FN FAL

FN FAL

Overview
The Fusil Automatique Léger ("Light Automatic Rifle") or FAL is a self-loading
Self-loading rifle
Self-loading rifle may refer to:*Semi-automatic rifle, a type of firearm which fires a single shot with the pull of a trigger, and uses the energy of that shot to chamber the next round...

, selective fire
Selective fire
A selective fire firearm has at least one semi–automatic and one automatic mode, which is activated by means of a selector which varies depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in...

 battle rifle
Battle rifle
A battle rifle is a military service rifle that fires a full power rifle cartridge, such as 7.62x51mm NATO. While the designation of battle rifle is usually given to post-World War II select fire infantry rifles such as the H&K G3, the FN FAL or the M14, this term can also apply to older military...

 produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium....

 (FN). During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, with the notable exception of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It is one of the most widely used rifles in history, having been used by over 90 countries.

The FAL was predominantly chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round, 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
Free World
The Free World is a Cold War-era term often used to describe states not under the rule of the Soviet Union, its Eastern European allies, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and other communist nations. The term often referred to states such as the United States, Canada, and Western European states such as the...

".

A British Commonwealth derivative of the FN FAL has been produced under licence as the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
The L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle, also known by the Canadian Army designation C1, as the SLR, or as the "inch pattern" FAL,especially on the American surplus market is a British Commonwealth derivative of the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle, produced under licence...

.

In 1947, the first FN FAL prototype was completed.
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Encyclopedia
The Fusil Automatique Léger ("Light Automatic Rifle") or FAL is a self-loading
Self-loading rifle
Self-loading rifle may refer to:*Semi-automatic rifle, a type of firearm which fires a single shot with the pull of a trigger, and uses the energy of that shot to chamber the next round...

, selective fire
Selective fire
A selective fire firearm has at least one semi–automatic and one automatic mode, which is activated by means of a selector which varies depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in...

 battle rifle
Battle rifle
A battle rifle is a military service rifle that fires a full power rifle cartridge, such as 7.62x51mm NATO. While the designation of battle rifle is usually given to post-World War II select fire infantry rifles such as the H&K G3, the FN FAL or the M14, this term can also apply to older military...

 produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium....

 (FN). During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, with the notable exception of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It is one of the most widely used rifles in history, having been used by over 90 countries.

The FAL was predominantly chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round, 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
Free World
The Free World is a Cold War-era term often used to describe states not under the rule of the Soviet Union, its Eastern European allies, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and other communist nations. The term often referred to states such as the United States, Canada, and Western European states such as the...

".

A British Commonwealth derivative of the FN FAL has been produced under licence as the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
The L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle, also known by the Canadian Army designation C1, as the SLR, or as the "inch pattern" FAL,especially on the American surplus market is a British Commonwealth derivative of the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle, produced under licence...

.

History


In 1947, the first FN FAL prototype was completed. It was designed to fire the intermediate 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge developed and used by the forces of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (see StG44
Sturmgewehr 44
The StG 44 was an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II and was the first of its kind to see major deployment, considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle...

 assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

). After testing this prototype in 1948, the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 urged FN to build additional prototypes, including one in bullpup
Bullpup
Bullpups are firearm configurations in which the action is located behind the trigger group and alongside the shooter's face, so there is no wasted space for the buttstock as in conventional designs. This permits a shorter firearm length for the same barrel length for improved maneuverability, and...

 configuration, chambered for their new .280 British
.280 British
The .280 British was an experimental intermediate rifle cartridge. It was later designated 7 mm MK1Z, and has also been known as 7 mm NATO, .280/30, .280 Enfield, .280 NATO, 7 mm FN Short, and 7×43mm. It was designed by the British Army in the late 1940s, with subsequent help from...

 caliber intermediate cartridge. After evaluating the single bullpup prototype, FN decided to return instead to their original, conventional design for future production.

In 1950, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 presented the redesigned FN rifle and the British EM-2
EM-2
The EM-2, Also known as Rifle No.9 Mk1 or "Janson rifle", was an experimental British assault rifle. It was briefly adopted by British forces in 1951, but the decision was overturned very shortly thereafter by Winston Churchill's incoming government in an effort to secure NATO standardisation of...

, both in .280 British calibre, to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 for comparison testing against the favoured United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 design of the time—Earle Harvey's T25. 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. This decision was later rescinded after the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 lost the 1951 General Election and Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 returned as Prime Minister. It is believed that there was a quid pro quo
Quid pro quo
Quid pro quo most often means a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. English speakers often use the term to mean "a favour for a favour" and the phrases with almost identical meaning include: "give and take", "tit for tat", "this for that", and "you scratch my back,...

