World War II French Resistance Enfield Rifles Go Up for Sale

Finding military surplus firearms with even limited provenance is very rare. Usually, the best that collectors and enthusiasts can do is speculate. But, occasionally, a batch of MILSURPS comes along with some specific history behind them. These Enfield rifles are from one such batch.

French Resistance Enfield No 4 MK I rifles
Navy Arms has secured a shipment of French Resistance Enfield No. 4 MK I Rifles. (Navy Arms)

Martinsburg, West Virginia’s Navy Arms has just imported a shipment of Enfield No. 4 Mark I rifles that were used by the French Resistance during World War II. The Allies dropped thousands of these rifles, along with .303 British ammunition, in large metal pods to help the French people fight the Nazi occupiers.

Vintage SOE/OSS drop package
A sample of what Allied drop packages contained. These items are from those actual packages, displayed in France. (Range Days in France)

The No. 4 MK I was the standard British infantry rifle during the war, and one of the finest battle rifles ever made. It’s often called the British “Last Ditch” rifle since it was rushed to production when Adolf Hitler’s armies were staging just across the English Channel.

The Lee-Enfield bolt action’s speed and reliability are legendary. It cocks on the forward motion and has a relatively short throw. Enfield-armed British infantrymen originated the famous “Mad Minute.”

Lee Enfield Rifle Bolt Action
The Lee Enfield bolt’s speed and reliability are legendary. (Paul Peterson/guns.com)

Navy Arms purchased these rifles directly from the French Government. The military stored the guns in deep underground caves in Southern France for the last 75 years.

Surplus Enfield Rifles in Good Condition

Navy Arms says the walnut stocks have no cracks, which is rare for such guns. They have the original finish with intact inspection marks and cartouches. The butt plates are brass or zinc. The rifles have standard Enfield sights, and the bright bores are excellent with little to no wear or pitting. The original World War II sling is attached to each rifle since they were never removed.

World War II British soldiers
British soldiers clean their Enfields prior to the Normandy invasion. (Warfare History Network)

The bolts and magazines were removed for storage. Navy Arms has matched up as many bolts to their original rifles as possible using the serial numbers. Some rifles, however, will not have matching serial numbers.

The French Government misplaced the detached magazines, so Navy Arms is providing a Parker Hale reproduction magazine made to the original Enfield specifications.

Enfield rifle detachable magazine
The French Government misplaced the magazines, so Navy Arms is supplying Enfield spec reproductions. (Paul Peterson/guns.com)

Navy Arms President Val Forgett says that “These are truly exceptional examples of World War II Enfield No. 4 MK I rifles. There is a very limited supply.” If you want a rifle with a unique history, this might be one for your collection. There are several options for sale. You can purchase these Enfield rifles at ows-ammo.com or directly from Navy Arms.

Enfield No. 4 Mark I Rifle Specifications

  • Caliber: .303 British
  • Overall Length: 44.43 inches
  • Weight: 9 pounds 1 ounce
  • Barrel Length: 25.19 inches
  • Rifling: 5 grooves – right-hand twist
  • Action: Lee Turn Bolt
  • Feed System: 10-round detachable box magazine
  • Loading System: Stripper clips or individually
  • Muzzle Velocity: Approximately 2,400 feet per second depending on load
  • Years of Production: 1941 to 1957
  • Number Produced: Over 5 million
Enfield No. 4 MK I rifle
The Enfield No. 4 MK I is one of history’s great battle rifles. (ar15.com)
William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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