As Americans are shocked and horrified by the carnage of another extremist Islamic attack in Paris—this one far worse than the Charlie Hebdo and Kosher market massacres—one of America’s most popular rifles is once again on the frontline in the war against terror. And it’s not a gun familiar from the nightly news. That gun is a nearly 30-year-old variant of the Ruger Mini-14 called the Mousqueton A.M.D., the latter is an abbreviation for Armement Moyen de Défense. The veteran rifles from Ruger have appeared on broadcasts around the world in hands of helmeted French police. And the guns are typically older than many of officers carrying them.
Adopted by France’s Gendarme Nationale in 1978, the Mousqueton A.M.D. roughly translates as “carbine intermediate defense weapon” and the “A P” on the receiver of the example depicted here represents Administration Pénitentiaire or “prison administration.” Back in the late 1970s, it was thought that a wood-stocked rifle with a 20-round magazine would not be as threatening on the streets of the “City of Light” as the bullpup FAMAS adopted by the French military and known as “the bugle.” Now, of course not worrying about appearance, French Army troops man the streets with their FAMAS carbines. Also making an appearance on the streets of Paris is a variant of the Beretta Model 12 9x19 mm NATO submachine gun, identifiable by its forward pistol grip as well as its folding buttstock.
The wood-stocked A.M.D rifles were based on Ruger’s selective-fire AC-556 and featured a black fiberglass top handguard and some other changes requested by the French. The A.M.D. is described in Ruger & His Guns as: “French National Police (Gendarme Nationale): Approximately 2,500 rifles, variation of the AC-556 machine gun, with fiberglass hand guard, 18½” barrel, blued, no warning roll mark on barrel, special front sight, gas block with side sling swivel, curved magazine latch, special roll mark. Some with specially checkered stock.”