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Battle rifle

Place of origin


Service history
In service


Used by

90+ countries (See Users)


See Conflicts

Production history

Dieudonn Saive
Ernest Vervier




Fabrique Nationale de




Number built



See Variants


FAL 50.00: 4.3 kg

(9.48 lb)

FAL 50.61: 3.90 kg

(8.6 lb)

FAL 50.63: 3.79 kg

(8.4 lb)

FAL 50.41: 5.95 kg

(13.1 lb)


FAL 50.00 (fixed stock):

1,090 mm (43 in)

FAL 50.61 (stock

extended): 1,095 mm (43.1 in)

FAL 50.61 (stock folded):

845 mm (33.3 in)

FAL 50.63 (stock

extended): 998 mm (39.3 in)

FAL 50.63 (stock folded):

748 mm (29.4 in)

FAL 50.41 (fixed stock):

1,125 mm (44.3 in)

Barrel length

FAL 50.00: 533 mm

(21.0 in)

FAL 50.61: 533 mm

(21.0 in)

FAL 50.63: 436 mm

(17.2 in)

FAL 50.41: 533 mm

(21.0 in)


7.6251mm NATO, .280 British[2]


Gas-operated, tilting breechblock[2]

Rate of fire

650700 rounds/min

Muzzle velocity

FAL 50.00: 840 m/s

(2,756 ft/s)

FAL 50.61: 840 m/s

(2,755.9 ft/s)

FAL 50.63: 810 m/s

(2,657.5 ft/s)

FAL 50.41: 840 m/s

(2,755.9 ft/s)

Effective firing range

200600 m sight adjustments

Feed system

20- or 30-round detachablebox

magazine. 50-round drum
magazines are also available.[3]


Aperture rear sight, post front sight;

sight radius:

FAL 50.00, FAL 50.41:

553 mm (21.8 in)

FAL 50.61, FAL 50.63:

549 mm (21.6 in)

The Fusil Automatique Lger ("Light Automatic Rifle") or FAL is a semi-automatic/selective

fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de
Herstal (FN). During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) countries, with the notable exception of the United States. It is one of the most
widely used rifles in history, having been used by more than 90 countries. [4]
The FAL was predominantly chambered for the 7.6251mm NATO round (although originally
designed for the .280 Britishintermediate cartridge) and because of its prevalence and widespread
use among the armed forces of many NATO countries during the Cold War it was nicknamed "The
right arm of the Free World".[2]
A British Commonwealth derivative of the FN FAL has been produced under licence as the L1A1
Self-Loading Rifle.




2Design details


3.1Sturmgewehr 58

3.2FN production variants

3.2.1LAR 50.41 & 50.42

3.2.2FAL 50.61

3.2.3FAL 50.62

3.2.4FAL 50.63

3.2.5FAL 50.64

3.2.6FAL OSW (DSA-58 OSW - Operational Special Weapon)

3.3Other FN Variants

3.3.1Olin/Winchester FAL

3.3.2Armtech L1A1 SAS

4Production and use







4.7South Africa

4.8United States





6.1Non-state users

7See also


9External links


In 1946, the first FN FAL prototype was completed. It was designed to fire the
intermediate 7.9233mm Kurz cartridge developed and used by the forces of Nazi
Germany during World War II (see StG44 assault rifle). After testing this prototype in 1948,
the British Army urged FN to build additional prototypes, including one in bullpup configuration,
chambered for their new .280 British caliber intermediate cartridge.[5] After evaluating the single
bullpup prototype, FN decided to return instead to their original, conventional design for future
In 1950, the United Kingdom presented the redesigned FN rifle and the British EM-2, both in .280
British calibre, to the United States for comparison testing against the favoured United States
Army design of the timeEarle Harvey's T25.[6] It was hoped that a common cartridge and rifle could
be standardized for issue to the armies of all NATO member countries. After this testing was
completed, U.S. Army officials suggested that FN should redesign their rifle to fire the U.S. prototype
".30 Light Rifle" cartridge. FN decided to hedge their bets with the U.S., and in 1951 even made a
deal that the U.S. could produce FALs royalty-free, given that the UK appeared to be favouring their
own EM-2.
This decision appeared to be correct when the British Army decided to adopt the EM-2 and .280
British cartridge in the very same month.[5] This decision was later rescinded after the Labour

