côte d'Ivoire: the challenges of arms control and the fight against armed violence before the post-election crisis] (PDF) (Report). Special Report No. 14 (in French). UNDP, Commission Nationale de Lutte contre la Prolifération et la Circulation Illicite des Armes Légères et de Petit Calibre and Small Arms Survey. p. 97. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Podcast V33: Iranian Submachine Guns (1941-1979)". Silah Report. 21 June 2021. Archived from the original on 26 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  15. ^ Conboy, Kenneth (23 November 1989). The War in Laos 1960–75. Men-at-Arms. Vol. 217. Osprey Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-85045-938-8.
  16. ^ "Turkish Army Land Forces: Military equipment and vehicles of Turkey". World Army Equipment. 15 April 2010. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  17. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (21 April 2011). "Libya's Rebels Fight with Ancient, Useless Weapons". Wired. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  18. ^ Stewart, Michael P. (2012). The Rhodesian African Rifles ~ The Growth and Adaptation of a Multicultural Regiment through the Rhodesian Bush War, 1965-1980 (PDF) (MA). Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Command and General Staff College. pp. 41–42. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2013. The Armageddon group, like the other ZANU terrorists sent into Rhodesia, was armed with a mixture of semi-automatic Soviet SKS 7.62mm rifles, French MAT-49 9mm submachine guns, German Luger 9mm pistols, Soviet F1 and RGD5 grenades... Quoting Wood, J. R. T. (2009). Counterstrike From the Sky: The Rhodesian All-Arms Fireforce in the War in the Bush 1974-1980. South Africa: 30 Degrees South Publishers. ISBN 978-1-92014-333-6.
  19. ^ McNab, Chris (2002). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. p. 304. ISBN 1-84013-476-3.
  20. ^ "Những vũ khí viện trợ đã ra trận cùng QĐVN trong trận Điện Biên Phủ" [Weapons of the Vietnamese Army in the battle of Dien Bien Phu]. (in Vietnamese). 11 November 2014. Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  21. ^ Escrivá, Ángeles (10 February 2012). "Hallan en Francia un viejo arsenal de subfusiles de ETA de los años 70" [Found in France an old arsenal of ETA submachine guns from the 70s]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 8 January 2014.
  22. ^ Fuente Cobo, Ignacio & Mariño Menéndez, Fernando M. (2006). El conflicto del Sahara occidental [The Western Sahara conflict] (PDF) (in Spanish). Ministerio de Defensa de España & Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. p. 69. ISBN 84-9781-253-0. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  23. ^ Abbott, Peter (2005). Modern African Wars (2): Angola and Mozambique 1961–1974. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-85045-843-5.
  24. ^ Touchard, Laurent (17 December 2013). "Centrafrique : le Soudan a-t-il armé les ex-Séléka?" [Central African Republic: Did Sudan arm the ex-Séléka?]. Jeune Afrique (in French). Archived from the original on 30 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  25. ^ "SMG - Official TF2 Wiki | Official Team Fortress Wiki".

External links[edit]