After the Six Day War, Israel decided all the FALs they had been buying and using weren’t all that great after all. Too heavy, too long, too unreliable! When the other guy is using an AK47 and you are standing in the desert holding a FAL and looking the much handier and lighter gun the other guy is using you can understand why the next time around many opted for an Uzi with longer barrel over the FAL.
All those AK made an impression on the Israelis because it wasn’t long before they decided the FAL wasn’t for them. I am not going to rehash the history o the Galil, but I will say the gun was made as a more of less “perfected” AK ( it isn’t) with some ideas from several other popular current service rifles. You can watch the developer talk about it in the video below.
The Galil has sterling rep in some places and it seems to be one of those much loved rifles that many of the people who think really highly of has never really even seen one. With that in mind lets take a look.
The Galil does have some features that I think are improvements over the AK. You can see above bolt handle for instance. It curves up and above the receiver making it possible to charge the weapon with the alternate killing hand without having to do the typical gymnastic required of the vast majority of AKs. It also make it a bit easier on the back if you have the rifle slung over the back for whatever reason. It is nice not having the handle jabbing you. It is a good idea but I find it a little too stubby to use if you have on winter gloves and if you reach over the top and have optics mounted you are right back to the usual AK type manual of arms. Good idea for the 70s, a wash nowadays. That luggage carry handle is also questionable when it comes to real usefulness. The magazine and well work the same as the AK, it rocks in from the front. The magazines for the Galil are 35 rounds and a conversion adapter exists to allow it to use M16 magazines. The release is the paddle in front of the trigger guard
The safety on the right side is the standard Ak safety and selector lever. They kept this for the Galil but like everyone else in the world with any sense realized it was slow to use. To remedy this the came up with a safety switch on the left side above the grip to be easier to use with the firing hand thumb.
Above is the left side thumb safety. Also you can see the stock. It is an adaptions of the FAL side folding stock. It does lock up tight and is fairly comfortable.
Now to get to the truly useful features. Was there ever a rifleman with a soul so dead he didn’t wonder .” what if my rifle had a bottle openers”? Apparently some one did it Isreal. The Galil famously has a bottle opener. I can’t vouch for how well it works though. All joking aside apparently it was common for the soldiers to use their magazines to open bottles and bend feed lips and ruin the mags.
The rifle also comes with a set of bipods that also can be used as wire cutters. When not in use, they fold back and up into the hand guards. The wood from the fore arms and the bipods make this a very heavy weapon. It is strange to me that the Isrealis wanted to get away from the wieght of the FAL but ended up with something just as bad.
The sights of the rifle are not too bad. They also have a set that folds up for night time firing. The rear sight is a peep that is very well protected with two side protective “ears.”
Above is the day position. and below is the night rear sight.
The front sight is adjustable and is also protected by a sight hood. The front also has a night fold up sight.
The barrel of the gun is supposed to have a 1/7 twist but this one is a 1/9. The reason for this is the gun is one of the semi auto “Golanis” that has had a Galil parts kit used to make it into a more authentic clone. Century used 1/9 twist barrels as they are wont to do for some reason. Cheaper I guess.
So how does it shoot? I did not have any where near the time I usually devote to accuracy testing but here is what I managed. I fired from 100 and 200 yards.
Steel was used for 200 yards and the cardboard for 100 yard shooting.
The gun was easy to stay on the steel but it would have been tough shooting much further on that size target. Because the gun doesn’t like to work with 55 grain ammo, I used 62 gr green tip for groups at 100 yards.
The gun is about what you would expect from an AK. It is heavy as a bag of brick s and suffers from a lot of the drawbacks as every other AK. BUt it has a allure to it for a lot of people. If you think you really got to have one, just remember the IDF ended up using the M4/M16 even after adopting the Galil.