Party lost the 1951 General Election and Winston Churchillreturned as Prime Minister. It is believed[by
that there was a quid pro quo agreement between Churchill and U.S. President Harry Truman in
1952 that the British accept the .30 Light Rifle cartridge as NATO standard in return for U.S.
acceptance of the FN FAL as NATO standard. The .30 Light Rifle cartridge was in fact later
standardized as the 7.62 mm NATO; however, the U.S. insisted on continued rifle tests. The FAL
chambered for the .30 Light Rifle went up against the redesigned T25 (now redesignated as the
T47), and an M1 Garand variant, the T44. Eventually, the T44 won out, becoming the M14. However,
in the meantime, most other NATO countries were evaluating and selecting the FAL.
FN created what is possibly the classic post-war battle rifle. Formally introduced by its
designers Dieudonn Saive and Ernest Vervier in 1951, and produced two years later, it has been
described as the "Right Arm of the Free World."[7] The FAL battle rifle has its Warsaw
Pact counterpart in the AKM, each being fielded by dozens of countries and produced in many of
them. A few, such as Israel and South Africa, manufactured and issued both designs at various
times. Unlike the Soviet AKM assault rifle, the FAL utilized a heavier full-power rifle cartridge.


Design details[edit]

short-stroke gas piston

The FAL operates by means of a gas-operated action very similar to that of the Russian SVT-40. The
gas system is driven by a short-stroke, spring-loaded piston housed above the barrel, and the
locking mechanism is what is known as a tilting breechblock. To lock, it drops down into a solid
shoulder of metal in the heavy receiver much like the bolts of the Russian SKS carbine and
French MAS-49series of semi-automatic rifles. The gas system is fitted with a gas regulator behind
the front sight base, allowing adjustment of the gas system in response to environmental conditions.
The piston system can be bypassed completely, using the gas plug, to allow for the firing of rifle
grenades and manual operation.[8] The FAL's magazine capacity ranges from five to 30 rounds, with
most magazines holding 20 rounds. In fixed stock versions of the FAL, the recoil spring is housed in
the stock, while in folding-stock versions it is housed in the receiver cover, necessitating a slightly
different receiver cover, recoil spring, and bolt carrier, and a modified lower receiver for the stock. [9]

Dutch FN FAL with an infrared light and scope on exhibit at theLegermuseum in Delft.

FAL rifles have also been manufactured in both light and heavy-barrel configurations, with the heavy
barrel intended for automatic fire as a section or squad light support weapon. Most heavy barrel
FALs are equipped with bipods, although some light barrel models were equipped with bipods, such
as the Austrian StG58 and the German G1, and a bipod was later made available as an accessory.
Among other 7.6251mm NATO battle rifles at the time, the FN FAL had relatively light recoil, due to
the gas system being able to be tuned via regulator in fore-end of the rifle, which allowed for excess
gas which would simply increase recoil to bleed off. In fully automatic mode, however, the shooter

receives considerable abuse from recoil, and the weapon climbs off-target quickly, making automatic
fire only of marginal effectiveness. Many military forces using the FAL eventually eliminated fullautomatic firearms training in the light-barrel FAL.




Sturmgewehr 58[edit]

An American and a German soldier on a joint exercise in 1960. West Germany used the FN FAL designated as

Sturmgewehr 58

StG-58 with DSA Type I receiver


Battle rifle

Place of origin

Belgium and Austria

Service history
In service


Used by

Austria[citation needed]

Production history

Dieudonn Saive




Fabrique Nationale de
Herstaland Steyr-Daimler-Puch


4.45 kg (9.81 lb) to 5.15 kg

(11.35 lb)


1,100 mm (43 in)

Barrel length

533 mm (21.0 in)


7.6251mm NATO


Gas-operated, tilting breechblock

Muzzle velocity

823 m/s (2,700 ft/s)

Effective firing range

800 m (870 yd)

Feed system

20-round detachablemagazine


Iron sights

The Sturmgewehr 58 (StG 58) is a battle rifle. The first 20,000 were manufactured by Fabrique
Nationale de Armees de Guerre-Herstal Belgique, but later the StG58 was manufactured under
license by Steyr-Daimler-Puch (now Steyr Mannlicher), and was formerly the standard rifle of
the sterreichisches Bundesheer (Austrian Federal Army). It is essentially a user customized
version of the FAL and is still in use, mainly as a drill weapon in the Austrian forces. It was selected
in a 1958 competition, beating the Spanish CETME and American AR-10.

Most StG 58s featured a folding bipod, and differ from the FAL by using a plastic stock rather than
wood in order to reduce weight in the later production rifles (although some of the early FN-built
production rifles did come with wooden stocks). The rifle can be distinguished from its Belgian and
Argentine counterparts by its combination flash suppressor and grenade launcher. The fore grip was
a two part steel pressing.
It was replaced by the Steyr AUG in 1977, although the StG 58 served with many units as the
primary service rifle through the mid-1980s.
Steyr built StG 58s had a hammer forged barrel that was considered to be the best barrel ever fitted
to any FAL.
Some StG58s had modifications made to the fire mode selector so that the fully automatic option
was removed, leaving the selector with only safe and single shot positions.



