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In 1936 a program began to rebuild worn-out M89 rifles to resemble the new Mauser 1898-based Belgian Model 1935 short rifle.The barrel jacket was removed and a new FN-made barrel fitted with the same style of sights as the M35: a Mauser-patent tangent-leaf rear sight and front blade with protective ears.During World War One the city of Liege was occupied by the Germans so the Belgian government contracted with the American firm of Hopkins & Allen to produce 140,000 M89 rifles and 10,000 carbines.Belgian Mausers were also refurbished by the British firm W. Greener and a Belgian arsenal-in-exile made up of equipment and personnel from MAE set up in Birmingham, England.Rifles in 7.65x53mm and .30-40 Krag were tested, but the Krag-Jørgensen design was chosen instead.

The 1889 Mauser rifle became the first bolt-action service rifle for the Belgian Army and was developed by Wilhelm and Paul Mauser.

Initial prototypes were based on the Gewehr 1871/84 and the Turkish M1887, but the rifle as adopted shared very little with previous Mauser designs.

The M89 was the first smokeless powder Mauser that outclassed the French Lebel 1886 and the German 1888 Commission Rifle.

The infantry and Jaeger models can be differentiated by the number of barrel bands (three on the infantry rifle, two on the Jaeger) and by their sling arrangement; the infantry rifle has a sling between the triggerguard and second barrel band, the Jaeger's sling extends from the lower barrel band to a swivel on the buttstock.

The Jaeger also features a brass finger rest on the underside of the wrist. A variant was adopted by Serbia in 1880 and designated the Model 78/80, chambered for the slightly smaller 10.15x63mm R cartridge.

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