French Weapons Exhibition

A reader emailed in these photos which he took at a weapons exhibition run by a Paratrooper Association. The expo was held in Chambery, France, during the weekend. Sadly these guns are all demilled to comply with French law. Nazi symbols, which are present on some German guns of WWII vintage, must be patched over.

These are repoductions.

[ Many thanks to A.A for emailing me these photos. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • A.A

    Unfortunately, when taking these photos I never thought to do something special with, therefore it lacks some of illustration of combat gear (german jacket reproduction or true Soviet coat of WWII) or real first world war weapons and other real “western period” colt, but still demilled.

    There is the law, but in the seller’s car, you can find other kind of stuff, i think… but i am not sure 😉

  • sd1023x

    Slightly used, only dropped once…twice….I forget!

  • MrSatyre

    Demilling…okay, I get that. Don’t agree with it, but I get it. But patching over Nazi symbols? That’s yet another example of rewriting history, and that I definitely can’t understand.

    Flame on.

  • Lance

    Fraance must be like England no guns for cilvians unless your a criminal.

  • Carl

    The EU politicians love trying to outlaw certain unwanted historical references. The state, rather than debate, research, and science, shall decide what the correct version of history is.

    For the record, I think the Nazis were profoundly evil. But censorship of history is not helping anyone (other than possibly the neo-nazis…).

    On the “deactivation” (destruction really) of firearms, it would be better if they were exported to sane countries, where they could remain functional instead of being turned into garbage. Presumably this would make more economic sense for all parties as well.

  • Bill Lester

    Why do the bolt action rifles have to be demilled? They aren’t significantly different from hunting rifles. 😉

    I love the Lanchester SMG. Funny how the tag looks like it reads “Panchester.”

  • Rignerd

    Some of those look like they have been dropped more than once, must be really old.
    Instead of de-milling them they should send them to us, we may need them the next time France gets invaded.
    As far as the Nazi symbols being patched over, I think it is to keep the politicians from waxing nostalgic for the days when things ran the way they want them to now. National Socialist party = Social Democrat party

  • jaekelopterus

    Rignerd, comparing a major American political party to the German Nazi party is not just offensive, it also betrays a massive ignorance of history. Fascism and socialism very, very different beasts. They are not interchangable or even closely related concepts. Just because the Nazi party used the word “socialist,” that doesn’t mean that they were.

    • Guys, keep on topic. This is a gun blog, not a historical politics blog.

  • Vak


    Gun Laws in France are actually rather nice. Yes, of course, you can’t walk in a sporting goods store and buy a fully automatic MG42, but if you’re a member of a shooting club, you can own almost anything semi automatic ever.

    Also silencers are completely free to own, because we actually understand that noise pollution is a bad thing.

    Hope that clears out a few things.

  • Clodboy

    “National Socialist party = Social Democrat party”

    Actually, that is blatantly false.
    Members of Europes social democrat parties were imprisoned, exiled or killed by the Nazis (Hitler already had the social democrat party banned in 1933), which also explains why the “founding fathers” of the European post-WW2-democracies passed harsh laws to make Nazism the ultimate taboo.

    It should also be noted that swastikas aren’t “banned” in general – if it’s part of a work of art (say, the Indiana Jones movies, which Germans love just as much as the rest of the world) or of educational value, it is considered okay (of course it is debatable whether movies can automatically be considered “art”, while video games and comics have to be censored because they’re apparently too much “fun” to be art).

    But yes, the point of banning swastikas in this case is largely to keep people from “waxing nostalgic” for the Nazis, and having military museums become some sort of rallying point for Neo-Nazis.

    That said, I think the American way of “disagreeing with what a person might say, but defending to the death their right to say it” is a much better solution than to try and legislate the issue. A person should have every right to try and whitewash the Nazis by publishing a holocaust-denial book (which could land you in jail in several European nations), but also be prepared to be scorned and ridiculed by a historically aware society.

  • Aurelien

    “France must be like England no guns for cilvians unless your a criminal.”

    That is not true.

    In France you got 4 kinds of weapon “types”

    Historic, neutralised and black powder are free to own, you just have to register them to your local autorities – except for the neutralised weapons, but they have to be modified by the government-owned St-Etienne Manufacture so they are registered. Historic rifles are pretty much anything made before the Lebel rifle.

    Hunting weapons. They use a whole bunch of calibers, from 12 gauge to .408, and are made (originally) to hunt small to big game. Those you can get when you have a hunting permit, and you need to register them. Semi-autos and pump-action are limited to 3 rounds mags, but who really needs more when hunting ?

    “4th category”. Those are the semi-autos or pump action not limited to 3 rounds and bolt action with more than 10 rounds per mag, revolvers and other handguns not using a “military-type” ammo, and those with a caliber under 7.65mm (.30) and the smooth-bore rifles. You need a permit to own those

    “1st category”. This is the cool stuff : any rifle, handgun, carbine, military caliber, as long as it is not automatic. You can even buy an automatic rifle and have it legally limited to semi-auto before registering it. No limits on barrel length, no limit on magazine capacity, no limit on furniture. You need a permit to own those too.