 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
M14 rifle
The M14 rifle, formally the United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14, is an American selective fire automatic rifle firing 7.62x51mm NATO  ammunition. It was the standard issue U.S. rifle from 1959 to 1970. The M14 was used for U.S...

. 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
Battle rifle
A battle rifle is a military service rifle that fires a full power rifle cartridge, such as 7.62x51mm NATO. While the designation of battle rifle is usually given to post-World War II select fire infantry rifles such as the H&K G3, the FN FAL or the M14, this term can also apply to older military...

. Formally introduced by its designers Dieudonne Saive and Ernest Vervier in 1951, and produced two years later, it has been described as the "Right arm of the Free World." The FAL battle rifle has its Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 counterpart in the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

, each being fielded by dozens of countries and produced in many of them. A few, such as Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, manufactured and issued both designs at various times. Unlike the Russian AK-47 assault rifle, the FAL utilized a heavier full-power rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 cartridge.

Design details


The FAL operates by means of a gas-operated action
Firearm action
In firearms terminology, an action is the physical mechanism that manipulates cartridges and/or seals the breech. The term is also used to describe the method in which cartridges are loaded, locked, and extracted from the mechanism. Actions are generally categorized by the type of mechanism used...

 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
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

, 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
Receiver (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

 much like the bolts
Bolt (firearm)
A bolt is a mechanical part of a firearm that blocks the rear of the chamber while the propellant burns.In manually-operated firearms, such as bolt-action, lever-action, and pump-action rifles and shotguns, the bolt is held fixed by its locking lugs during firing, forcing all the expanding gas...

 of the Russian SKS
SKS
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic rifle chambered for the 7.62x39mm round, designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS-45 is an acronym for Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945 Simonov system, 1945), or SKS 45. The Sks is a scaled down version of the PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle also...

 carbine
Carbine
A carbine , from French carabine, is a longarm similar to but shorter than a rifle or musket. Many carbines are shortened versions of full rifles, firing the same ammunition at a lower velocity due to a shorter barrel length....

 and French MAS-49
MAS-49
The MAS-49 is a French semi-automatic military rifle that replaced the diverse collection of aging bolt-action rifles that were in French service after the end of World War II...

 series 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, and a separate gas plug can be closed completely to allow for the firing of rifle grenade
Rifle grenade
A rifle grenade is a grenade that uses a rifle-based launcher to permit a longer effective range than would be possible if the grenade was thrown by hand...

s and manual loading. The FAL's magazine capacity ranges from 5 to 30 rounds, with most magazines holding 20 rounds. In fixed stock versions of the FAL, the recoil
Recoil
Recoil is the backward momentum of a gun when it is discharged. In technical terms, the recoil caused by the gun exactly balances the forward momentum of the projectile and exhaust gasses, according to Newton's third law...

 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.

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 bipod
Bipod
A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with two legs. It provides significant stability along two axes of motion .-Firearms:...

s, 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 7.62x51mm 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 full-automatic firearms training in the light-barrel FAL.

Sturmgewehr 58


The Sturmgewehr 58 (StG 58) is a battle rifle manufactured under license by Steyr-Daimler-Puch
Steyr-Daimler-Puch
Steyr-Daimler-Puch was a large manufacturing conglomerate based in Steyr, Austria, which was broken up in stages between 1987 and 2001. The component parts and operations continued to exist under separate ownership and new names.-History:...

 (now Steyr Mannlicher
Steyr Mannlicher
Steyr Mannlicher is a firearms manufacturer based in the city of Steyr, Austria. Originally a part of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch manufacturing conglomerate, it became independent when the conglomerate was broken in 1990.-History:...

), and was formerly the standard rifle of the Österreichisches Bundesheer (Austrian Federal Army).

It is essentially a user customized version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale FAL, one of the most common battle rifles of the 20th Century, 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
CETME
CETME is an acronym for Centro de Estudios Técnicos de Materiales Especiales , a Spanish government design and development establishment. While being involved in many projects CETME was mostly known for its small arms research and development...

 and American AR-10.

The StG 58 featured a folding bipod, and differs from the FAL by using a plastic stock
Stock (firearm)
A stock, also known as a buttstock or shoulder stock, is a part of a rifle or other firearm, to which the barrel and firing mechanism are attached, that is held against one's shoulder when firing the gun. Stocks are also found on crossbows though a crossbow stock is more properly referred to as a...

, rather than wood, to reduce weight, in the later production rifles (although the early FN-built production rifles did come with wooden stocks). It can be distinguished from its Belgian and Argentine counterparts by its combination flash suppressor
Flash suppressor
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a device attached to the muzzle of a rifle or other gun that reduces the visible signature of the burning gases that exit the muzzle. This reduces the chances that the shooter will be blinded in dark...

 and grenade launcher
Grenade launcher
A grenade launcher or grenade discharger is a weapon that launches a grenade with more accuracy, higher velocity, and to greater distances than a soldier could throw it by hand....

