French Winchester 94: A Backup Arm for Fliers and Drivers


The French military during World War One used a number of American-made small arms, including both the Winchester Self-Loader and the Winchester Model 1894. A total of 15,100 Model 94s were purchased by France in 1913 and 1914, and they were used as a supplemental arm for drivers and airfield guards. In addition, they were a backup alternative as an aircraft emergency weapon in case of a crash landing behind enemy lines (the primary rifles for this purpose were the Winchester Self-Loader and the Berthier adapted to use a Chauchat magazine).

The Model 94 rifles used by the French were nearly identical to the standard production model, with only two changes. One was the addition of side-mounted sling swivels (there is disagreement over whether this modification was done by Winchester or by the French arsenals upon receipt of the guns). The other was the addition of metric range markings to the rear sight, out to 1000 meters.

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