FN production variants[edit]
LAR 50.41 & 50.42[edit]

Also known as FALO as an abbreviation from the French Fusil

Automatique Lourd;

Heavy barrel for sustained fire with 30-round magazine as a squad

automatic weapon;

Known in Canada as the C2A1, it was their primary squad

automatic weapon until it was phased out during the 1980s in favor
of the C9, which has better accuracy and higher ammunition
capacity than the C2;

Known to the Australian Army as the L2A1, it was replaced by the

FN Minimi. The L2A1 or 'heavy barrel' FAL was used by several
Commonwealth nations and was found to frequently experience a
failure to feed after firing two rounds from a full magazine when in
automatic mode.

The 50.41 is fitted with a synthetic buttstock, while the 50.42's

buttstock is made from wood.

FAL 50.61[edit]

FAL 50.61 variant


Folding-stock, standard barrel length.

FAL 50.62[edit]

Folding-stock, shorter 458 mm barrel, paratrooper version and

folding charging handle.


FAL 50.63[edit]


FAL 50.64[edit]



Folding-stock, shorter 436 mm barrel, paratrooper version, folding

charging handle. This shorter version was requested by Belgian
paratroopers. The upper receiver was not cut for a carry handle, the
bolt stop device were absent which allowed the folded-stock rifle to
fit through the doorway of their C-119 Flying Boxcar when worn
horizontally across the chest.

Folding-stock, standard barrel length, 'Hiduminium' aluminum alloy

lower receiver, the charging handle on the 50.64 was a folding
model similar to the L1A1 rifles.

FAL OSW (DSA-58 OSW - Operational Special Weapon)[edit]

Folding-stock, shorter 330 mm barrel, paratrooper version.

Cyclic rate of 750 rounds/minute.

Other FN Variants[edit]

FAL .280 Experimental Rifle

FAL Universal Carbine

FAL Bullpup 1951

Olin/Winchester FAL[edit]
Main article: Olin/Winchester Salvo Rifle
A semi-automatic, twin barrel variant chambered in the 5.56mm Duplex round during Project SALVO.
This platform was designed by Stefan Kenneth Janson who previously designed the EM-2 rifle.

Armtech L1A1 SAS[edit]

Dutch company Armtech built the L1A1 SAS, a carbine variant of the L1A1 with a barrel length of
290 mm.[11]


Production and use[edit]

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A modern Para-style FAL

The FAL has been used by over 90 countries, and over two million have been produced. [1]
The FAL was originally made by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN) in Lige, Belgium, but it has
also been made under license in a number of countries. A distinct sub-family was the
Commonwealth inch-dimensioned versions that were manufactured in the United
Kingdom and Australia (as the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle or SLR), and in Canada as the C1. The
standard metric-dimensioned FAL was manufactured in South Africa (where it was known as
the R1), Brazil, Israel, Austria and Argentina. Mexico assembled FN-made components into
complete rifles at its national arsenal inMexico City. The FAL was also exported to many other
countries, such as Venezuela, where a small-arms industry produces some basically unchanged
variants, as well as ammunition. By modern standards, one disadvantage of the FAL is the amount
of work which goes into machining the complex receiver, bolt and bolt carrier. Some theorized that
the movement of the tilting bolt mechanism tends to return differently with each shot, affecting
inherent accuracy of the weapon, but this has been proven to be false. The FAL's receiver is
machined, while most other modern military rifles use quicker stamping or casting techniques.
Modern FALs have many improvements over those produced by FN and others in the mid-20thcentury.



Weapons in the Museo de Armas de la Nacin, Buenos Aires

The Argentine Armed Forces officially adopted the FN FAL in 1955, but the first FN made examples
did not arrive in Argentina until the autumn of 1958. Subsequently, in 1960, licensed production of
FALs began and continued until the mid-to-late 1990s, when production ceased. In 2010, a project to
modernize the totality of the existing FAL and to produce an unknown number of them was
approved. This project was called FAL M5.[citation needed]
Argentine FALs were produced by the government-owned arsenal FM (Fabricaciones Militares) at
the Fbrica Militar de Armas Porttiles "Domingo Matheu" (FMAP "DM") in Rosario. The acronym
"FAL" was kept, its translation being "Fusil Automtico Liviano", (Light Automatic Rifle). Production
weapons included "Standard" and "Para" (folding buttstock) versions. Military rifles were produced
with the full auto fire option. The rifles were usually known as the FM FAL, for the "Fabricaciones
Militares" brand name (FN and FM have a long-standing licensing and manufacturing agreement). A

