Friday, March 2, 2012

Galil assault rifle

Galil ARM 5.56mm. The only differences from the Galil AR are the folding bipod andcarrying handle

Same rifle, with bipods unfolded. Insert shows the left-side fire selector /safety switch with Hebrew markings.

The experience, gained by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the Six-days war of 1967, showed the deficiencies of the FN FAL rifles, which were the main armament of the IDF infantry. The FAL rifles were too sensitive to fine sand and dust of Arab deserts, and too long and bulky to carry and maneuver. On the other hand, the same war showed the advantages of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, used by Arab infantry with great success. After the end of this war IDF decided to develop a new assault rifle, which will eventually replace the FN FAL battle rifles and some of the UZI submachine guns. It was also decided that the new assault rifle should be built around the new American low-impulse cartridge, known as 5.56x45 mm. During the late 1960s the IDF tested two rival designs, one of the Uziel Gal, and the other of the Israel Galili. The latter design, based on the Finnish Valmet Rk.62 assault rifle (a license-built AK-47 clone), eventually won the competition and was selected as a new IDF assault rifle in the 1973, but its actual adoption was delayed by the next Israeli-Arab Yom Kippur war of the 1973. The machinery and documentation package was bought from Valmet and transferred to the state owned Israel Military Industries (IMI) company. There are some rumors that the first production Galil rifles were built on the Valmet-made receivers. The basic Galil rifle later evolved into several configurations, including the full-size 5.56mm AR and ARM assault rifles, compact 5.56mm SAR rifle for the tank and vehicle crews, 7.62mm NATO AR selective fire and 7.62mm NATO semi-automatic Galatz sniper rifle, 5.56mm MAR subcompact assault rifle, also known as Micro-Galil, and some othermodifications, like the unsuccessful .30 Carbine Magal police rifle.

Galil AR 7.62mm. Note the longer barrel and deeper magazine

Galil SAR 5.56mm with shorter barrel (with older type brownish color wooden forearm)

While being a successful weapon, the Galil was not widely issued to the IDF during its lifetime, because during the late 1960s and early 1970s Israel received large shipments of the US M16 and CAR-15 assault rifles at the very low prices. M16 rifles became the major armament of the IDF, with the Galils mostly issued to the Armored corps, Artillery corps and some units of the Israeli Air Forces. The Galil rifles were exported to the various South American, African and Asian countries. Estonia also received some Galil rifles in the early 2000s. The slightly modified Galil rifle is manufactured by the South African Vektor company, a division of the DENEL. Those models included the R-4 (Galil AR), R-5(Galil SAR) and R-6 (Galil MAR) assault rifles, and are used by the South African Military. Another offspring of the Galil is the Croatian APS-95 assault rifle. The semi-automatic only versions of the both 5.56mm and 7.62mm Galil AR rifles were widely sold to both domestic and foreign civilian and law enforcement markets.

Galil MAR 5.56mm, or Micro-Galil. The most modern Galil derivative.

In general, the Galil rifles are fine weapons,but somewhat heavy and expensive to manufacture.

Technical description.
Basically, the Galil assault rifle can be described as a modified Kalashnikov AK-47 design. The key differences between the Galil and the AK-47are as follows. The Galil featured a machined steel receivers of the original AK-47 rifles, but of slightly different shape. The AK-47-style safety selectors witch at the right side of the gun is complemented by the additional smaller switch at the left side of the receiver, above the pistol handle. The cocking handle is bent upward, so it can be operated with either hand. The sights of the Galil featured a front hooded post, mounted on the gas block, with the rear diopter sight, mounted on the receiver top cover. Rear sight is of the flip-up type, with settings for 300 and 500 meters. Additional folding night sights with luminous inserts can be raised into position, which allows to aim the gun in the low light conditions at the ranges of up to 100 meters. The barrel and the flashhider can be used to launch the rifle grenades from the barrel, using the blancor live cartridges (depending on the rifle grenade type). The Galil ARM also features a folding detachable bipods and a carrying handle. The bipod base incorporates a bottle opener and a wire cutter. The standard folding buttstock is patterned after FN FAL Para, folds to the right to save the space. Some of the late production Micro-Galil (MAR) rifles also are fitted with the Picatinny-type rail, which allows to mount various sighting devices. Standard AR and ARM rifles can be fitted with scope mounting rail on the left side of the receiver. All 5.56mm Galil rifles are fed using proprietary 35 or 50 rounds curved box magazines with AK-47 style locking. M16-type magazines can be used via the special adapter. 7.62mm Galil rifles are fed using proprietary 25 rounds box magazines. Civilian semi-automatic Galil variants sometimes are fitted with10 rounds magazines to comply with local firearms laws.

Galil AR / ARM Galil AR / ARM Galil SAR Galil MAR
Caliber 7.62x51mm NATO 5.56x45mm NATO
Overall length (stock open / folded) 1050 / 810 mm 979 / 742 mm 840 / 614 mm 690 / 445 mm
Barrel length 535 mm 460 mm 332 mm 195 mm
Weight, empty 4 kg (without bipod an carrying handle) 3.95 kg (4.35 kg ARM) 3.75 kg 2.95 kg
Magazine capacity 25 rounds 35 or 50 rounds 35 rounds
Rate of fire 650 rounds per minute 650 rounds per minute 650 rounds per minute 600 - 750 rounds per minute
Effective range of fire 500 - 600 meters 450 meters 300 meters 150-200 meters


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