    So technically if you are in France and you have the correct permit and autorisations, you can own whatever weapon you damn well like. If you want to own an AR-15 with a 7 inch barrel and folding stock, nobody will ask questions. As long as you dont go around shooting your neighbors.

    And of course, anybody with a criminal record will be denied these rights.

    The main problem in France is getting the cool stuff from you yanks.

  • A.A

    Please, let me clarify the French context, which is probably the hardest in Europe with regard to arms:

    the acquisition of a firearm outside a gun club or hunting license is now impossible (22 lr are no more sold to non-licensed of any sort since 4 years). Each weapon is declared legally acquired to the authorities. The downside is that the prospect of defending the people, facing any problem, is low, at least with firearms (give us a guillotine and left it as in 1789).
    To be interested in firearms, is quite viril, and also quite negative socially (i wont go on this blog with a public computer in a public area). People who are practicing sport shooting does not speak about it in public. However, the positive point is that the murders with firearms, through gangs (nice product exported from USA), is also very low. There are some AK47, from eastern countries, but only for the crime agains banks etc. France is therefore safer in times of peace (no school massacre like in Germany or Finland).

    Message to “freedom lovers” of USA : be prepare to send us some weapons and amunition (not through your gouvernment but citizens to citizens), dark times coming.

  • Aurelien

    A.A, i don’t think its true you really cant tell people you are a gun enthusiast in France. But then again, i’m the man not caring, and guns are my job, so my point of view could be biased.

    Try selling it by pointing out France got many medals in the winter olympics only because we know how to shoot rifles accurately.

    And again, even with artists (who are known for being anti-gun hippies) i never had a problem with the fact that i shoot, own and like guns. Just have to own it.

  • A.A


    a big part of your social network must be composed of gun enthusiast, as you say ; but mine is composed of dumb hippies from university and and BoBos (for Bourgeois-Bohemians, rich people who want peace, food and contemporary art for the all world).

    Reality is a collective hallucination shared. Our visions are disjointed on this last point 🙂

    ps : keep in touch, i can ear the sound of riots.

  • Mu

    Just a semi-comical anecdote on swastikas in Germany, as a kid I remember when they started blotting out the swastika stickers in the little plastic model aircraft kits. Latter they removed the whole sticker sheet, probably too expensive to hand-alter them to be compatible with the law. You can have a Stuka hanging from your ceiling, but not with a swastika on the tail fin.

  • CY

    A.A., gangs are not an exclusive export from the United States of America.
    Remember , we are a relativly tyoung nation, we didnt invent gangs,and export them out, we received the concept from older nations and made it better.
    Having said that, if there are bad times coming and you are in the right, we’ve got your back.

  • CY

    That is some of the neatest weapons i’ve seen in a long time. The old ones like that are the weapons of the movies I grew up on, they inspired me to become a soldier years ago.

  • Bill Lester

    Merci beaucoup to our French friends for clarifying your domestic firearms situation. I’d read about French hunting and gun laws in an old edition of the Gun Digest. At the time they seemed pretty good compared to most other European countries. I’m happy to see it hasn’t gotten significantly worse.


    Much like the uninformed jabs at French soldiers – “Rifles for sale, only dropped once” is common – I think your comment about gangs being an American export is just a bit unfair. Organized crime is historic in the south of France, especially the Marseilles area. The so-called “French Connection” is well known in my country, La Brise de Mer and “Le Mat” less so. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian Mob has infiltrated your country as well. To say organized crime is something of American origin is unfair and provably false.

  • A.A

    Unfortunately, I think my response would require far too many political references. However, if you want to redirect the discussion to another area, I am at your disposal.

    • guys, please stay on topic.

  • Mountainbear

    Are these still in working order? If yes, I doubt that such an exhibition would be possible in Germany. Cause guns = evil. The EU’s been trying to undermind private gun ownership for a while. Latest I heard is they want us to register every round we have. Here in Austria socialists and green party have tried to ban private guns several times, but they’ve failed so far. Ironically, legally owned private guns are the least used weapons for crimes in Austria.

    I’d love to get a working K98, but that’s most likely either banned because it’s “NAZI!!!!” stuff (even if it’s a Swedish model) or some nut is still putting them under “military grade weapons” and thus they’d be banned here.

    “Fascism and socialism very, very different beasts. They are not interchangable or even closely related concepts.” Wrong. Hitler was left wing. Stauffenberg was right wing. Both Hitler and Göbbels said so numerous times. Hitler even lamented in early 1945 that the Nazis had failed to wipe out the political right wing of Germany.

  • Aurelien

    Well in France some politicians are trying to ban guns, but the french people are notorious for their rebellious instinct. The day they succeed, they probably will have an uprising in their hands, and considering the hundreds of weapons not accounted for – mainly WWII-era weapons dropped by the allies, but they still do the job right ? – that could be a problem.