Type Submachine gun
Place of origin France
In service 1939-1950
Used by France, Germany, Italy
Wars World War II, First Indochina War
Weight 2.87 kg (without magazine)
3.56 kg (with magazine)
Length 623 mm
Barrel length 224 mm
Cartridge 7.65mm Longue, 7.65x17mm Browning SR
Rate of fire 600-700 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 350 m/s (1,148 ft/s)
Effective range 100m
Maximum range 200m
Feed system 32 rounds
The MAS-38 was a French submachine gun designed prior to the Second World War and used by French, German and Italian forces.
The Pistolet Mitrailleur MAS modèle 38 (MAS Model 38 Submachine Gun) was developed from the experimental MAS-35 itself derived from the STA 1922 and the MAS 1924 both in 9mm produced immediately after WW1. Prior to the development of this weapon France used a variety of German and Swiss submachine guns.
MAS, the Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne (Weapons industry of Saint-Étienne), was a French supplier of arms that manufactured several firearms for the French Military, including the MAS-36 rifle, the MAS-49, and the FAMAS. It is now part of GIAT Industries. The French Ministry of War approved the MAS-38 in 1938, but production did not begin until 1939. Initially the weapon was supplied to the Gardes mobiles (National Guard) rather than the French Army.
The MAS-38 was chambered for the 7.65mm Longue cartridge, an exact replica of the .30 Pedersen cartridge. This was also the cartridge used for France's M1935 series of service pistols, allowing for limited standardization, but with the effect of preventing French soldiers from using captured enemy ammunition.
Production ended in 1946. By that time 1958 were built before German occupation, and further production is unknown. The French police continued to use the MAS-38 after WWII until it was replaced in the 1950s by the MAT-49 submachine gun.
 Design details
The MAS-38 is 623mm (24.53 in) long with a 224 mm (8.82 in) barrel; it weighs 2.87 kg (6.33 lb) empty. It uses a 32 round box magazine. The muzzle velocity is 350 m/s (1,148 ft/s) and it had a rate of fire of 600 to 700 round/min.
The MAS-38 is easily recognizable due to its seemingly bent barrel assembly. This is because the receiver and butt diverge in alignment from the axis of the barrel by several degrees. To make the weapon compact its bolt recoils inside a tube running through the buttstock. To allow a natural aiming stance, the butt had to drop while the receiver had remain in alignment. This required that the bolt approach the breech at an angle and the face of the bolt was cut obliquely to allow it to close evenly on the cartridge. The MAS-38 also features an unusual safety catch: the bolt was locked (in either the forward or rear position) by pushing the trigger forward. A valuable feature was that tools were not required for its disassembly.
A very high quality weapon, the MAS-38 was machined from solid steel and only a few parts were stampings. It was designed with a buffered sear assembly to prevent wear and increase the life of the internal parts. A dual range sight system was concealed within the receiver so as to be out of sight until it was flipped up for use.
The odd appearance of the MAS-38 did not detract from its accuracy, but its cartridge was underpowered compared to the German 9mm standard pistol ammunition. However this cannot have made any difference to the outcome of the Battle of France, and in any event the German army seized the MAS plant in 1940 just as the MAS-38 was entering large-scale production. The Germans accepted the gun as a substitute standard weapon, naming it the 7.65 mm MP722(f). They continued production of the gun for their own armed forces and supplied some to the Vichy French.
On April 28, 1945, it was used by Italian partisans to shoot the former dictator Benito Mussolini.