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The FAMAS is a late Cold War era assault rifle of French origin. It was developed by MAS in the late 1960's but not adopted by the French forces until 1978. The name FAMAS stands for Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne, which is French for assault rifle of the Saint-Étienne weapons factory.
The FAMAS has a bullpup design and can be easily identified by its oversized carrying handle. The FAMAS uses the uncommon lever delayed blowback action also found on the AAT-52 machine gun. A metal receiver is used which is mostly covered by a plastic frame. It can be used by both right and left handed persons since the ejection mechanism can be reversed. The sights are mounted on the carrying handle. A bipod is fitted as standard and straddles along the forwarm when not in use. The FAMAS is also used in the French FELIN future soldier programme, in which the carrying handle is replaced by optical sights.
The FAMAS fires a proprietary version of the 5.56x45mm M193 round from 25 round magazines. Later models are able to fire both the proprietary M193 and the NATO version of the 5.56mm round and use 30 round STANAG magazines. The FAMAS is a select fire weapon with options for semi-automatic, three round burst and full automatic fire. The cyclic rate of fire is about 1000 rpm and the maximum effective range is about 400 meters. The FAMAS is capable of launching rifle grenades, a practice which is widely used in French service.