.

It was replaced by the AUG
Steyr AUG
The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

 in 1977.

LAR 50.41 & 50.42

  • 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
    Squad automatic weapon
    A squad automatic weapon is a weapon used to give infantry squads or sections a portable source of automatic firepower. Weapons used in this role are selective-fire rifles, usually fitted with a bipod and heavier barrel to perform as Light machine guns...

    ;
  • 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
    FN Minimi
    The Minimi is a Belgian 5.56mm light machine gun developed by Fabrique Nationale in Herstal by Ernest Vervier. First introduced in 1974, it has entered service with the armed forces of over thirty countries...

    , 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 50.62

  • Folding-stock, shorter 458 mm barrel, paratrooper
    Paratrooper
    Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

     version and folding charging handle.

FAL 50.63

  • Folding-stock, shorter 406 mm barrel, paratrooper
    Paratrooper
    Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

     version, folding charging handle. This shorter version was requested by Belgian paratroopers. This allowed the folded-stock rifle to fit through the doorway of their C-119 Flying Boxcar
    C-119 Flying Boxcar
    The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was an American military transport aircraft developed from the World War II-era Fairchild C-82 Packet, designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients, and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute...

     when worn horizontally across the chest.

FAL 50.64

  • Folding-stock, standard barrel length, 'Hiduminium
    Hiduminium
    The Hiduminium or R.R. alloys are a series of high-strength, high-temperature aluminium alloys, developed for aircraft use by Rolls-Royce before World War II. They were manufactured and later developed by High Duty Alloys Ltd....

    ' aluminum alloy lower receiver, upper receiver was not cut for a carry handle, the bolt stop device is de-activated and the charging handle on the 50.64 was a folding model similar to the L1A1 rifles.

Other FN Variants

  • FAL .280
    .280 British
    The .280 British was an experimental intermediate rifle cartridge. It was later designated 7 mm MK1Z, and has also been known as 7 mm NATO, .280/30, .280 Enfield, .280 NATO, 7 mm FN Short, and 7×43mm. It was designed by the British Army in the late 1940s, with subsequent help from...

     Experimental Rifle
  • FAL Universal Carbine
  • FAL Bullpup 1951

Olin/Winchester FAL


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


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

Production and use


The FAL has been used by over 90 countries, and over two million have been produced. The FAL was originally made by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium....

 (FN) in Liège, 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
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

  and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 (as the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle or SLR), and in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 as the C1. The standard metric-dimensioned FAL was manufactured in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 (where it was known as the R1), Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 assembled FN-made components into complete rifles at its national arsenal in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. The FAL was also exported to many other countries, such as Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, 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. Additionally, the movement of the tilting bolt mechanism tends to return differently with each shot, affecting inherent accuracy of the weapon. The FAL's receiver is machined, whilst 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-20th-century (for comparison, see a photo of a modern Para-style FAL).

Argentina


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.

Argentine FALs were produced by the government-owned arsenal FM (Fabricaciones Militares) at the Fábrica Militar de Armas Portátiles "Domingo Matheu" (FMAP "DM") in Fray Luis Beltrán, located a few miles north of Rosario. The acronym "FAL" was kept, its translation being "Fusil Automático 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 Automático 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 5.56x45mm NATO
5.56x45mm NATO
5.56×45mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the United States and originally chambered in the M16 rifle. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. It is derived from, but not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge...

 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
Steyr AUG
The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

 magazines. The FARA 83
FARA 83
The FARA 83 or FAA 81, "Argentine Automatic Rifle" was a rifle locally designed and developed for the Argentine Army in the 1980s.-Development:...

 (Fusil Automático República 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
IMI Galil
The Galil is a family of Israeli small arms designed by Yisrael Galil and Yaacov Lior in the late 1960s and produced by Israel Military Industries Ltd of Ramat HaSharon...

). 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-automatic–only version, the FSL, intended for the civilian market. Legislation changes in 1995 (namely, the enactment of Presidential Decree Nº 64/95) imposed a de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 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.

Argentine FALs saw action during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 (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 5.56x45mm NATO SS109/U.S. M855 (.223 Remington) cartridge, to be used primarily by its peacekeeping troops on overseas deployments.

The US Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA) secretly purchased several thousand Argentine FAL rifles in 1981, which were supplied to the Nicaraguan Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 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.

Brazil


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 Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil
IMBEL
IMBEL is an acronym for Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil a Brazilian state company, founded in 1975 as a quango of the Ministry of Defence....

, or IMBEL
IMBEL
IMBEL is an acronym for Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil a Brazilian state company, founded in 1975 as a quango of the Ministry of Defence....

