SOLD FOR: $484.55
Make: Manufacture Francaise D’Armes ET Cycles De Saint-Etienne (Manufrance)
Model: Le Francais Type Policeman No. 5 (No. 5 is their standard model, without engraving.)
Serial Number: 436330
Year of Manufacture: 1922-1934 (Pistols made after 1934 had a ring at the base of the magazine which held a spare cartridge for inserting into the chamber,) http://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/Francais/francais.html
Caliber: 6.35mm (.25 ACP)
Action Type: The action is double action only with a tip-up barrel for loading the first round into the magazine. There is no provision for manual cycling of the slide.
Markings: The right side of the slide is marked “MANUFACTURE FRANCAISE D’ARMES ET CYCLES DE SAINT ETIENNE”. The lower right shoulder of the barrel is marked “45633” and the right side of the barrel lug is marked “NO5”. The underside of the barrel in front of the lug is marked “1”. The left side of the slide is marked with a crossed cannons “MF” proof mark, “”LE FRANCAIS” TYPE POLICEMAN”, “CAL. 6.35”, “BREVETE S.G.D.G.” and a St. Etienne “MF” logo.
Barrel Length: 3.5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded blade fixed to the top of the barrel. The rear sight is a “U” groove in a raised boss at the back of a spring, which engages notches in the breech plug to hold it in place.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber with an “MF” logo surrounded by wreath at the top of each grip. There are a few light marks in the smooth borders, grind marks on the bottom edge of the left grip (to get clearance for grasping the magazine) and a 5/16” crack at the top of the right grip. The checkering shows light to moderate wear in the right grip and moderate to heavy wear in the left grip. The grips rate in about Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel, frame and slide are blued. The trigger is case colored. We think the trigger guard, which is really a spring that locks the frame in place was finished “In The White”.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is sharp but shallow, typical of the small caliber automatics. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 93% of its metal finish. There are a few light handling marks in the barrel, slide and backstrap, with a small nick in the right side of the barrel at the front of the slide and two tiny nicks in the right front top edge of the slide. There a several tiny spots of surface frosting sprinkled over the sides of the slide, heavier frosting on the trigger guard, and a small spot of pinprick surface erosion in the front strap. There is also thinning on the front edges of the slide. The knurling on the tip-up lever and on the plug at the back of the slide shows light wear. The grip screws are disfigured. The markings are clear with crisp edges. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrel tips up for loading when its lever is depressed and automatically flips-up when the magazine is removed. 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. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one 7 round blued magazine. The floorplate of the magazine is fitted with checkered ears for grasping and has a “MF” logo in a wreath on its bottom surface. The magazine shows surface loss near the top of the magazine and the knurling on the ears shows light wear. The magazine is in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: This an exceptional example of a rare “Le Francais” Type Policeman made by Manufrance. Manufrance (Manufacture Francaise D’Armes ET Cycles De Saint-Etienne) was a large manufacturing company that made everything from guns to dewing machines and bicycles as well as distributing weapons made by other manufacturers located in the U.S. and in Europe. In 1893, the company made a small palm-squeezer pistol, which was followed in 1914 by the first “Le Francais” model, a tiny 6.35mm pocket model (Modele de Poche). A slightly larger 6.35mm Type Policeman was added in 1922. The Policeman had the same frame and magazine as the Modele de Poche but featured a longer barrel for greater accuracy at the sacrifice of concealability. The pistol has a blowback operated double action only action and a barrel that tips up for loading a round in the chamber – a necessary feature singe there are no provisions for racking the slide manually to insert a cartridge from the magazine. The “Policeman” was popular enough that it was manufactured until 1968, with those made after 1934 having a ring on the bottom of the magazine that held an extra cartridge for inserting into the chamber. This pistol is in about Fine condition with about 93% of its original finish remaining. The finish shows thinning on the front edges of the slide and a few tiny marks in the barrel and slide. There are few tiny spots of surface frosting sprinkled over the slide, heavier frosting on the trigger guard and a small spot of pinprick surface erosion in the middle of the front strap. The grips are checkered black hard rubber that show moderate wear in the checkering, grind marks at the bottom of the left grip (to provide more clearance for grasping the magazine) and a small crack at the top of the right grip. The bore is gray with sharp but shallow rifling, typical of small caliber pistols. There is no erosion in the bore. This is a fantastic find for the collector of European handguns and those of French manufacture in particular. This model was made over a long span of time, but this is only the second we have seen in over three years, so they can’t be that common, at least not here in the United States. That any pre-war French pistols exist after occupation of the country by the Germans during WII is amazing.