heavy barrel version, known as the FAP (Fusil Automtico Pesado, or heavy automatic rifle) was
also produced for the armed forces, to be used as a squad automatic weapon. The Argentine 'heavy
barrel' FAL, also used by several other nations, was found to frequently experience a failure to feed
after firing two rounds from a full magazine when in automatic mode.
A version of the FALMP III chambered in the 5.5645mm NATO cartridge was developed in the early
1980s. It used M16 type magazines but one version called the FALMP III 5.56mm Type 2 used Steyr
AUG magazines. The FARA 83 (Fusil Automtico Repblica Argentina) was to replace the Argentine
military's FAL rifles. The design borrowed features from the FAL such as the gas system and folding
stock. It seems to have been also influenced to some degree by other rifles (the Beretta AR70/223,
M16, and the Galil). An estimated quantity of between 2,500 and 3,000 examples were produced for
field testing, but military spending cuts killed the project in the mid-1980s.
There was also a semi-automaticonly version, the FSL, intended for the civilian market. Legislation
changes in 1995 (namely, the enactment of Presidential Decree N 64/95) imposed a de facto ban
on "semi-automatic assault weapons". Today, it can take up to two years to obtain a permit for the
ownership of an FSL. The FSL was offered with full or folding stocks, plastic furniture and orthoptic
sights.[citation needed]
Argentine FALs saw action during the Falklands War (Falklands-Malvinas/South Atlantic War), and in
different peace-keeping operations such as in Cyprus and the former Yugoslavia. Rosario-made
FALs are known to have been exported to Bolivia (in 1971), Colombia, Croatia (during the wars in
former Yugoslavia during the 1990s), Honduras, Nigeria (this is unconfirmed, most Nigerian FALs
are from FN in Belgium or are British-made L1A1s), Peru, and Uruguay (which reportedly took
delivery of some Brazilian IMBEL-made FALs as well). Deactivated ex-Argentinean FALs from the
many thousands captured during the Falklands War are used by UK forces as part of the soldier's
load on some training courses run over public land in the UK.
The Argentine Marine Corps, a branch of the Argentine Navy, has replaced the FN/FM FAL in front
line units, adopting the U.S. M16A2. The Argentine Army has expressed its desire to acquire at least
1,500 new rifles chambered for the 5.5645mm NATO SS109/U.S. M855 (.223 Remington)
cartridge, to be used primarily by its peacekeeping troops on overseas deployments.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) secretly purchased several thousand Argentine FAL rifles
in 1981, which were supplied to the Nicaraguan Contras rebel group. These rifles have since
appeared throughout Central America in use with other organizations.
These rifles are currently being modernized to a new standard, the FAL M5 (or FAL V), which uses
polymer parts to reduce weight, and has Picatinny rails and optic mounts for carrying accessories,
that created these variants:

FAMTD: Fusil Argentino Modelo Tirador Destacado - Can

Pesado (Argentine Designated Marksman Rifle - Heavy
Barrel), DMR variant. It has a range of 650 meters.

FAMTD: Fusil Argentino Modelo Tirador Destacado - Can

Liviano (Argentine Designated Marksman Rifle - Light Barrel), It has
a light bipod, a telescopic sight (10 50) with coupling for night
vision, a new top-mount system for the application cited above and
a cylinder head with support mentofacial.

FAMA: Fusil Argentino Modelo Asalto (Argentine Assault Rifle

Model), this is the assault rifle version, using 7.62 ammunition. It
has a rate of 700 rounds per minute, and it has a length of 591 mm.

Able to incorporate holographic view, laser flashlight, tactical grip or

a grenade launcher 40 mm.


FAMCa: Fusil Argentino Modelo Carabina (Argentine Rifle Carbine

Model), this is the carbine variant.