, in Itajubá
Itajubá
Itajubá is a city and municipality in southeastern Minas Gerais state of the Federative Republic of Brazil.It lies in a valley by the Sapucaí river and has terrain elevations ranging from 827 to 1500 metres, occupying an area of 290.45 km2 , with a population of approximately 86,000 people...

 in the state of Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais is one of the 26 states of Brazil, of which it is the second most populous, the third richest, and the fourth largest in area. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of Presidents of Brazil, the current one, Dilma Rousseff, being one of them. The capital is the...

. 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 Automático 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 5.56x45mm. Known as the MD-2 and MD-3 assault rifles, it is also manufactured by IMBEL
IMBEL
IMBEL is an acronym for Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil a Brazilian state company, founded in 1975 as a quango of the Ministry of Defence....

. The first prototype, the MD-1, came out around 1983. In 1985, the MD-2 was presented and adopted by the Brazilian Armed Forces and Military Police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

. Its new 5.56x45mm 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 magazine
STANAG magazine
A STANAG magazine is a type of detachable firearm magazine proposed by NATO in October 1980. Shortly after NATO's acceptance of the 5.56x45mm NATO rifle cartridge, Draft Standardization Agreement 4179 was proposed in order to allow the military services of member nations easily to share rifle...

s, 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.
Springfield Armory, Inc.
Springfield Armory, Inc. is a firearms manufacturer and importer based in Geneseo, Illinois, founded in 1974. It is one of the largest firearms marketers of imported firearms in the United States and is a four-time recipient of the National Rifle Association Gun of the Year Award.-Formation:After...

 (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
IMBEL
IMBEL is an acronym for Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil a Brazilian state company, founded in 1975 as a quango of the Ministry of Defence....

 currently offer the FAL in 8 versions,
  • 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.

Germany



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
German Federal Police
The Bundespolizei is a uniformed federal police force in Germany. It is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior...

 (border guard) and not the nascent Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 (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
CETME
CETME is an acronym for Centro de Estudios Técnicos de Materiales Especiales , a Spanish government design and development establishment. While being involved in many projects CETME was mostly known for its small arms research and development...

 Modelo 58 rifle in 1959 (which was extensively reworked into the later G3
Heckler & Koch G3
The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME ....

 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. It has been alleged that the main reason for the replacement of the G1 in Germany centred around bitterness stemming from World War II and the refusal of the Belgians to grant a license for production of the weapon in Germany. 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 models.

India


The Rifle 7.62 mm 1A1 is a reverse engineering of the UK L1A1 self-loading rifle. The Indian 1A1 differs from the UK SLR in that the wooden butt-stock uses the butt-plate from the Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

 with trap for oil bottle and cleaning pull-through. The 1A1 rifle has been supplemented in service with the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

 by the INSAS 5.56 mm assault rifle. The 1A1 rifle is still available for export sales. A fully automatic version of the rifle (known as the 1C) is also available.

Israel


After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had to overcome several logistics problems
Military logistics
Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with:...

 which were a result of the wide variety of old firearms that were in service. In 1955 the IDF adopted the IMI
Israel Military Industries
Israel Weapons Industries , formerly the "Magen" division of the Israel Military Industries Ltd. is an Israeli firearms manufacturer. In 2005, the Small Arms Division of IMI was privatized....

-produced Uzi submachine gun
Uzi submachine gun
The Uzi is a family of Israeli open bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns. Smaller variants are considered to be machine pistols. The Uzi was one of the first weapons to use a telescoping bolt design which allows for the magazine to be housed in the pistol grip for a shorter weapon.The first Uzi...

. To replace the Mauser Kar 98k and some British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

 rifles, the IDF decided in the same year to adopt the FN FAL as its standard-issue infantry rifle, under the name Rov've Mittan or Romat (רומ"ט), 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 7.62 mm 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 versions are distinguished 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
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 of 1956, and by the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 in June 1967, it was the standard Israeli rifle. During the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 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. 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. During the later stages of the Yom Kippur War, it was noted that some Israeli soldiers had informally exchanged their FALs for 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. The Israeli FAL was eventually replaced by the M16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

 and the Galil
IMI Galil
The Galil is a family of Israeli small arms designed by Yisrael Galil and Yaacov Lior in the late 1960s and produced by Israel Military Industries Ltd of Ramat HaSharon...

 (a weapon using the Soviet Kalashnikov operating system, and chambered in either 5.56x45 or 7.62 NATO), though the FAL remained in production in Israel until at least 1981.

Rhodesia


Like most British colonies and Commonwealth Nations of the time, the colony of Southern Rhodesia
Southern Rhodesia
Southern Rhodesia was the name of the British colony situated north of the Limpopo River and the Union of South Africa. From its independence in 1965 until its extinction in 1980, it was known as Rhodesia...

