5. MAS 36
This French weapon is a short, carbine-style rifle with a slab-sided receiver and two-piece stock. It features the modern, rimless 7.5 by 54mm French cartridge chamber. This is a shortened version of the regular 7.5×57mm MAS mod. 1924 cartridge introduced in 1924 and later modified in 1929 the FM 24/29 light machine gun.
The MAS 36 rifle was the result of the French experience in World War I. It combines features of various other rifles such as the British SMLE rifle, the U.S. M1917 Enfield rifle as well as the German Mauser. With these features, it looks rather ugly and rough but is massively robust and reliable as a service rifle. Its bolt handle was bent forward. That’s an awkward position, but it served its purpose well: to come into a convenient position for the firer’s hand. Modern versions of the rifle have since had their bolt handles bent backward into a downward-facing position just like those of many bolt-action rifles.
The MAS-36 rifle was fitted with large rear aperture and front post, and had a fairly short barrel and sights designed for typical fighting ranges. It had no manual safety and would normally be carried with an empty chamber and a loaded magazine only to be loaded when the soldier was engaged in combat. The MAS-36 featured a 17-inch spike bayonet which would be reversed in a tube just below the barrel. It also had a stacking hook offset for standing a number of the rifles, usually three of them.