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.


  • Frankie

    Interesting view, but AFAIK the special forces have pretty much standardized on the 416 and 417. Would be interesting to know the actual sales figures.

  • arifonzie

    Does it come with a white flag?
    I kid, I kid!!

    • Schuultz

      It’s Belgian, not French.

    • Jeff Wong

      Why did the French lose to the Germans? Because they didn’t have a 4000-mile wide moat to protect themselves.

    • Kevin Berger

      Well, can’t have a entry about the french, on an US, gear-centric, blog, without at least one “surrender” joke, I guess, even a passive aggressive one like this one. The firearms blog is one the least offending on that regard, and the commenters do seem more mature than the “run of the mill” gear blog (and maybe a bit more diverse geographically, too, wonder what is the causality order here?), so there is no need to worry.

      Still, being a windbag, I guess I could make ponderous statements about 2003 and 2012, and what has happened in between that put a *lot* of the quips and jokes and sheer propaganda of the later in a very different light… something about who gets the last laugh, or who was a fool after all… A bit of projection defense mechanism, maybe? Just as the british Elites who loooove to paint the french as “longing” for their lost empire…?

      But, I’ll just go with the most effective tool of shaming, and just remind the “red meat” net’s most obnoxious denizens (AKA arm chair commandoes, pavement supermen, chickenhawks, etc, etc,…) who love to throttle out the white flag, that the Battle of France, for today’s USA, would be to lose 750 000 KIA (rough estimate) and have 3 to 5 fives time as more WIA, in less than 40 days.

      That the french, who were ready to fight WWI all over again (when they shined with bravery, and ended as the world’s premier military power, btw), got their collective ass utterly kicked by the innovative germans, no doubt about it.
      But that they demonstrated cowardice?
      Certainly not.
      And, if so, one would then have to ask what to make of the british expeditionary force, which not only fled the german onslaught, straight to the Isles, its retreat protected by rear-guard actions fought by the… french!, but also left its artillery, heavy weaponry,… in France?
      Didn’t prevent the british to fight bravely later, just as it didn’t prevent the french to fight bravely as well, just like being pushed back like an old lady mugged by junkies didn’t prevent the russians to fight bravely as well. Like it or not, fighting bravely seems to be a pretty universal trait. sometimes, it just not one’s day.

      Sorry to be a bore, but it pains me to see that France still is on the “conservatives” (sic) shit-list, after almost a full decade and going on. But certain people love to be rubes, probably. Hey, I even think that the brits will maybe join the frogs in said shit-list, now that it is expedient – or will that requier some more incentive (like an increasing rivalry between wall street and the city, scrounging for whatever money is left to steal)?


      • Shawn

        I served with French troops in Afghanistan. They are very professional, fit, and fearce fighters. I would be proud to serve with those men anytime, anywhere.

  • ajax

    Forget the SCAR, let’s talk about the giant EOTech looking sight on that .50!

  • bbmg

    If you’re going to replace your entire arsenal, go for something more 21st century – why the SCAR when there’s the strangely lovely F2000 from the same company? Your army is already comfortable with bullpups anyway…

    • snmp

      The Multicaliber of the weapon and the weigh

      • Avery

        Also, most of the elite units are trained with conventional rifles like the Manurhin-built SIG SG550.

  • 15yroldgunman

    Anyone else think the minimi on the front could be in 7.62 or is there a way to tell from a distance

    • snmp

      This unite have Minimi in 7,62 NATO

      • SPC Fish

        Yes, many other countries use 7.62mm versions of the Minimi. the us is one of the only ones to get it in 5.56

  • bob

    Whats with the elaborate French military parades all the time? Is that some kind of cultural thing or a recruitment drive of sorts because in most other western counties you don’t see that very often especially in full gear & military vehicles. Please don’t vote me down, I’m asking a context question politely and not making a judgement.

    • A.g.

      You will note that contrary eastern countries nuclear missilles where not shown 😉

      Many responses :

      Political message on army orientation.
      Public relation.
      Showing taxe employement.
      Displaying new material.
      Diplomatic time (foreign army guest etc).
      Punctal occasion for the president to make gobal orientation speech at medias.

      This show is well appreciate by the population or the army people who participe. Unless the 4 month of drills on rainy or warmy airbase runway to repeat the show, of course.

    • Kevin Berger
  • Jeff Smith

    Does anyone else love European military vehicles? BEAUTIFUL.