's military forces were issued the British semi-automatic version of the FAL, the L1A1. However after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the UK in 1965, the new country of Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

 was unable to obtain further supplies of L1A1 SLRs. Instead, as many as 30,000 South African R1 rifles were procured from that country. These two rifles would be the primary infantry small arm of the Rhodesian Security Forces
Rhodesian Army
The Rhodesian Security Forces consisted of the Rhodesian Army, Royal Rhodesian Air Force, British South Africa Police, Rhodesian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Guard Force.- Rhodesian Army :...

 during the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

 of 1965–80. However, the international arms export embargo on Rhodesia and the eventual loss of support from the South African government meant that the supply of FALs dried up. To make up for this shortage of arms, numbers of G3 rifles
Heckler & Koch G3
The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME ....

 were procured from Portuguese-controlled Mozambique. The FAL, however, remained far more popular with the Rhodesian "Troopie" and G3s were generally restricted to police, Guard Force, and other paramilitary units. When Rhodesia became Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 in 1980 these rifles where transferred to the new country's military and are still in use as of 2011.

United States



The USA tested the FAL in several forms; initially as manufactured by FN in experimental configurations, and later in the final T48 configuration as an official competitor for the new US Light Self-Loading Rifle intended to replace the M1 Garand. The US Army procured T48 rifles from three firms for testing, including two US based companies in an effort to assess the manufacturability of the FN design in the USA. The T48 was manufactured for testing by Fabrique Nationale (FN), of Herstal, Belgium; Harrington & Richardson
H & R Firearms
H & R 1871, LLC is a manufacturer of firearms under the Harrington & Richardson and New England Firearms trademarks...

 (H&R) of Worcester, Massachusetts; and the High Standard Company
High Standard Manufacturing Company
High Standard Manufacturing Company Inc. is an American manufacturer of firearms, based in Houston, Texas. The company was originally founded in Hamden, Connecticut in 1926 as a supplier to the numerous firearms companies in the Connecticut Valley.-History:...

 of Hartford, Connecticut. The United States also received a small number of FAL Heavy Barrel Rifles (HBAR) (either 50.41 or pre-50.41) for testing, under the designation T48E1, though none of these rifles were adopted by US.

The T48 competed against the T44 rifle. The T44 was a heavily modified version of the earlier M1 Garand. Testing proved the T48 and the T44 comparable in performance, with no clear winner. However, the supposed ease of production of the T44 upon machinery already in place for the M1 Garand and the similarity in the manual of arms for the T44 and M1 ultimately swayed the decision in the direction of the T44, which was adopted as the M14 rifle
M14 rifle
The M14 rifle, formally the United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14, is an American selective fire automatic rifle firing 7.62x51mm NATO  ammunition. It was the standard issue U.S. rifle from 1959 to 1970. The M14 was used for U.S...

.

In the wake of World War II, the NATO "Rifle Steering Committee" was formed to encourage the adoption of a standardized NATO rifle. The Committee and the US interest in the FAL proved to be a turning point in the direction of the FAL's development. The US and NATO interest in small arms standardization was the primary reason why the FAL was redesigned to use the newly developed 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge, instead of the intermediate cartridge designs originally tested by FN. Two political factors are worth noting: the US Government tacitly indicated to NATO, and specifically to the United Kingdom, that if the FAL were redesigned for the new US 7.62x51mm cartridge, then the FAL would become acceptable to the US, and the US would presumably adopt the FAL rifle. Secondly, FN had indicated that it would allow former WWII Allied countries to produce the FAL design with no licensing or royalty costs as a gift to the Allies for the liberation of Belgium. Ultimately, the US chose to part with the other NATO members and adopt the M14 rifle, while the majority of NATO countries immediately adopted the FAL.

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
Gun Control Act of 1968
The Gun Control Act of 1968 , by president Lyndon Johnson, is a federal law in the United States that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners...

 (GCA 68 currently prohibits the importation of foreign-made full-automatic assault 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 Arms. Most notably Century Arms created a semi-automatic version L1A1 with an IMBEL
IMBEL
IMBEL is an acronym for Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil a Brazilian state company, founded in 1975 as a quango of the Ministry of Defence....

 upper receiver and surplus British Enfield
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

 inch-pattern parts.

Venezuela


Until recently, the FAL was the main assault rifle of the Venezuelan army, made under license by CAVIM. The first batch of rifles to arrive in Venezuela were chambered in 7x49mm (also known as 7 mm Liviano or 7 mm Venezuelan). Essentially a 7x57mm 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 7x57mm round in their light and medium weapons since the turn of the 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 7.62x51mm cartridge and the rechambering of the 5,000 or so FAL rifles that had already arrived in 7x49mm by 1955-56.

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

, recently bought 100,000 AK-103
AK-103
The AK-103 is a modern, Russian-designed version of the famous AKM assault rifle, chambered for the 7.62×39mm M43 round. It combines the AKM design with developments from the AK-74 and AK-74M, with the use of plastics to replace metal or wooden components wherever possible to reduce overall weight...

