The Faucon balanced rifle (French: Faucon Fusil Équilibré) was a French self-loading rifle designed and produced by LtCol. Armand-Frédéric Faucon over a period of some 10 years from 1908 to 1918 in prototype form only. An early bullpup rifle concept, the Faucon was meant to allow its user to maintain a lower profile and use less effort when firing.
An early proponent of the bullpup concept, LtCol. Armand-Frédéric Faucon of the Troupes coloniales began developing his bullpup rifle starting in 1908, submitting a patent application for it in 1910. Claiming that the system could be adaptable to any weapon and boost its performance by allowing its user to maintain a smaller footprint when in cover and reducing the effort required to fire from a number of positions, the rifle (albeit a wooden mockup) was first tested in 1909 at the Vincennes musketry school.
Testing results were unsatisfactory; the weapon, while shorter than the Lebel Model 1886 which was the standard French rifle at the time, was substantially heavier than it. The wooden mockup was trialed again in 1911 at the same school in Vincennes, again with no real success. After these trials, Faucon continued refining his design further.
In order to demonstrate the practicality of his concept, Faucon decided to convert two Meunier A5s into functioning versions of his balanced rifle concept in 1918. The functioning rifles were then tested at Versailles in July 1918 and Châlons-en-Champagne in May or June 1920. Testing of the weapon proved a little bit more positive, with the testers at both ranges feeling less tired when testing these when compared with conventional rifles, although complaints about the trigger were lodged. While somewhat promising, testing on the rifles was discontinued likely because of its unconventional layout.
The Faucon rifles were shoulder-mounted rifles with long, squarish stocks and a folding shoulder rest. The rifles were fed from a six-round internal magazine fed by stripper clips. The functioning rifles were converted from Meunier A5 rifles, with the pistol grips being from the Chauchat.
The weapon's unconventional layout was meant to help its users have a less noticeable footprint when in cover, and to assist them in firing in a number of different positions with less perceived effort; how Faucon thought he would achieve this was by placing most of the weight of the gun on its user's shoulders, rather than having it being distributed around their hands and arms.