Manufacture d'armes de Châtellerault
The Manufacture d'Armes de Châtellerault ("Châtellerault Weapons Factory"), often abbreviated to MAC, was a French state-owned weapons manufacturer in the town of Châtellerault, Vienne. It was created by a royal decree of 14 July 1819 to manufacture swords, then (after 1850) firearms and cannons. Antoine Treuille de Beaulieu in 1840 began to develop the concept of rifled artillery at Châtellerault for the French Army. The Lebel Model 1886 rifle, the first military firearm to use smokeless powder ammunition and the primary French infantry weapon during World War I, was developed and produced here.
Following the French tradition of state arsenals competing with each other and with private industry, MAC designed and manufactured several well-known French small arms, including the FM 24/29 light machine gun and its derivatives the MAC mle 1931 and MAC 1934 machine guns, as well as the MAC 1950 (later MAS 1950) semi-automatic pistol.
Some features of prototypes developed by MAC, including the MAC-48 submachine gun, MAC 1950 machine carbine and MAC 1955 automatic rifle, were retained in the production of other designers' weapons which were adopted by the French Army.
The facility closed as a weapons manufacturing facility in 1968 and was transformed into the central repository of all French military archives related to armament matters (Centre des Archives de l'Armement et du Personnel). It is open, for older declassified material, to bona fide researchers upon written request.
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