Main article: IMBEL MD

Brazilian soldiers from the Ipiranga Special Border Platoon

Brazil took delivery of a small quantity of FN-made FAL rifles for evaluation as early as 1954. Troop
field testing was performed with FN made FALs between 1958 and 1962. Then, in 1964, Brazil
officially adopted the rifle, designating the rifle M964 for 1964. Licensed production started shortly
thereafter at the Indstria de Material Blico do Brasil (IMBEL), in Itajub in the state of Minas
Gerais. The folding stock version was designated M964A1. By the late 1980s/early 1990s, IMBEL
had manufactured some 200,000 M964 rifles. Later Brazilian made FALs have Type 3, hammer
forged receivers. Early FN made FALs for Brazil are typical FN 1964 models with Type 1 or Type 2
receivers, plastic stock, handguard, and pistol grip, 22 mm cylindrical flash hider for grenade
launching, and plastic model "D" carrying handle. Brazilian-made FALs are thought to have been
exported to Uruguay. A heavy barrel version, known as the FAP (Fuzil Automtico Pesado, or heavy
automatic rifle) was also produced for the armed forces, to be used as a squad automatic weapon.
Brazil's current service weapon is a development of the FAL in 5.5645mm. Known as the MD-2 and
MD-3 assault rifles, it is also manufactured by IMBEL. The first prototype, the MD-1, came out
around 1983. In 1985, the MD-2 was presented and adopted by theBrazilian Armed
Forces and Military Police. Its new 5.5645mm NATO chambering aside, the MD-2/MD-3 is still very
similar to the FAL and externally resembles it, changes include a change in the locking system,
which was replaced by an M16-type rotating bolt. The MD-2 and MD-3 use STANAG magazines, but
have different buttstocks. The MD-2 features a FN 50.63 'para' side-folding stock, while the MD-3
uses the same fixed polymer stock of the standard FAL.
IMBEL also produced a semi-automatic version of the FAL for Springfield Armory, Inc. (not to be
confused with the US military Springfield Armory), which was marketed in the US as the SAR-48
(standard model) and SAR-4800 (made after 1989 with some military features removed to comply
with new legislation), starting in the mid-1980s. IMBEL-made receivers have been much in demand
among American gunsmiths building FALs from "parts kits."
IMBEL currently offer the FAL in 8 versions,[12]

M964, the standard length semi-auto and full auto.

M964 MD1, short barrel semi-auto and full auto.

M964 MD2, standard length semi-auto only.


M964 MD3, short barrel semi-auto only.

M964A1, folding stock standard barrel semi-auto and full auto.

M964A1 MD1, folding stock short barrel semi-auto and full auto.

M964A1 MD2, folding stock standard barrel semi-auto only.

M964A1 MD3, folding stock short barrel semi-auto only.


The first German FALs were from an order placed in late 1955/early 1956, for several thousand FN
FAL so-called "Canada" models with wood furniture and the prong flash hider. These weapons were
intended for the Bundesgrenzschutz (border guard) and not the nascent Bundeswehr (army), which
at the time used M1 Garands and M1/M2 carbines. In November 1956, however, West Germany
ordered 100,000 additional FALs, designated the G1, for the army. FN made the rifles between April
1957 and May 1958. G1s served in the West German Bundeswehr for a relatively short time in the
late 1950s and early 1960s, before they were replaced by the Spanish CETME Modelo 58 rifle in
1959 (which was extensively reworked into the later G3 rifle). The G1 featured a pressed metal
handguard identical to the ones used on the Austrian Stg. 58, as well as the Dutch and Greek FALs,
this being slightly slimmer than the standard wood or plastic handguards, and featuring horizontal
lines running almost their entire length. G1s were also fitted with a unique removable prong flash
hider, adding another external distinction. The main reason for the replacement of the G1 in
Germany was the refusal of the Belgians to grant a license for production of the weapon in Germany.
[citation needed]
Many G1 FALs were passed on to Turkey after their withdrawal from German service. Of
note is the fact that the G1 was the first FAL variant with the 3mm lower sights specifically requested
by Germany, previous versions having the taller Commonwealth-type sights also seen on Israeli



FN FAL rifles produced in Belgium were adopted by the Greek Army before the adoption of HK
G3A3s rifles produced under license by Hellenic Arms Industry (). For a few years, FN FAL rifles
were also produced under license by the Greek PYRKAL () factory. FN FAL and FALO rifles
were in use by Greek Army Special Forces and IV Army Corps from 1973 till 1999 and are still in use
by Greek Coast Guard.[13][14]



Israeli Heavy Barrel FAL. Note the hinged butt plate.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had to overcome several logistics
problems which were a result of the wide variety of old firearms that were in service. In 1955 the IDF
adopted the IMI-produced Uzi submachine gun. To replace the GermanMauser Kar 98k and
some British LeeEnfield rifles, the IDF decided in the same year to adopt the FN FAL as its
standard-issue infantry rifle, under the name Rov've Mitta'enn or Romat ()", an abbreviation of
"Self-Loading Rifle". The FAL version ordered by the IDF came in two basic variants, both regular
and heavy-barrel (automatic rifle), and were chambered for 7.62mm NATO ammunition. In common
with heavy-barrel FALs used by several other nations, the Israeli 'heavy barrel' FAL (called

