Most of the accessible (if a six month appointment can be considered accessible) records of French Military designs are in the Centre of Military Archives (Technical) at the old Arsenal, MAC (Chatellerault) in central France.
[color=#FF0000]You have also very important archives near paris in Vincennes[/color]
And then only certain records can be copied (France has still some very Byzantine rules regarding “state secrets”).
[color=#FF0000]No, only a 20 (30) years waiting period for military documents[/color]
Do not expect to walk in and get things done in a couple of days…it may take a year or two to see if the stuff you want is actually there, then to classify it as “accessible”, and then get photocopies or Microfilms (Most is still not in Digital Format). Whilst the records go back to pre-Revolutinary times ( 1789) there are large gaps, especially in the French Airforce records towards WW II.
[color=#FF0000]Yes and no.
Once you know where the documents you are looking for are, it is very quick. You ask the box and they bring it.
To help you you have a listing of the documents;
The problem being to know what you are looking for !!!
Example: you want designs of the 7.92 ctges.
They could be in the trials of 1930, or in the captured german archives or in the manufactures from sfm, and so on.
You can’t do anymore xeros copies or scans of the pages of a book;
But you can will xeros copy or scan any loose page.[/color]
Forget it about archives in chatellereau or vincennes, it will be too difficult and time consumming for you.
About the patents, now.
They are not in the above archives but at the INPI in Paris.
It will take you two days by each year you want to see.
Here again, forget it !
Furthermore it will be time consumming for nothing, all the patents relative to guns and ctges having already being xeros copied.
It is better for you to visit the different museum.