 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.

Commonwealth pattern FALs


Australia


The Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

, as a late member of the Allied Rifle Committee along with the United Kingdom and Canada adopted the committee's improved version of the FAL rifle, designated the L1A1 rifle by Australia and Great Britain, and C1 by Canada. The Australian L1A1 is also known as the Self-Loading Rifle (SLR), and in full auto form, the Automatic Rifle (AR). The Australian L1A1 FAL rifle was in service with Australian forces until it was superseded by the F88 Austeyr (a licence-built version of the Steyr AUG
Steyr AUG
The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

) in 1988, though some remained in service with Reserve units until late 1990. Australian L1A1s were semi-automatic only, unless battlefield conditions mandated that modifications be made.

The Australians, in co-ordination with Canada, developed a heavy-barrel version of the L1A1 as an Automatic Rifle variant, designated L2A1. The L2A1 was similar to the FN FAL 50.41/42, but with a unique combined bipod/hand-guard and a receiver dust-cover mounted tangent rear sight from Canada. It is noteworthy that most countries that adopted the FAL rejected the Heavy Barrel FAL, presumably because it did not perform well in the machine gun role. Countries that did embrace the Heavy Barrel FAL included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, and Israel.

The Australian L1A1/L2A1 rifles were produced by the Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, with approximately 220,000 L1A1 rifles produced between 1959 and 1986. L2A1 production was approximately 10,000 rifles produced between 1962 and 1982. Lithgow exported a large number of L1A1 rifles to many countries in the region.

Canada


The Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 operated a number of versions, the most common being the C1A1, similar to the British L1A1 (which became more or less a Commonwealth standard). It was manufactured under license by the Canadian Arsenals Limited company. Canada was the first country to use the FAL. It served as Canada's standard battle rifle from the early 1950s to 1984, when it began to be phased out in favor of the lighter Diemaco C7
Diemaco C7
The Colt Canada C7 rifle is a service rifle variation of the M16 rifle that is manufactured by Diemaco/Colt Canada, a subsidiary of Colt Firearms after 2005, and used by the Canadian Forces, Hærens Jegerkommando , Military of Denmark , Iceland Crisis Response Unit, the Military of the Netherlands ...

, a licence-built version of the US M16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

. The Canadians also operated an automatic variant, the C2A1, as a section support weapon, which was very similar to the Australian L2A1.

Malaysia


The Malaysian Army
Malaysian Army
The Malaysian Army is the land component of the Malaysian Armed Forces. Steeped in British Army traditions, the Malaysian Army does not carry the title ‘royal’ as do the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy...

 was another country that adopted the Commonwealth L1A1 SLR rifle, to replace their obsolete bolt action rifles. The Royal Malaysian Navy
Royal Malaysian Navy
The Royal Malaysian Navy is the naval arm of Malaysian Armed Forces. All commissioned ships of the RMN have the prefix KD , which means Royal Ship.-Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve:...

 adopted the L1A1 SLR early than Malaysian Army
Malaysian Army
The Malaysian Army is the land component of the Malaysian Armed Forces. Steeped in British Army traditions, the Malaysian Army does not carry the title ‘royal’ as do the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy...

 about 1965-66 along side the Sterling SMG, while the army didn't adopt it until 1969.

New Zealand


New Zealand's Armed Forces used the L1A1 as its standard service rifle for just under 30 years. The Australian SLR variant of the weapon also saw limited use with some military personnel during the 1970s.

United Kingdom


The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 produced its own variant of the FN FAL incorporating the modifications developed by the Allied Rifle Committee, designating it the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR). The weapons were manufactured by the Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

, Birmingham Small Arms
Birmingham Small Arms Company
This article is not about Gamo subsidiary BSA Guns Limited of Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham B11 2PP or BSA Company or its successors....

, Royal Ordnance Factory
Royal Ordnance Factory
Royal Ordnance Factories was the collective name of the UK government's munitions factories in and after World War II. Until privatisation in 1987 they were the responsibility of the Ministry of Supply and later the Ministry of Defence....

 and ROF Fazakerley
ROF Fazakerley
ROF Fazakerley was a Royal Ordnance Factory rifle manufacturing plant in Fazakerley, Liverpool; which manufactured weapons such as the Sten and Sterling submachine guns and Lee-Enfield rifle during and after World War II....

. After the production run ceased, replacement components were made by Parker Hale Limited
Parker Hale
Parker Hale Ltd. was a United Kingdom firearms, air rifle and firearms accessory manufacturer, located in the Gun Quarter of the city of Birmingham, England. It was originally founded by Alfred Gray Parker and Arthur Hale. Parker-Hale Limited began manufacturing high quality precision shooting...

