The FAMAS XIV was designed to serve two purposes. It is an update / replacement of the U.K.'s previous service rifle, the aging and problematic FAMAS (and, despite sharing the name, is an entirely new weapon), but also was intended to become the new primary arm of all Commonwealth nations. Thus, it can be considered the successor of the F.N.A.'s M16 series, the Australian F88 (a locally-produced derivative of the Austrian "Steyr AUG") & the Spanish CETME Rifle, as well.
The XIV, like the original FAMAS, retains a blowback-operated mechanism: an unusual feature for a modern rifle. However, it dispenses with its predecessor's lever-delayed mechanism in favor of the Advanced Primer Ignition (API) method. This is a very delicate system, in terms of manufacturing - machining and cyclic timing must be extremely precise and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to re-chamber such a weapon for a different calibre. Prior to the development of the FAMAS XIV, this system was largely reserved for submachine guns and heavy-calibre weapons (usually autocannons); the idea of using it on a service rifle was essentially relegated only to academic interest.One of the major problems that had to be overcome was the tendancy among API systems for rate-of-fire & muzzle velocity to be mutually exclusive, so to speak (hence why its use was mostly limited to rapid-fire short-range weapons and high-powered automatic cannons). However, the API method permits a much lighter bolt than other blowback-operation mechanisms while lessening recoil and muzzle climb. A downside is that it must be fired from an open bolt, which tends to have a negative effect on accuracy.
The FAMAS XIV, however, is considerably more accurate than its Soviet AKA-13 rival. This is because it incorporates many advanced features, such as polygonal rifling (which is otherwise mostly used in accuracy-dependent competition shooting). It also fires a ballistically-superior round - the 7.5x44mm Court (Court being French for "Short") - that is proportionally longer and more aerodynamic, overcoming the tendancy of the early Kalashnikovs' 7.62x39mm cartridge and the modern AKA-13's 8.5x45mm cartridge to "spin out" at longer ranges. The development of this round was exhaustive and intensive, and it is regarded by many experts around the world as the "ideal cartridge".
- The FAMAS XIV is more accurate than the AKA-13, with better rifling, a more aerodynamic round & higher muzzle velocity. It also retains this accuracy out to much better ranges.
- The FAMAS XIV's 7.5x44mm round generally has better penetrative properties than the heavier, proportionally-shorter 8.5x45mm Soviet round.
- The rifle is also generally lighter and more compact than its Soviet counterpart
- The bullpup design reduces the physical stress on the soldier's arms because it is held closer to the body
- It is also regarded by many as being easier to reload than the AKA-13, although this advantage is not intrinsic to a bullpup configuration (often quite the opposite)
- It is less complicated internally and more easily field stripped
- Components of its internal mechanisms are much more easily replaced
- It has a higher automatic rate of fire
- The FAMAS XIV's Court Cartridge lacks the raw hitting power of its Russian counterpart
- Even though its parts are more easily replaced, it suffers from greater wear & tear and thus is rather less reliable than the AKA-13. It is, however, still more reliable than the original FAMAS it has replaced.
- Recoil and muzzle climb are greater (although its compact design and bullpup configuration makes this much easier to control).
- The weapon's open bolt firing system makes it more vulnerable to picking up dirt and other obstructions. The mechanism itself is also considerably more sensitive to this than is the AKA-13, making it less robust and useful in harsh climates or in poorly trained hands.
- The FAMAS XIV is physically more fragile than the AKA-13 and its operating system more sensitive to damage, with all the disadvantages this would imply.
- The FAMAS XIV does not disappate heat build-up as well as the AKA-13, although its outer shell does not have a tendancy to get as hot.
Type: Battle Rifle / Assault Rifle
Place of Origin: United Kingdom
In Service: 2016-Present
Wars & Conflicts:
- Palestinian Conflict (2001-Present) [used by Commonwealth advisors supporting Byzantine troops]
- Various conflicts throughout Asia, the Middle East, South America & Africa
Designer: Charles Gilles
- Manufacture d'Armes de St. Etienne (MAS)
- Freedom Group (in North America)
Produced: Late 2016 - Present
Number Built: Classified
Weight: 3.27 kg / 7.21 lbs empty [without magazine]
Length: 750mm (29.7 inches)
Barrel Length: 490mm
Action: Advanced Primer Ignition (API) Blowback
Rate of Fire: 900-1000 rpm Automatic
Effective Range: ~600-700m
Feed System: 25 round curved box magazine
- Varies by country & service branch
- For more information on the API Blowback mechanism, see: http://guns.wikia.com/wiki/Blowback#Advanced_Primer_Ignition_.28API.29_blowback
- The 7.5x44mm Court round is based upon a real-world expirimental British cartridge, the .280 British round, but scaled up slightly (from 7.2x43mm to 7.5x44mm). They are proportionally identical.