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Answering the Whatziss

Jason got it.  A blank-firing attachment.

In this case, the BFA for the French MAS 49/56.


Since you brought up blank adapters, I have a technical question: Does anybody out there know why the DoD uses black powder for blanks instead of modern ball or flake powder? We see trainees that are less than enthusiastic about convoy training because of the added effort required to clean their weapons after firing blanks.

 There is nowhere near enough smoke produced from blank firiing for them to be using black powder.

The greater fouling in the bore is simple - no bullets, so every round is pretty much just depositing more.  And since the blank adaptor works by constricting the bore, there's possibly more gas just sitting in the system, available for deposition in the other parts.

But I don't believe they're using black powder.
John - I didn 't think they were using black powder either for the reasons you mentioned but that is what it said in an online course I did. The course was developed by Oklohama State U under contract with the Defense Ammunition Center. Unfortunately, I can't access the course from home for reference since it requires a card reader and I don't have one. I'll see if I can find the reference when I go to work on Monday. You are probably right and the course info is incorrect which should be addressed. 
 If you think about it - what's the likelihood, in this day and age, of using something as corrosive as black powder?  Yes, it was (and may still be) used as ignitor charges for bag-guns, but I don't see it's use in small arms - even in blanks.