Le Français (pistol)

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The Le Français pistol, made by Manufrance, was produced from 1913 until 1969 and was chambered in a variety of calibers. It was mainly sold in France, primarily to the public but also to some officers of the French Army (during the Phony War), and to France's municipal police. In 1912, Etienne Mimard, the Head of Manufrance (La Manufacture Française d'Armes et de Cycles de Saint Etienne) started development of the handgun. He obtained the patent for the first model (Modèle E) on August 6, 1913, with n° 472.505. Sales started in 1914 with the name "Le Français".

Operation & Additional Information

It is loaded through a tip-up barrel and after this first round, another loads from the magazine. The first shot can only be loaded into the barrel since there is no way to manually pull back the slide, which is certainly atypical. The trigger is double action only. The pistol was the first to function solely in double action.

The barrel is fixed by pin at the front and held at the rear by a spring lock, maneuverable by lever on the right side of the weapon, which allows when the latter is released, the raising of the barrel for the introduction of a cartridge, the bearing being ensured by a spring blade acting as a bridge, the barrel is released automatically also when the magazine is removed. (Translated from hidden section on the Wikipedia Page).

Models & Specifications

Note: Much of this was taken from the Wikipedia article (as of 2/22/2022) and translated to English, so there is possibility of mistranslation and strange formatting, etc.

Model List

The model list below may be inaccurate or incomplete but should serve as a basic approximation of models of Le Francais pistols that were produced. A couple of minor details appear to be contradicted in upcoming sections, so more information is absolutely needed!

  • Manufrance "Le Français" modèle E (France – Pistol DAO in 1913 – 6.35mm/.25 ACP)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Franco (France – Pistol DAO – 6.35mm/.25 ACP)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" manumodèle (France – Pistol DAO – 6.35mm/.25 ACP)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Type Policeman (France – Pistol DAO – 6.35mm/.25 ACP)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Type francais-Champion (France – Pistol Selective mode DAO /SA – .25 ACP or .22LR)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Type ARMEE (France – Pistol DAO – 9 mm Browning Long)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Type Français civil (France – Pistol DAO – 7.65mm/.32 ACP)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Type Français 50 (France – Pistol DAO – 7.65mm/.32 ACP)
  • Manufrance "Le Français" Type Français 7,65 (France – Pistol DAO – 7.65mm/.32 ACP)

Pocket Model

Basic version, the most compact. The form of the handle (grip?) modified in 1924. It was produced without interruption in copies(?). Was used extensively by the French Resistance during World War II.

  • Dimensions (length x height): 11 × 8 cm
  • Cartridge: .25 ACP (6.35mm Browning)
  • Barrel length: 6 cm
  • Mass empty/loaded: 300 / 340 g
  • Capacity: 7 or 8 cartridges

"Policeman" Model

Variant of basic model(?) with an elongated barrel aimed at official markets and equipping NFB agents.

  • Dimensions (length x height): 15 x 8 cm
  • Barrel: 8.4 cm
  • Empty / loaded weight: 350 / 410 g
  • Capacity: 7 or 8 cartridges

"Champion" Model

Sport shooting version with an adjustable rise. She was sold from 1929 to 1934.

  • Dimensions (length x height): 24 x 11 cm
  • Cartridge: .25 ACP or .22 Long Rifle
  • Barrel: 15 cm
  • Empty / loaded weight: 462 / 503 g
  • Capacity: 7 or 8 cartridges

.32 ACP Model (?)

Only one model produced from 1950 to 1969, with 10,000 pistols produced(?). Suffered from tougher legislation. Footprint similar to Walther PPK.

Note: Not 100% what the above is referring to. Also, the previous model list shows multiple iterations chambered in .32 ACP. More information is needed!

  • Dimensions (length x height): 15 × 12 cm
  • Cartridge: .32 ACP
  • Barrel: 8.3 cm
  • Empty / loaded weight: 630 / 700 g
  • Capacity: 6 or 8 cartridges

"Army" Model

The largest of the Manufrance Le Français pistols. Longer barrel, larger grip for higher capacity, etc. Tested by the French Army in 1928 and 1933 but never adopted. Only 4,000 were produced between 1928 and 1939. The gun appeared to feature fins from 1932 on(?)

Dimensions (length x height): 20×13 cm Cartridge: 9mm Browning Long Barrel: 12.8 cm Empty / loaded weight: 630 / 700 g Capacity: 8 cartridges


  • Henrotin, Gerard – French LE FRANCAIS pistols explained – HLebooks.com, 2011.

External links