Belgian SAFN M1949 Bayonet
Double-edged spear-pointed blade, steel hilt and pommel, wood scale grips, steel scabbard with frog hook and internal retaining spring.
This bayonet fits the Saive Automatique, Fabrique Nationale (SAFN) Modèle 1949 self-loading rifle.
Serial number ‘44246’ stamped on one side of the pommel, ‘SA30’ is stamped on the other side as well as a crowned J proof mark. SA30 stands for ‘Saive Automatique 30 caliber’, the Belgian version of the M1949 rifle being chambered for the .30–06 cartridge. The throat of the scabbard is also stamped ‘44246’, indicating an original matching pair.
The blade has been parkerized, while the hilt, pommel and scabbard have been painted. The blade’s finish is in good shape apart from where the internal spring rubs against the blade on drawing and sheathing. The painted finish is also very good, and has only been lost on raised points like the chape finial and the locking button.
Developed in the late 1930s, the SAFN came too late for World War 2, and was a little dated by the time it was in mass production in the 1950s. There was a marketing problem too: NATO nations could get surplus weapons free from the US or UK, while Soviet states were obliged to buy Soviet designs. The SAFN found its niche domestically and with non-aligned countries: about half of the 176,000 built were used by Belgium, the rest were exported to Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Indonesia, the Congo, Egypt and Luxembourg. More modern rifles overtook it during the 50s, including its much more popular successor, the FN FAL.