The MAT-49 sub-machine gun was developed at the French state arms factory MAT (Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle) in the late 1940s, and was adopted by the Armee de Terre (French Army) in 1949.  The first batch of these weapons was delivered in 1950 and production of the MAT-49 continued at Tulle until mid-1960s after which it was transferred to the MAS factory at the St. Etienne.  The weapon accepted a 20 or 32 round box magazine and had an effective range of 100 metres.

 Production ceased during 1979 when French army officially adopted the FAMAS assault rifle. For some 30 years, the MAT-49 was widely used by French military and police forces and it saw service in the Indo-China and Algeria campaigns.  This weapon was also encountered in ex-French and Portuguese Colonies in Africa and Indo-China.

The North Vietnamese produced local copy of this weapon that chambered the7.62mm TT round.  The MAT-49 is no longer used by French army but is sometimes seen in the hands of the Police and Gendarmerie officers.  The North Vietnamese captured many of these weapons from the French which they converted to take the 7.62mm x 25mm cartridge by fitting a longer barrel.