The MAT-49 was a submachine gun developed by French arms factory Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) for use by the French Army.The MAT-49 was a submachine gun developed by French arms factory Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) for use by the French Army.
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 Army for use by Army, French Foreign Legion as well as airborne and colonial forces. Production continued at Tulle until the mid 1960s, then switched to the Manufacture d'Armes de St-Etienne plant (MAS), where the weapon was produced until 1979. In that same year, the French armed forces adopted the FAMAS 5.56 mm assault rifle, and the MAT-49 was gradually phased out of service.
The MAT-49 saw widespread combat use during the First Indochina War and the Algerian War, as well as the 1956 Suez Crisis. The weapon found considerable favor with airborne and mechanized troops, who prized it for its firepower and compactness.
As issued, the MAT-49 fires a 9x19mm 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.
After French forces left Indochina, the VPA 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, a curved 35-round magazine and a higher rate of fire at 900 rpm.
While the MAT-49 was not "issued" to SOG it was used by some Special Forces as a "personal" weapon.
Photos courtesy of the Hall Collection.