the Makle'a Kal, or Makleon) was found to frequently experience a failure to feed after firing two
rounds from a full magazine when in automatic mode. The Israeli FALs were originally produced as
selective-fire rifles, though later light-barrel rifle versions were altered to semi-automatic fire only.
The Israeli models are recognizable by a distinctive handguard with a forward perforated sheet metal
section, and a rear wood section unlike most other FALs in shape, and their higher 'Commonwealth'type sights.
The Israeli FAL first saw action in relatively small quantities during the Suez Crisis of 1956, and by
the Six-Day War in June 1967, it was the standard Israeli rifle. During the Yom Kippur War of
October 1973 it was still in front-line service as the standard Israeli rifle, though increasing criticism
eventually led to the phasing-out of the weapon. Israeli forces were primarily mechanized in nature;
the long, heavy FAL slowed deployment drills, and proved exceedingly difficult to maneuver within
the confines of a vehicle.[15][16]Additionally, Israeli forces experienced repeated jamming of the FAL
due to heavy sand and dust ingress endemic to Middle Eastern desert warfare, requiring repeated
field-stripping and cleaning of the rifle, sometimes while under fire. [16] During the later stages of the
Yom Kippur War, it was noted that some Israeli soldiers had informally exchanged their FALs for the
far more reliable Soviet Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles taken from dead and captured Arab
soldiers. Though the IDF evaluated a few modified FAL rifles with 'sand clearance' slots in the bolt
carrier and receiver (which were already part of the Commonwealth L1A1/C1A1 design), malfunction
rates did not significantly improve.[17] The Israeli FAL was eventually replaced by the M16 and
the Galil (a weapon using the Soviet Kalashnikov operating system, and chambered in either
5.5645 or 7.62 NATO),[16][17]though the FAL remained in production in Israel until the 1980s.[18]



Rhodesian army reservists on patrol with South African R1s.

Like most British dependencies of the time, Southern Rhodesia had equipped its security forces with
the British L1A1, or SLR, by the early 1960s. Following that country's unilateral declaration of
independence in 1965, new rifles could not be readily procured from the UK, so Belgian FNs and
South African R1s were imported instead.[19] The older L1s subsequently completed their service with
territorial troops in the Rhodesia Regiment.[20]
During the Rhodesian Bush War, security forces fitted most standard FNs with customised flash
suppressors to reduce recoil on fully automatic fire. However, a few soldiers rejected these devices,
which they charged upset the balance of their weapons during close action. [20] In this theatre, the FN
was generally considered superior to the Soviet Kalashnikovs or SKS carbines carried by
communist-backed PF insurgents.[20]

Trade sanctions and the gradual erosion of South African support in the 1970s led to serious
ammunition shortages.[21] Consequently, shipments of G3s were accepted from Portugal, although
the security forces considered these less reliable than the FAL.[20] Following Robert Mugabe's
ascension to power in 1980, Rhodesia's remaining FNs were passed on to
her Zimbabwean successor state.[22] To simplify maintenance and logistics, the weapon initially
remained a standard service rifle in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. It was anticipated that more
7.62mm NATO ammunition would be imported to cover existing shortages, but a sabotage action
carried out against the old Rhodesian Army stockpiles negated this factor. Zimbabwe promptly
supplemented its surviving inventory with Soviet and North Korean arms.[23]


South Africa[edit]

The FAL was produced under licence in South Africa by Lyttleton Engineering Works, where it is
known as the R1. The first South African produced rifle, serial numbered 200001, was presented to
the then Prime Minister, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, by Armscor and is now on view at the South African
National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg.[24]


United States[edit]

Main article: T48 rifle

Following World War II and the establishment of the NATO alliance, there was pressure to adopt a
standard rifle, alliance-wide. The FAL was originally designed to handle intermediate cartridges, but
in an attempt to secure US favor for the rifle, the FAL was redesigned to use the newly developed
7.6251mm NATO cartridge. The US tested several variants of the FAL to replace the M1 Garand.
These rifles were tested against the T44, essentially an updated version of the basic Garand design.
Despite the T44 and T48 showing performing similarly in trials,[25] the T44 was, for several reasons,
selected and the US formally adopted the T44 as the M14 service rifle.

Century Arms FN-FAL rifle built from an L1A1 parts kit

During the late 1980s and 1990s, many countries decommissioned the FAL from their armories and
sold them en masse to United States importers as surplus. The rifles were imported to the United
States as fully automatic guns. Once in the U.S., the FAL's were "de-militarized" (upper receiver
destroyed) to eliminate the rifles' character as an automatic rifle, as stipulated by the Gun Control Act
of 1968(GCA 68 currently prohibits the importation of foreign-made full-automatic rifles prior to the
enactment of the Gun Control Act; semiautomatic versions of the same firearm were legal to import
until the Semiautomatic Assault Rifle Ban of 1989). Thousands of the resulting "parts kits" were sold
at generally low prices ($90 $250) to hobbyists. The hobbyists rebuilt the parts kits to legal and
functional semi-automatic rifles on new semi-automatic upper receivers. FAL rifles are still
commercially available from a few domestic firms in semi-auto configuration: Entreprise Arms,
DSArms, and Century International Arms. Century Arms created a semi-automatic version L1A1 with
an IMBEL upper receiver and surplus British Enfield inch-pattern parts, while DSArms used Steyrstyle metric-pattern FAL designs (this standard-metric difference means the Century Arms and
DSArms firearms are not made from fully interchangeable batches of parts).



