The MAS 49/56 uses a direct gas impingement system without a gas piston. Instead of the gas piston, the powder gases are fed from the barrel through the gas tube directly to the front face of the bolt carrier. Many MAS-49/56 rifles imported as surplus in the USA, had been rechambered to fire the 7.62x51mm NATO round. In contrast to the lighter, mass-produced MAS 49/56 (around 275,000 units), the original MAS 49 has only been produced in limited quantities (around 21,000 units). The MAS 49/56 remained in service until 1990.
Silhouette (Visual identification)
Global distribution map
The MAS 49/56 is found in 24 countries according to our data.
This map is a reflection of data on global distribution and production provided primarily by the BwVC. It is not exhaustive. If you would like to add to or amend the data, please click here.
Global distribution list
The data on global distribution and production is provided primarily by the BwVC, but also from national and regional focal points on SALW control; data published by think tanks, international organizations and experts; and/or data provided by individual researchers on SALW. It is not exhaustive. If you would like to add to or amend the data, please click here.
|Country of origin|
|Production without a licence|
|G||Government: Sources indicate that this type of weapon is held by Governmental agencies.|
|N||Non-Government: Sources indicate that this type of weapon is held by non-Governmental armed groups.|
|U||Unspecified: Sources indicate that this type of weapon is found in the country, but do not specify whether it is held by Governmental agencies or non-Governmental armed groups.|
It is entirely possible to have a combination of tags beside each country. For example, if country X is tagged with a G and a N, it means that at least one source of data identifies Governmental agencies as holders of weapon type Y, and at least one other source confirms the presence of the weapon in country X with non-Governmental armed groups.
Visual identification (Silhouette)