. The SLR served the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

 from 1954 until approximately 1994, being replaced by the L85A1
SA80
The SA80 is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. It is a selective fire, gas-operated assault rifle. SA80 prototypes were trialled in 1976 and production was completed in 1994....

 from 1985 onwards.

Conflicts


In the more than 50 years of use worldwide, the FAL has seen use in conflicts all over the world.
  • Suez Crisis
    Suez Crisis
    The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

     
  • Malayan Emergency
    Malayan Emergency
    The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

  • Bay of Pigs Invasion
    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

     
  • Indonesian Confrontation 
  • Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

     
  • Cambodian Civil War
    Cambodian Civil War
    The Cambodian Civil War was a conflict that pitted the forces of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and their allies the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Viet Cong against the government forces of Cambodia , which were supported by the United States and the Republic of Vietnam The Cambodian...

     
  • Six-Day War
    Six-Day War
    The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

     
  • Portuguese Colonial War
    Portuguese Colonial War
    The Portuguese Colonial War , also known in Portugal as the Overseas War or in the former colonies as the War of liberation , was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974, when the Portuguese regime was...

     
  • South African Border War
    South African Border War
    The South African Border War, commonly referred to as the Angolan Bush War in South Africa, was a conflict that took place from 1966 to 1989 in South-West Africa and Angola between South Africa and its allied forces on the one side and the Angolan government, South-West Africa People's...

     
  • Northern Ireland Troubles
    The Troubles
    The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

     
  • War of Attrition
    War of Attrition
    The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

     
  • Rhodesian Bush War
    Rhodesian Bush War
    The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

     
  • Falklands War
    Falklands War
    The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

     
  • Gulf War
    Gulf War
    The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

     
  • Balkan Wars
    Yugoslav wars
    The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

     
  • Cenepa War
    Cenepa War
    The Cenepa War , also known as the Alto Cenepa War, was a brief and localized military conflict between Ecuador and Peru, fought over control of a disputed area on the border between the two countries...

     
  • Sierra Leone Civil War
    Sierra Leone Civil War
    The Sierra Leone Civil War began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front , with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia , intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government...

     
  • Yom Kippur War
    Yom Kippur War
    The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

     
  • Rwandan Civil War
    Rwandan Civil War
    The Rwandan Civil War was a conflict within the Central African nation of Rwanda between the government of President Juvénal Habyarimana and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front...

     
  • 2011 Libyan civil war
    2011 Libyan civil war
    The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...


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    Produced under license.: Produced under license, replaced by Steyr AUG
    Steyr AUG
    The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

    . Currently still issued as a personal weapon to members of the ceremonial Federation Guard
    Australia's Federation Guard
    The Federation Guard is a tri-service ceremonial unit made up of members from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and Royal Australian Air Force...

    .: Produced under license.: Produced under license.: Produced under license.: Adopted the FAL and FALO under license by the Pyrkal
    Pyrkal
    Founded in 1874, Pyrkal is one of the oldest Defence Industries in Greece and the main producer of ammunition and explosives in the country. Throughout its history it has been one of the largest Greek companies, in fact a reflection of the history of Greek Industry itself...

     factories before using Hellenic Arms Industry-made G3A3s. This move was due to lack of support by the Greek government on Pyrkal
    Pyrkal
    Founded in 1874, Pyrkal is one of the oldest Defence Industries in Greece and the main producer of ammunition and explosives in the country. Throughout its history it has been one of the largest Greek companies, in fact a reflection of the history of Greek Industry itself...

    . It was in use with the Greek special forces and the IV Army Corps in the Evros region from 1973 to 1999. The FAL was replaced in 2000.: Produced under license.: Used as the main rifle of the Irish Defence Forces
    Irish Defence Forces
    The armed forces of Ireland, known as the Defence Forces encompass the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reserve Defence Force.The current Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence forces is His Excellency Michael D Higgins in his role as President of Ireland...

     from the early 1960s (starting with UN service in the Congo) until 1988 when it was replaced by the Steyr AUG
    Steyr AUG
    The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

    . Its furniture consisted of a wooden stock and black synthetic handguard and pistol grip. Still used by the Irish Naval Service
    Irish Naval Service
    The Naval Service is the navy of Ireland and is one of the three standing branches of the Irish Defence Forces. Its main base is in Haulbowline, County Cork....

     for firing lines between ships.: Produced under license./  Anti-Gaddafi forces
    Anti-Gaddafi forces
    The anti-Gaddafi forces were Libyan groups that opposed and militarily defeated the government of Muammar Gaddafi, killing him in the process. These opposition forces included organised and armed militia groups, participants in the 2011 Libyan civil war, Libyan diplomats who switched their...