Until recently, the FAL was the main service rifle of the Venezuelan army, made under license by
CAVIM.[26] The first batch of rifles to arrive in Venezuela were chambered in749mm (also known as
7 mm Liviano or 7 mm Venezuelan). Essentially a 757mm round shortened to intermediate length,
this caliber was jointly developed by Venezuelan and Belgian engineers motivated by a global move
towards intermediate calibers. The Venezuelans, who had been exclusively using the 757mm

round in their light and medium weapons since the turn of the 21st century, felt it was a perfect
platform on which to base a caliber tailored to the particular rigors of the Venezuelan terrain.
Eventually the plan was dropped despite having ordered millions of rounds and thousands of
weapons of this caliber. As the Cold War escalated, the military command felt it necessary to align
with NATO despite not being a member, resulting in the adoption of the 7.6251mm NATO cartridge
and the rechambering of the 5,000 or so FAL rifles that had already arrived in 749mm by 1955-56.
Venezuela has bought 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia in order to replace the old FALs.
Although the full shipment arrived by the end of 2006, the FAL will remain in service with the
Venezuelan Reserve Forces and the Territorial Guard.

27. Conflicts[edit]
In the more than 60 years of use worldwide, the FAL has seen use in conflicts all over the world.
During the Falklands War, the FN FAL was used by both sides. The FAL was used by the Argentine
armed forces and the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR), a semi-automatic only version of the FAL, was
used by the UK armed forces.[27]

Vietnam War[2]

Six-Day War[2]

South African Border War[19]

Rhodesian Bush War[19]

Falklands War[2]

Bougainville Civil War[28][29]

Mexican Drug War[30]

Iraqi insurgency[31]

Libyan Civil War[32][33]

Syrian Civil War[34]

28. Users[edit]
See also: L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle Users

Nigerian troops in Somalia with FALs

Dutch FN FAL being carried by a marine

Argentina - Produced under license. It's the regular rifle of the
Argentine Armed Forces, It's used by the Army, Air Force and a
secondary rifle in the Navy. The FAL M5 variant in use.[35]

Austria - Produced under license.[35]

Bosnia & Herzegovina[36]


Bangladesh: Withdrawn from service in reserve.[22]






Brazil - Produced under license.[35]




Croatia - Used during the Croatian War of Independence, often

called "Falovka".[37]


Chile[22] Former user


Costa Rica[22]

Cuba - Used during the Bay of Pigs Invasion.[38]


Democratic Republic of Congo[22]


Dominican Republic[22]








Ireland -[22] Used as the service rifle of the Irish Defence

Forces from 1961 (starting with UN service in the Congo) until 1989
when it was replaced by the Steyr AUG. The Irish Naval Service still
use the FN FAL for line throwing. In 2011, the Irish Army reintroducing an upgraded and modified version of the FN FAL as a
sniper support weapon.[39]

Israel - Produced under license.,[35] officially replaced by IMI

Galil and M16.

Katanga[citation needed]





Libya - Anti-Gaddafi forces[32]

Luxembourg:[22] Used Belgian FALs from 1957 to 1996, replaced

by Steyr AUG.



Mauritius - Used by Mauritius Police Force.[40][41]

Mexico - Produced under license.[35]





Netherlands - The Royal Netherlands Army adopted the rifle

with a bipod and in semi-automatic form, in 1961. In service it was
called Het licht automatisch geweer, but usually known as the 'FAL'.
The rifles had unique sights (hooded at the front) and the German
style sheet metal front handguard. A sniper version, Geweer Lange
Afstand, was also used standard with a scope of Dutch origin
produced by the Artillerie Inrichtingen, and without the bipod. The
scope was designated Kijker Richt Recht AI 62. The heavy-barrel
FAL 50.42 version was also adopted later as a squad automatic
weapon as the Het zwaar automatisch geweer.[42]

Nigeria -[22] Licensed by DICON (Defence Industries Corporation

of Nigeria) in Nigeria as the NR-1.[43][44][45]


Pakistan - Used by the Pakistan Army.[46]


Papua New Guinea -[22] Used Australian built L1A1.



