A Review of Fabrique Nationale MAG

A Review of Fabrique Nationale MAG

Fifty years since its first introduction, the Fabrique Nationale MAG is still one of the most popular and generally more accurate machine guns in the world. The weapon is still in production today, a testament to its immense widespread reputation. Fun Fact: the MAG stands for Mitrailleuse d’Appui General, “General Purpose Machine gun”. Ernest Vervier, the Fabrique Nationale’s top designer was tasked to begin developing the prototype of the MAG in the 50s. As the main idea behind the development was to create an all-purpose machine gun that is similar to the German MG-42, the MAG emerged bearing some of the attributes present in the former machine gun.

This is apparent in the MAG’s various aspects such as spring-loaded dust cover, quick-change barrel, and trigger mechanisms. In addition, the majority of the weapon’s design borrowed a large part of the Browning Model 1918 BAR’s formula. Development for the MAG completed in 1957 and it entered Belgian military market in 1958, which is why the weapon also went by the name of MAG 58. Other markets, chiefly NATO followed suit, ordering the weapon and propelling it to a level of fame for years to come. It wasn’t alone; competitions manifested in MG-3, AA-52, and M60. Still, the MAG thrived in the market of Western GPMGs (General Purpose Machine Guns). The US initially rejected the weapon, though, in favor of M60. The M60 would be replaced by the MAG, which was marketed in the US as M240.

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As a selective firearm, the MAG does not come with a single shot capability. Options of the rate of fire are only available in 600 rpm and 1,000 rpm. Ammunition goes the weapon’s upper left side, assisted by a belt. The MAG accepts linked belts with links that are either disintegrating or non-disintegrating. Cloth belts cannot be used with the MAG.

The MAG uses a sight of leaf type, whose aperture and notch are attached to its rear. A simple blade sits on the weapon’s front section. The rear sight is appropriated for sighting range of 200 m to 800 m. Standard equipment for the MAG includes a folding bipod. With this bipod, the MAG is stabilized on the ground. As many as 200,000 units have been produced and issued to more than 80 countries. Countries, where the MAGs are deployed, include Belgium, the UK, the US, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Egypt, Argentina, and China (without a license).

Entered service1958
Caliber7.62×51 mm NATO
Weight (empty)11.79 kg
Length1 263 mm
Barrel length630 mm
Muzzle velocity840 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire600 or 1 000 rpm
Practical rate of fire200 rpm
Magazine capacityBelt-fed
Sighting range800 m
Range of effective fire800 m
Range of effective fire (mounted on a tripod)1 100 m