    • snmp

      The Panhard (1887 who wase one of the first manufactory of car) build the VPS ( ) base on platform of the Mercedes-Benz Classe G.

    • A.g.

      Beautiful but not news. As you can see on the plate (The first number is the army branch, th two seconds for the year of entry, the third for the kind of vehicule, last was random serial number) it was 1987’s car.
      The mount with heavy .05 cal was not continued. The vibration of the fire deform the structure of the car makind them older faster. Many problem of maintenance too due to the age.

      Le remplacent :

  • Lance

    Most Spec ops use there own collection of weapons from standard issue French weapons to there own like this. I doubt France would adopt either FN or HK weapon dues to politics. However they may be used as ideas for improvements to France’s own design.

    • Shilka-Gunluvr

      I just read that Glock is assembling it’s guns in Russia for distribution. Why can’t FN assemble it’s rifles somewhere in France across from Belgium?

      • snmp

        The FN Hersatl factory is in French Speaking part of Belgium, not fare of the French border.

    • Kevin Berger

      France DOES use HK & FN weapons. What are you talking about? Hell, France once almost adopted the HK 33, and the FNC.

      • Colin

        I’m with Kevin, Lance what are you on about? France have/are using HK mp5’s, 33’s, 416/417, FN MAG’s, FNC’s, etc…

      • Lance

        Im NOT repeat NOT saying France doesn’t have contracts to make foreign weapons. Im saying for long term general issue weapon French politicians will want a domestic design. Possibly a new one or the G2 would be popular in Paris than SCARs. Belgium has areas of strong anti-French sentiment so that would make problems too.

        Overall Spec ops has a huge arsenal of weapons and for small deals political issues are not a problem for the whole army it be a BIG one.

      • W

        Kevin, Colin,

        Lance never said France doesnt use NATO weapons. He said French elite units use their own collection of weapons, which is 100% true.

        Ill also agree with him that France will want to adopt a domestic design, if they do indeed adopt another weapon system due to austerity, etc affecting the Eurozone.

        That is the advantage of the AUG/Thales F90. Thales is headquartered in France.

      • Colin

        Fair point Lance, I get what you mean now…

  • hikerguy

    It would make sense for France to adopt a Europeon design due to the closeness of the manufacturers and technical assistance. There are a lot of good designs there (SCAR, FN 2000, HK 416 & G36, SIGs, etc.). Probably what well hold up the process is that everyone in Europe has the same economic woes we do in the states.

    • snmp

      In fact this Unit have for Team of ten soldier : 1 Minmi in 556 NATO, 1 minimi in 762 NATO, 1 HK417 (for the DRM), 1 G36KV with 40 grenade Launcher & 6 FAMAS F1. The FAMAS is replace by SCAR L in First step.

  • William C.

    The SCAR certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice, but I find it odd that a military now well-familiar with bullpup designs (FAMAS) would move to a conventional design.

    Are any upgraded models of the FAMAS in the running? Like the model used in the FELIN program? Weren’t the French also working on their own OICW type weapon a few years ago too?

    • Denny

      Famas was fine weapon (shot it myslf) but lacked modularity, or versatility of setup for better term. Felin was more or less a study of how far rifle can be ‘mutilated’ by useless crap.

      Considering arms desing potential is non-existent in France (St.Ettiene armory closed) and current Famas has more miles than reasonable, there is no other choice than to buy foreign. FN somehow (with great deal of backing from Valonia goverment) managed to survive, and it pays off.

      Either way, there is equilibrum in technical capabilities of guns and ammunition and practical approach will probably prevail, no matter who the maker is. I do not see why not in this case. We are well past national sentiments period.

    • W

      The FAMAS’ upgraded variant is the G2, which was supposed to address many of the issues of the F1, though not all units in the army have received it.

      It has several glaring flaws, which is the reason why france wants to replace it. After firing it in Afghanistan, it is my opinion that it was bulky, expensive, rather unreliable, and required steel cased ammunition. Im sure the G2 is much improved, though I have no experience with it and the French Army seems to not have adopted it in large numbers.

      I think the French will do better with the Steyr AUG F90 (which TFB already wrote a article about).

      • Lance

        The G-2 is in service with French naval marines the Army only uses F1s.

        Overall the defense cuts happening in France makes it hard to believe they replace the FAMAS any time soon.

