SOLD FOR: $1,006.00
Model: Le Francais The Policeman
Serial Number: 10616
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1964
Caliber: 7.62mm Browning / .32 Auto
Action Type: Double action only (DAO), semi-automatic tip-up barrel, magazine fed, gas ejected cartridges, with no provision to cycle the slide.
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “LE FRANCAIS_CAL. 7.65” under a crown and “ST. ETIENNE”. The right side of the slide is marked “MANUFRANCE_SAINT-ETIENNE”. The top of the slide is marked “LE FRANCAIS” in an oval milled into the stippled rib of the slide. The left side of the frame is marked with a crown and “ST.ETIENNE”. The top of the frame, over the trigger guard is marked “10616”. The bottom of the slide is marked “10616”. The left side of the barrel is marked with a crown and “ST.ETIENNE”. The left side of the barrel lug is marked “P / T/ E” with an arrow going through a bullseye and “10486”. The right side of the barrel lug is marked “846”. The grip panels are marked “MANUFRANCE”, “MF” in a circle and “SAINT-ETIENNE” in a rectangle.
Barrel Length: 3-1/4”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a curved blade integral to the barrel. The rear sight is a “U” notch on a base dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are finely checkered plastic factory grips with Manufrance’s logo and Saint-Etienne proudly displayed on each side. The panels display indentations, light scuffs, scratches and small chips into the edges with clearly defined checkering. The checkering has small areas of compression. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 97% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows wear on interacting metal surfaces, namely the trigger, at the butt of the magazine well, on the take down pin, on the barrel and the slide. There are sparse scratches and scuffs. The screw heads are tooled but highly serviceable. The markings are crisp. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrel tips up for loading when its lever is depressed (but doesn’t automatically flip-up when the magazine is removed as on later types like the Aimee). This is the only way the barrel can be loaded for the first shot, as there are no provisions for racking the slide manually. The pistol fires in double action mode only. The barrel release lever biases towards the unlocked downward position but does not open the barrel without depressing the lever further downwards. We did not fire this handgun. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Provided is a Pistolet “LE FRANCAIS” factory box with no end label. There is loss to the cardboard material, with frayed corners, indentations in the sides, lost material with cracks on one corner and losses on the top box rim. There is illegible writing in red wax pen on the label. The label is highly legible. The box rates in Very Good overall condition. One blue eight round magazine is included with scuffs from use, that rates in about Fine overall condition. Also included is a copy from “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Handguns” with a picture and description of the pistol at auction.
Our Assessment: The 7.65mm Le Français was the first and only Manufrance pistol to have slide serrations or an extractor. It was made on a larger frame than the Poche or the Policeman–somewhat similar to the type Armée. There were three cooling fins on the barrel over the breech. The barrel is retained by a manually removable pin like the type Armée, and is raised by a small coil spring just behind the pin. The front sight is integral with the barrel, whereas the rear sight is dovetailed into the slide. There is a lanyard ring at the base of the grip on the left side. The 7.65mm Le Français was possibly the best self-loading pistol ever made by Manufrance, but it came far too late to compete successfully with similar guns from other major manufacturers. Only about 10,000 were made and this model is almost never seen in the U.S. and sells at a very high premium here. This pistol has a beautiful blued finish, finely checkered grips and a very unique design. It is sold with a non-serialized factory box which is correct to the pistol. The barrel has a different serial number than the slide and frame, but all fits together very well. This may be the result of assembly. Demand was low and production slow. Guns were still being assembled years after the parts were manufactured. The pistol can be disassembled within seconds for maintenance and has a strong bore, making it either a shooter or a collector’s piece (your opinion about the mismatched barrel).