The worst gun ever

We often hear about people talking about a gun they don’t like and they will proudly proclaim it to be “The Worst Gun Ever.”  I’ve heard this a lot this last while… and it’s become irritating.  No, Sir.  That is not the worst gun ever.  By comparison that gun you dislike, the Micro Eagle, The High Point, the Taurus… whatever Taurus you have… Is a Marvel of Engineering and Manufacturing when you consider the gun that truly was The Worst Gun Ever.

The Worst Gun Ever: The Chauchat

The Chauchat was designed by a Frenchman who looked at other guns and took ideas from several other guns… then put them all together with the aide of economical French manufacturing. Individual concepts of the design worked, before they were combined. Like Mustard and Chocolate… great with other things, but not together. That was the heart of the Chauchat. And then take those things and make them as poorly as possible.

The Liberator pistol was better built.

This gun used any excuse to Jam.  Like a critically lazy teenager, you couldn’t do anything to make it run.  The gun used a long recoil action, open magazines, and poor ergonomics.  In WWI Trench Warfare, this was completely the wrong approach for… anything.  If it got dirty, it would stop working.  If it got too hot, it would stop working.  And when it did get too hot… and by hot I mean slightly warmer than a couple magazines worth, the bolt wouldn’t go forward to chamber a round.  You had to let it cool off for 10 minutes.  Nothing better than a Malf that takes 10 minutes to clear.  Even when it did run, for those brief moments of effort, the gun was notoriously inaccurate. It patterned like a shotgun, but not where you wanted the shots to go. So yeah, the gun was completely useless.  The French, knowing the gun was crap, didn’t like to use them themselves.  So they pawned them off on other countries, including Americans who went to fight in WW First. The Americans tried to chamber it for .30-06, and that somehow only made matters worse. Oh, and recoil would make the gun shake its self to death and it would come apart if the parts didn’t just break apart. Yeah, it was that bad.

Bad quality of materials, bad manufacturing, and a bad design… That was the Chauchat. The Worst Gun In The World.

The French should stick to Fashion Designs.

Okay… no… they shouldn’t do that either.

35 thoughts on “The worst gun ever”

    1. I think so too. I mean, who the hell could look at a freaking snail and say “You know, I could eat that right there.”

    1. I had a Jennings for about a month once. As long as you remembered to take it apart and stretch the recoil spring after about every 50 rounds, it worked fine…..LoL

  1. The French do make good bread, and snails are a marvelous excuse to eat good bread soaked in garlic butter.

  2. What was dumber, though? Issuing a POS like the Chauchat to our troops, or not issuing the outstanding BAR because of fears that the Germans might copy it?

    P.S. The MAS 36 and 49 were excellent rifles by any standard.

    1. What was even dumber was that the excellent Lewis gun was ignored due to a pissing contest between the gun’s designer and the Army’s Chief of Ordnance. The Marines, being uninvolved loved the Lewis but, when they arrived in France, away went the Lewis – in came the Chauchat.
      And Bashing French military technology based on this sorry example?
      How’s about the French .75 and the Renault M1917? Both are regarded as being the best of their class for the period.
      And the Chauchat was the first MG designed for walking fire by one man.

    1. Yeah, like in the first half of WW1 when they alone held 80% of the line.
      And when they totally caved at Verdun. Oh wait, the longest battle in history ended pretty much in a draw with German casualties just slightly lower than those of the French.
      Falkenhayn said he’d “…bleed France white”. Sorry Erich, you bled Germany to at most a pale pink.

      1. To be honest though, the ribbing the French get about surrendering mostly stems from the perception that all their wars since WWI have ended in them surrendering.

        Realistically, in WWI, the French held the line and lost damned near an entire generation of adult males. Subsequently, in WWII, they practically let the Nazi’s waltz straight into Paris without much of any resistance. For whatever reason, they haven’t waged an effective military campaign since the first world war.

  3. The worst gun EVER is the one that doesn’t work when you NEED it. Even if it is user error (like not taking it off safe). That still makes it the worst gun ever at that point in time.

  4. Hows about a worst gun that one of us might actually have occasion to buy or use?

    A Cooey bolt action .22 is my nomination.

  5. They made a decent 9 in the MAB if I’m not mistaken. And Manurhin makes/made decent revolvers. If I happened to be in France and needed a gun and someone tossed me an MR-73 and a bunch of .357 shells I wouldn’t cry about it.

    But yeah, the Chauchat. Awful in the extreme. Parts usually didn’t even interchange between other Chauchats. Probably would have been better if they turned them into straight pull bolt actions. But then it’s a moot point due to their innacuracy.

  6. I think people are far too critical of the Chauchat. The French used it throughout the war, and into the 20’s, without issue. Of course, the French version was chambered in the revolutionary, radically tapered and rimmed 8mm Lebel, not the long, sleek, rimless .30-06. Condemning the Chauchat because it didn’t work in a caliber IT WASN’T DESIGNED FOR is kinda like condemning AR-15’s because the .22LR conversion kit you bought doesn’t work. You wouldn’t try to convert a .40 S&W Glock to .38 Special and then complain that ALL Glocks are unreliable, would you?

    1. You’d have a point if all the Chauchat’s issues were feed related.

      In reality it suffered from poor metallurgy(1), foolish design choices like those enormous windows in the magazines(2), a poorly executed long-recoil mechanism(3) that required the addition of a gas assist to work at all(4), and ergonomics clearly designed to fit some being other than human.

      1. Plumbing pipe usually falls short of ordnance steel standards.
      2. Just what trench warfare gun needs – a square foot of opening for dirt to get in.
      3. There’s a reason you don’t see many of those outside the Browning Auto-5 and clones.
      4. Hooray, all the complexity of two mechanisms in one!

    2. AP you can’t be serious. You weren’t even guaranteed parts interchangeability between two Chauchats. How is that even remotely acceptable?

  7. The ChauChat fall into what I call a political weapon or special interest weapon. No real testing in nasty conditions and a refusal to admit to the mistake. Not quite as bad but still bad was the Reising Submachine gun that the US Marines got stuck with in the early part of WW II. It was intricate and had factory hand fitted part in it an poor corrosion protection. One story had some Marine who stripped their sub guns down and threw the all the parts into a barrel of boiling oil. They couldn’t get them back together right.

  8. Reminds me of a favorite joke.
    In Heaven, the cooks are French, the cops British and the engineers German.
    In Hell, the cooks are British, the cops German and engineers French.

  9. In its defense, my American History prof said the parts could be used to construct a fairly efficient gin still.

  10. I think you’re forgetting the Japanese Type 94 pistol-a monumental combination of suck and fail-and that was the early production pieces,the ones produced near the end of the war make the ChaChat seem a marvel of precision engineered reliability.

    1. Nope, as bad as the 94 is it wasn’t a primary weapon. No one did any assualting with a Type 94.

  11. Still,I would not want to be the Jap tanker or air crewman issued that piece of crap.At least French Chachat gunners were (in theory) supposed to be issued .32 ACP Ruby automatics as backup weapons.

  12. Lock n Load R Lee Emery has one of the chauchat’s and he manages to get exactly 4 rnds off before it jams and it’s clear and dry.

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