Fusil d ‘assaut de la manufacture d ‘armes de Saint-Etienne, or FAMAS, is the service rifle used by the French military. FAMAS assault rifles are manufactured in the Saint-Etienne arms factory, which is owned by the French government ‘s corporation, Nexter.

Nexter grew out of GIAT Industries, a corporation also owned by the French government. Nexter manufactures other military weapons, including:

  • the 20mm modele F2 gun
  • the APILAS anti-tank grenade launcher
  • the FRF2 sniper rifle.

History of FAMAS

France started to develop the GIAT FAMAS in 1967 under a team led by French arms developer, Paul Tellie, to replace the MAS Modele 49/56 as well as other machine and sub-machine guns. Prototypes of the GIAT FAMAS were introduced in 1971. The French military started testing the FAMAS in 1972.

France accepted the FAMAS for its army in 1978. GIAT produced about 400,000 FAMAS F1 units for military use before introducing FAMAS G2 in 1994. The French Navy adopted the FAMAS G2 for use in 1995.

FAMAS was used in Chad and during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Other countries that are using FAMAS military weapons include:

  • Djibouti
  • Philippines
  • United Arab Emirates.

FAMAS Features

The FAMAS assault rifle is manufactured in the bullpup configuration, where the action and magazine are placed behind the trigger of the gun. This type of configuration allows soldiers who are either right-handed or left-handed to effectively use these military weapons. FAMAS include attached bipods, improving these assault rifles ‘ accuracy.

Other features of FAMAS are:

  • a blade front and diopter rear sighting system with two flip-up apertures
  • a detachable cheek piece to cover the ejection port not in use
  • steel alloy and fiberglass construction
  • the ability to launch rifle grenades from the assault rifle muzzle.

Aside from having an ergonomically designed pistol grip, FAMAS also has the following firing selections:

  • automatic fire
  • single shots
  • three-round bursts
  • unlimited automatic fire
  • unlimited three-round bursts.

FAMAS F1 and FAMAS G2 Specifications

Both FAMAS F1 and FAMAS G2 specifications include a 5.56 X 45 mm NATO cartridge, delayed blowback action and a 29.8-inch length without bayonet. With a bayonet, FAMAS F1 and FAMAS G would be 38 inches long. The barrel length of both military weapons is 19.2 inches.

Other FAMAS F1 specifications include:

  • a muzzle velocity of almost 3,150 feet per second
  • a rate of fire of 900 to 1,000 rounds per minute
  • a weight of 7.96 pounds with an empty magazine
  • an effective range of roughly 3,280 feet.

Additional FAMAS G2 specifications are:

  • a muzzle velocity of almost 3,035 feet per second
  • a rate of fire of 1,000 to 1,100 rounds per minute
  • a weight of 8.11 pounds with an empty magazine
  • an effective range of about 1,476 feet.


France is using a modified FAMAS as part of the new Fantassin a Equipement et Liaisons Integres (FELIN), combat system. FELIN includes:

  • clothing that provides ventilation, fire retardation and more protective ballistic protection
  • improved electronic and communication systems
  • wearable computers.