     Used Belgian FALs from 1957–1996, replaced by Steyr AUG
    Steyr AUG
    The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

    .: Produced under license.: The Royal Netherlands Army
    Royal Netherlands Army
    The Royal Netherlands Army is the land forces element of the military of the Netherlands.-Short history:The Royal Netherlands Army was raised on 9 January 1814, but its origins date back to 1572, when the so-called Staatse Leger was raised...

     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.: Used Australian built L1A1 from 1960, replaced by Steyr AUG
    Steyr AUG
    The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

     in 1988.: Licensed by DICON (Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria) in Nigeria as the NR-1. Used Australian built L1A1. 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 Caçadores Especiais (Special Hunter [Ranger] companies). 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. In Portuguese service, the FN FAL was designated Espingarda Automática 7,62 mm FN m/962.: Adopted in the 1960s.: Produced under license by ARMSCOR
    Armscor (South Africa)
    Armscor , the Armaments Corporation of South Africa is a South African government-supported weapon-producing conglomerate that was officially established in 1968, primarily as a response to the international sanctions by the United Nations against South Africa that began in 1963 and...

    . After a competition between the German G3
    Heckler & Koch G3
    The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME ....

     rifle, the Armalite AR-10
    AR-10
    The AR-10 is an American 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation...

    , and the FN FAL, the South African Defence Force
    South African Defence Force
    The South African Defence Force was the South African armed forces from 1957 until 1994. The former Union Defence Force was renamed to the South African Defence Force in the Defence Act of 1957...

     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. ( 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.: The Sri Lankan Army
    Sri Lankan Army
    The Sri Lanka Army is the oldest and largest of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and is responsible for land-based military and humanitarian operations. Established as the Ceylon Army in 1949, it was renamed when Sri Lanka became a republic in 1972...

     adopted the L1A1 SLR rifle in the 1970s to replace the bolt action Lee Enfield rifle and Sten
    Sten
    The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

     sub-machinegun. It was widely used in the early stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War
    Sri Lankan civil war
    The Sri Lankan Civil War was a conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on July 23, 1983, there was an on-and-off insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam , a separatist militant organization which fought to create an independent Tamil state named Tamil...

     before being replaced by the AK 47 and Type 56
    Type 56 Assault Rifle
    The Type 56 assault rifle is a Chinese copy of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, which has been manufactured since 1956. It was produced by State Factory 66 from 1956-73, then by Norinco from 1973 onwards.-Service history:...

     assault rifles.: Used by Royal Thai Police
    Royal Thai Police
    The Royal Thai Police are the national police of Thailand.-About:Primary responsibility for the maintenance of public order through enforcement of the kingdom's laws was exercised by the Thailand National Police Department , a subdivision of the Ministry of Interior...

     since the 1960s, designated "Rifle Type 05" (1962).: Used by the armed forces until the late 1960s, when it was replaced. However, the FAL remains in use as a training rifle.: L1A1 version used by the British Army until 1987, then replaced by the L85A1. The rifle has since been phased out of service from the British Army.: Produced under license.

    Non-State Entities

    • Moro National Liberation Front
      Moro National Liberation Front
      The Moro National Liberation Front is a political organization that was founded by Nur Misuari in 1969. The MNLF struggles against the Philippine Government to achieve independence of the Bangsamoro Land...

       and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
      Moro Islamic Liberation Front
      The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is an Islamist group located in the southern Philippines. It is one of two Islamic militant groups, the other being the Abu Sayyaf, that are fighting against Government of the Philippines...

      : Received over 1000 FN FAL rifles from Libya
      Libya
      Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....


    See also

    • List of battle rifles
    • FN-49
      FN Model 1949
      The Fabrique Nationale Model 1949 is a semi-automatic rifle designed by Dieudonné Saive and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale...

      —Predecessor to the FAL
    • L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
      L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
      The L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle, also known by the Canadian Army designation C1, as the SLR, or as the "inch pattern" FAL,especially on the American surplus market is a British Commonwealth derivative of the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle, produced under licence...

      —British Commonwealth version of the FAL
    • FN CAL
      FN CAL
      The CAL was a Belgian weapon manufactured by Fabrique Nationale. It was the first 5.56 mm rifle produced by the Fabrique Nationale. It resembled the company's highly successful FN FAL, but was an original design...

      —An unsuccessful FN 5.56mm NATO assault rifle that externally resembles the FAL
    • FN FNC
      FN FNC
      The FNC is a 5.56mm assault rifle developed by the Belgian arms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale of Herstal and introduced in the late 1970s.-Development:...

      —The replacement for the FAL in the Belgian Army
    • IMBEL MD97
      IMBEL MD97
      THe IMBEL MD97 is an assault rifle intended for use in Brazil's Army, Special Forces, and domestic police forces.- History :The MD97 is a Brazilian selective-fire or semi-automatic assault rifle that has been produced by IMBEL in Brazil since 1997...


    External links



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