The FN FAL (Fusil Automatique
Leger - Light Automatic Rifle) is one of the
most famous and widespread military rifle designs
of the 20th century. Developed by the Belgian
Fabrique Nationale company, it was used by
some 70 or even more countries, and was manufactured
in at least 10 countries. At the present time
the service days of the most FAL rifles are
gone, but it is still used in some parts of
During the time, FAL was
built in numerous versions, with different
furniture, sights, barrel lengths etc. There
are, however, four basic configurations of
FAL rifle: FAL 50.00, or simply FAL, with fixed
butt stock and standard barrel; FAL 50.63 or
FAL "Para", with folding skeleton
butt and short barrel; FAL 50.64 with folding
skeleton butt of "Para" model and
standard length barrel; and the FAL 50.41,
also known as FAL Hbar or FALO - a heavy barrelled
model which was intended primarily as a light
support weapon. There are also two major patterns
of FALs around the globe: "metric" and "inch" FALs.
As the names implied, these were built in countries
with metric or imperial (inch) measure systems.
These patterns are slightly different in some
dimensions, and magazines of metric and inch
pattern sometimes could not be interchanged.
Most "inch" pattern FALs were made
in British Commonwealth countries (UK, Canada,
Australia) and have had folding cocking handles
and were mostly limited to semi-automatic fire
only (except for Hbar versions like C2). Most "metric" pattern
rifles had non-folding cocking handles and
may or may not have select-fire capability,
but as with other light select-fire weapons
chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO round, the controllability
of the full auto fire is disappointing and
shots spread in burst is extremely wide. But,
regardless of this, the FAL is one of the best
so known "battle rifles", reliable,
comfortable and accurate. It is somewhat sensitive
to fine sand and dust but otherwise is a great
The only countries still
producing the FAL rifles until the present
time are Brazil and, most surprisingly, the
USA. Brazil adopted the FAL under the name
LAR and manufactured it at the IMBEL facilities.
The USA produced a small amount of FALs as
the T-48 at H&R factory in early 1950s
for Army trials, but at the present time a
number of private US Companies is manufacturing
various versions of FAL rifles using either
surplus parts kits or newly manufactured parts.
Most of these rifles are limited to semi-auto
only and are available for civilian users.
Probably most notable US manufacturer of FAL
modifications is the DS Arms company, which
produced its rifles under the name of DSA-58.
The FN FAL is a gas operated, selective fire or semi-automatic only, magazine
fed rifle. It uses short piston stroke gas system with gas piston located
above the barrel and having its own return spring. After the shot is fired,
the gas piston makes a quick tap to the bolt carrier and then returns back,
and the rest of the reloading cycle is commenced by the inertia of bolt group.
The gas system is fitted with gas regulator so it could be easily adjusted
for various environment conditions, or cut off completely so rifle grenades
could be safely launched from the barrel.
The barrel is equipped with
long flash hider which also serves as a rifle
grenade launcher. Design of flash hider may
differ slightly from country to country. The
furniture of the FAL also can differ - it could
be made from wood, plastic of various colours
or metal (folding butt stocks, metallic hand
guards on some models). Some models, such as
Austrian Stg.58 or Brazilian LAR were fitted
with light bipods as a standard. Almost all
heavy barrel versions also were fitted with
bipods of various design. Sights usually are
of hooded post front and adjustable dioptre
rear types, but can differ in details and markings.
Almost all FAL rifles are equipped with sling
swivels and most of rifles are fitted with