One of the premier French guns used in the war was the Chauchat machine gun. Even though the weapon had poor magazines, which caused a number of stoppages in combat, the main appeal to the weapon was the fact that it was a fully automatic machine gun that was light and small enough to be operated by only one man, versus having a four man team operate a machine gun at once.
The main fault of the magazine was the low quality parts and the open side design, which allowed mud to get inside. But when operating reliably, the Chauchat was an indispensable weapon for the French in the war. In many ways, it was the predecessor for the modern day assault rifle.