      • A.g.

        Despite financial problem, it seems that the Famas remplacement is preview for 2013.
        This weapons as overpass is lifetime and the change of the barrel to fit NATO ammo will be too expensive regarding the age of the material.

        Thales with a modernized AUG is on the rank.
        HK 416 seems to be too expensive for the number.
        Press pictures shows french soldier with FN2000 but no comment on trial on anything else.

      • mosinman

        i was under the impression that alot of problems with modern rifles were bad mags, i recall reading an article in a gun mag, about the FAMAS mags being weak and easly damaged, and coupled with bad ammo made it run poorly, im not sure how true that is, being i never shot one, but if it is true it would make sense

      • W

        mosin, you are correct. From my limited experience with the FAMAS, i could tell that the magazines were the weakness (you thought used black follower mags were bad). They are also 25 rounders, which isn’t bad itself, though France abided by the “disposable” magazine concept much like the US did, though I remain dubious of their replacement frequency.

        The magazines compromise the weapon’s reliability and to add insult to injury, the F1 isn’t compatible with US magazines nor can it reliably fire brass cased ammunition (according to the frenchman). According to Janes, The G2 CAN use the M4/M16 US magazine and has 1/9 rifling to accomodate newer ammunition, though im not sure if the brass ammo issue has been addressed (if it can be addressed at all, given the mechanical operating characteristics of the rifle itself).

      • Lance

        I think the French Marine do use brass case ammo for the G2s. The french navy took alot of time improving the FAMAS. its a pity the Army did not and thats why they have the issue with the G1 they never fixed it when problems first accord.

      • 6677

        Its quite common for weapons outside of the US to not take AR15 specced mags, AR15 mags are slightly wider than the stanag spec. Nothing particularly wrong with that seeming as stanag was never officially adopted (although most NATO countries use it anyway) but alot of EU countries rifles are done to stanag regarless. End result, US made magazines don’t fit.

        Seems a few manufacturers are now realising this and widening the magazine well accordingly, only downside to this is that the vast stockpiles of stanag magazines can be slightly wobbly in the wider wells although apparently not enough to impede function notably.

        I saw some american soldier on some blog that had gotten a chance to fire an L85A2, started bitching about how even though the A2 was supposedly fixed his magazines never fit and started bad mouthing the entirety of britain, nice but he was trying to jam magpul Pmags in it which will never fit. The EMag is built to stanag rather than AR15 specs and does fit (and recently been bought in large quantities by the MoD). The HK416 doesn’t take AR15 magazines either, don’t know about the SCAR.

      • W

        6677, Yeah the Steyr AUG and G36 use their own proprietary magazines, which are more reliable than the aluminum US GI mag in my opinion. The USGI mag, however, is vastly more abundant, which explains why there is increasingly common compatibility with it.

        The L85 CAN use US aluminum magazines and HK’s steel improved magazine. The Pmag is optimized for the AR15 platform; as a result, it is incompatible with foreign weapons that would otherwise take the USGI mag (which is why the EMAG was designed and why they are introducing the M3 variant). The HK416 can fit USGI aluminum magazines (which the USMC only authorizes for the M27 IAR) though it is understandably recommended by HK that their steel mags are used. The SCAR also uses a magazine provided by FN though it can also use US GI aluminum mags (PMAGs can fit, though the notch on the back of the magazine doesnt allow the bolt release to rest all the way down, which can damage the weapon).

  • Tim

    Just for the record, those men on the picture are not from the 11th Brigade Parachutiste but from the COS (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales).
    For the last 14th of July, the COS had its own “carré” (no idea how to translate it, those familiar with military parade will know I suspect). It means that those operators are either from the Navy Commandos, the 1st RPIMa, the 13th RDP or the CPA10(Air force).
    According to people who got to meet those soldiers with the SCAR-L after the parade, they’re from the 1st RPIMa(SAS type regiment, under the Brigade des Forces Spéciales Terre).

    However the Mamouth is usually a reliable source, so it does look like that the Commando element from the Para Brigade are getting SCARs (not the whole Brigade though).
    The rumour says that the necessary procedures to operate the FAMAS are closest to those of the SCAR than to those of the HK41X, which would be definitely something to take into account when selecting a new service rifle.

    I hope I was clear and accurate.

  • TxDog

    With France and Germany being so buddy-buddy lately, I’d have thought they would have gone with something from H&K.