Portugal - In 1960, the Army issued quantities of light-barrel FN

and West German G1 FAL rifles to several of its elite commando
forces, including the Companhias de Caadores Especiais (Special
Hunter [Ranger] companies).[47] The latter often expressed a
preference for the lighter FAL over the Portuguese-manufactured
version of the H&K G3 rifle when on ambush or patrol.[48] In
Portuguese service, the FN FAL was designated Espingarda
Automtica 7,62 mm FN m/962.


Rhodesia - Adopted in the 1960s.[49]


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[22]

Saudi Arabia[46]

South Africa - Produced under license[35] by ARMSCOR. After a

competition between the German G3 rifle, the Armalite AR-10, and
the FN FAL, the South African Defence Force adopted three main

variants of the FAL: a rifle with the designation R1, a "lightweight"

variant of the FN FAL 50.64 with folding butt, fabricated locally
under the designation R2, and a model designed for police use not
capable of automatic fire under the designation R3. [50] ( 200,000
were destroyed in UN-sponsored "Operation Mouflon" in 2001). A
number of other variants of the R1 were built, the R1 HB, which had
a heavy barrel and bipod, the R1 Sniper, which could be fitted with a
scope and the R1 Para Carbine, which used a Single Point IR sight
and had a shorter barrel.[51] R1 was standard issue in the SADF until
the introduction of the R4 in the early 1980s. Still used by the
SANDF as a designated marksman rifle.

South Kasai[citation needed]

South Sudan: Used in Armed Forces of South Sudan.[citation needed]

Sri Lanka - The Sri Lankan Army adopted the L1A1 SLR rifle in
the 1970s to replace the bolt action LeeEnfield rifle and Sten submachinegun. It was widely used in the early stages of the Sri
Lankan Civil War before being replaced by the AK-47 and Type
56 assault rifles.[citation needed]





Thailand - Used by Royal Thai Police since the 1960s,

designated "Rifle Type 05" (1962).[46]



Turkey - Used by Turkish Land Forces as G1 between 1960s 1980s.[52] Saw action in Turkish invasion of Cyprus.[53][54]


United Arab Emirates[22]


Venezuela - Produced under license.[35]


West Germany[55]




Non-state users[edit]

Moro Islamic Liberation Front[22]

30. See also[edit]


FN-49, predecessor to the FAL

L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle, the British Commonwealth pattern of the


FN CAL, an unsuccessful FN 5.56mm NATO assault rifle that

externally resembles the FAL



Heckler & Koch G3, a German 7.62 battle rifle designed in the


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17. ^ Jump up to:a b Weapons Wizard Israeli Galili, Soldier of Fortune
Magazine, March 1982
18. Jump up^ Robert Cashner (20 August 2013). The FN FAL Battle
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Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. ISBN 1-84013-476-3.
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v aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg
Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons
2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27,
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Invalid <ref> tag; name "jones2009" defined

multiple times with different content (see the help
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Libyan Rebels". World Crunch.com.com. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
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37. Jump up^ "Obuka Bojne Frankopan (utica)". YouTube. Botswanac.
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Laverdant". Retrieved 14 November2014.

42. Jump up^ Ezell, 1988, p. 276

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44. Jump up^ "Nigeria - Arms Procurement and Defense Industries".
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45. Jump up^ "DOSSIER - The Question of Arms in Africa". Agenzia
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Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 183184, 358-359
48. Jump up^ Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra
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". Retrieved 14 November 2014.

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Hellenic Army General Staff / Army History Directorate, (Greek).

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armament of Greek Army 1868 - 2000 (
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Pikula, Maj. Sam. The Armalite AR-10, 1998.

Sazanidis, Christos. (Greek). "Arms of the Greeks (

)". Maiandros (), Thessaloniki, Greece,
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Stevens, R. Blake. The FAL Rifle Classic Edition. Cobourg, Ontario,

Canada: Collector Grade Publications Incorporated, 1993. ISBN 088935-168-6.

Stevens, R. Blake. More on the Fabled FAL: A Companion to The

FAL Rifle. Cobourg, Ontario, Canada: Collector Grade Publications
Incorporated, 2011. ISBN 978-0-88935-534-7.

32. External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has
media related to FN FAL.

Additional information, including pictures at Modern Firearms

FNH Firearms Blog

The FAL Files


FAL Manual Collection

FN FAL Rifle Ejector Photos

Video of operation on YouTube (Japanese)

FN FAL "Paratrooper" Model Presentation (.MPEG)



FN Herstal firearms and cartridges


Baby Browning

Semi-automatic and Select-fire




Model 30-11


SC 1

Submachine guns
Machine guns


Mle 1930
5.5645mm SS109


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7.62 mm firearms

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