Like many western nations, Israel actually adopted the FAL in the late 1950s after using a mish-mash of weapons in the early years of its’ existence as an independent nation beginning in 1948; those weapons ironically including lots of Nazi German K98ks. The problem was they had a largely conscript army and the FAL doesn’t hold up well if used by conscripts in middle eastern deserts and the issue raised its’ head during the six-day war in 1967. Many AKs were captured in that conflict however and many of you can probably see where this is going.
A tender was put out and many rifles were considered for adoption to replace the FAL, including a variant of the Valmet (which itself is a Finnish AK-47 variant) designed by one Yisrael Galil. A lot of testing was conducted and by the late 70s the Galil AR and ARM were beginning to be issued to the Israeli army, chambered in 556×45 NATO.
The outward similarities to the AK are obvious and the gas system and bolt of the Galil are very much blatant copies of those found in AK type rifles. Galils use machined billet receivers like most AK-47s instead of the far more prevalent stamped sheet metal of the AKM and AK-74. There is also an added left side selector, a much better ghost ring rear iron sight with a longer sight radius, extended mag release, folding stock as standard and the iconic upward facing charging handle.
Firing 556 and with a machined receiver the recoil is very light and easy to control in automatic, definitely superior to 762×39 overall and especially at longer ranges. Though what a lot of people don’t know (and I didn’t know myself until today) was that Israel fielded far more M16s during the service of the Galil than it did actual Galils and all Galils were phased out and replaced with AR variants from the US even before adoption of the Tavor.
There were very significant quantities of this firearm manufactured however and as with all the other weapons I have featured in these videos the Galil’s many variants were manufactured in a great many countries and used by dozens of different military and police forces around the world. The best known of which is probably the South African R4, though the most interesting is the ‘Peace Force’ of the Rajneeshpuram commune that existed on a ranch Oregon for a few years in the 1980s, some members of which conducted the largest biological terror attack ever on U.S. soil (infected the produce in a load of local salad bars with salmonella).