The MAC 47/1 Submachine Gun Had One Chance to Shine
The postwar French army picked a more reliable design
The Pistolet Mitrailleur des Manufactures d’Armes de Châtellerault Modele 47/1 was one of a number of French compact submachine gun designs that various arsenals and private companies developed during the late 1940s. It was a product of the government arsenal Manufactures d’Armes de Châtellerault, an institution best known for its FM M24/29 light machine gun.
The Pistolet Mitrailleur 47/1 came chambered in nine-millimeter and rather ingeniously fed from MP40 magazines, which were in abundance at the end of World War II. The MAC 47/1 had a folding stock and magazine assembly.
With the war having halted French small-arms development, in the late 1940s demand spiked for new infantry rifles — a need the MAS 49 eventually met — and new submachine guns, the latter to replace the MAS 38s, STENs and other war-surplus designs then in use with the French army.
Manufactures d’Armes de Châtellerault offered the MAC 47/1 for the submachine-gun requirement. Like Hotchkiss’ Pistolet Mitrailleur “Type Universal” and the MAT 49 — the weapon the French army eventually adopted — the MAC 47/1 was as small and compact as its designers could make it. The MAC 47/1 weighed just 2.1 kilograms and was just 40 centimeters long when folded. An integral magazine well cover rested behind the stick magazine, making a fore grip, and covered the well when the magazine was folded forward.
The French army’s technical section tested the MAC 47/1 in May 1948. Testers praised the weapon for its light weight and ease of folding — a useful feature for transport and parachute operations. However, the weapon’s poor ergonomics and lack of grip made it difficult and unpleasant to shoot. Testers also found that the recoil spring wasn’t strong enough due to poor spring quality. As a result, the army dropped the weapon from the trials — and ultimately selected the MAT 49, instead.