The French Army is seeking to replace its ageing MAC 50 and MAS G1 9x19mm pistols and has published a tender requesting proposals from prospective companies. The move comes as part of the French Army’s larger small arms modernization programme which has seen the adoption of the German HK416 as the HK416 F and the launch of a search for a new semi-automatic sniper rifle.
Forcesoperations.com reports that the request for proposals was posted on 2 March and requests the “supply of 9 x 19 mm semi-automatic pistols (PSA), a training system, accessories, the system support and associated cartridges.” The tender requests 75,000 pistols and over 50 million cartridges, with 2 million of these being subsonic, hinting at an interest in enabling at least some of the pistols to use suppressors.
The new pistol will replace the MAC Mle 50, introduced to replace the Modele 1935A and 1935S. Nearly 350,000 MAC 50s were produced between 1950 and 1978. It was largely replaced by the PAMAS G1, a licensed copy of the Beretta 92. The MAS G1 was adopted in 1989 and around 100,000 are believed to have been produced at Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne before it closed in 2001.
The majority of the French Army’s MAC 50s are around 40 to 50 years old now and the oldest G1s are approaching 30. From the quantity of 75,000, it appears France aims to replace all of its remaining MAC 50s and begin the process of phasing out the older G1s. A new pistol would certainly include accessory mounting points, ambidextrous controls, probably be striker-fired and have adjustable grips.
The exact requirements for the pistols is not yet known, the French military has been discussing the introduction of a ‘pistolet automatique nouvelle génération’ or new pistol for a few years now, but more pressing projects like the adoption of a new infantry rifle have taken precedence. The tender will likely see proposals from most of the major players, Glock, FN, and SIG Sauer.