GUNS: THE FN FAL – My Battle Rifle of Choice

Author and his FN FAL wile on operations in the red zone

There is no golden conex full of high speed low drag toys for most contractors working the mean streets of Baghdad or taking on the Mountain Apes in the crags of some Hindu Kush type shithole, but there are gems out there if you look hard enough. The FN FAL is just such a gem given you are lucky enough to score one in your AO.

The FAL has been around for a while and is a true Battle Rifle chambered in 7.62x51MM that has a real fight stopper reputation in a .30 Cal package not some assault rifle cartridge or new wave round that is touted as the next big ‘man-killer.’

The 7.62x51MM fielded by the FN FAL is a tested cartridge also found linked in 200 roundbelts next to the popular M240G machine gun or in the internal magazines of many a sniper rifle. The FN FAL is an old school rifle and round that fills a serious niche in combat arms.

The FAL I use in my professional endeavors was a captured weapon recovered from the hands of Saddam’s old regime and is a platform with some new twists and turns mounted on it to update its utility.

Authors 13 inch barrel FN FAL with single point sling

This rifle was put together intelligently by an SBS friend of mine with a passion for this weapons system that I share as well. It’s has been handed down to me through a battle tested set of co-workers and I am proud to carry it harms way as they did.

When you pick up the FAL, you know you’ve got a rifle in your hands not some ‘0’ balance carbine fitted with a plastic mag.

The FAL is a weighty rifle not a backpacker’s rimfire .22 cal squirrel gun like the one fielded by the Amy Strong crowd in the States.

It’s a rifle built with purpose, and a choice tool from a more refined age of weapons design. The FN FAL is ‘Infidel Strong’ and in the right hands is an instrument of terrible visage that has and can send the AK and track suit crowd from Sadr city ducking for cover.

Here’s the ins and outs of my front line choice in battle implements…

  • 13” BARREL
  • 19” SIGHT RADIUS
  • 7.62X51MM CALIBER
  • FOLDING PARA STOCK
  • RAIL INTERFACE HANDGUARD
  • 120 LUMEN FLASHLIGHT AND MOUNT
  • FORWARD GRIP FOR INDEXING
  • SLING MOUNTED AS A SINGLE POINT

If I have to send ‘lead hornets’ down range in anger, I’ll be doing it with the FN FAL

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~Bubba G
Editor at Large

Bubba G. is an active protective professional presently performing contract duties in the Middle East and has well over 15 years of military, high risk contracting, international training and martial arts experience.

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48 thoughts on “GUNS: THE FN FAL – My Battle Rifle of Choice”

  1. Nice rifle. Notice you don’t have any optics mounted in the pictures. You use any or just stick with irons?

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  2. I like iron sight, but am waiting for some range time in this cycle to mount an EOTECH 552 to this instrument of ballistic justice.

    The only issue is that I can not get co-witness withe the irons and the red dot due to the sight profiles.

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  3. Good weapon. Hard to beat for the task. This guy knows what he is talking about.

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  4. Nice rifle, great review. those FAL are beast!!! I like the 13″ barrel, nice and compact.

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  5. Man I love me some FAL, it’s nice to see some professionals out there who prefer to handle the power of a real combat rifle, that’s a fine peice.

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  6. The aimpoint T/H-1 should cowitness.

    Nice write up, love the FAL

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  7. My last class at Blackwater I was told that my 7.62 (Galil AR w/ 16″ barrel) was an outdated round that had no use on today’s battlefield.

    Nice to see someone that knows better.

    Nice rifle! Nicely outfitted!

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  8. Is that a 30 round mag?

    Never tried the FAL but had a modified FN-FNC during my service, loved it, never had any problems with it.

    Got a G3 now so I understand what you mean with the power of the 7.62×51.

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    1. A princely gift ieednd. Or in this case, perhaps princessly I have two Aussie L1A1s that need receivers. I think I might give Mr. Coonan some business before too long.

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  9. I am a big bullet guy myself, if I have a choice I will always take a 30. cal bullet over the 223

    My last class at Blackwater I was told that my 7.62 (Galil AR w/ 16″ barrel) was an outdated round that had no use on today’s battlefield.   (Quote This Comment)

    I can’t stand firearms instructors that make sweeping statements like that. The “know-it-all” firearms instructor is almost as annoying as the “know-it-all” comic shop owner

    ~James G

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  10. “know it all” firearms’ instructors, gunshop workers, comic shop owners, or one of my favorite type of “knows it all”, moderators on gun websites.

    I am a big bullet guy myself, if I have a choice I will always take a 30. cal bullet over the 223
    I can’t stand firearms instructors that make sweeping statements like that. The “know-it-all” firearms instructor is almost as annoying as the “know-it-all” comic shop owner ~James G  

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    1. Funny you say “Gunshop Workers” – Those guys are a regular subject around the DVM campfire, and its not a positive one

      ~James G

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  11. Good article.

    I have yet to fire one these rifles, but I’m considering getting one as part of a gun dealer package. I’m helping open a gun shop in my hometown before I leave (hopefully), so I resent that comment James! I invoke my right to playground rules, nanner nanner nanner!!!

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    1. When you open your gun shop don’t forget to treat your customers like shit, make fun of them to their face and criticize every purchase they make ;)

      ~James G

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    2. By April 17, 2007 – 10:16 pmAh the customer care exec a speecis unto themselves! I could write a book on my experiences with them. maybe i should! ICICI, HDFC, Citibank are the worst. Next would be the Hathway cust. care in Bangalore. Actually Hathway could well be top of the list!

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  12. Actually, here in TX, the gun shop guys are really good people, not too bright in the tacticool world, most of them are hunters, but all in all, good guys.

    good to see some 7.62 fans out there, it seems like no one appreciates what a .308 will do compared to a 5.56, even the new god of bullets, 6.8 SPC. I must admit, I am a fan of 6.5 Grendel though, it flies like a 7.62 on roids, but it kicks like a souped up 5.56 in my opinion. The catch, its more expensive than a hooker in NYC… which is a price I learned from friends…

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    1. The catch, its more expensive than a hooker in NYC… which is a price I learned from friends…  (Quote This Comment)

      That price sounds about right

      ~James G

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  13. I am also a 45. man – for me the bigger (but still controllable) the better

    ~James G

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  14. The catch, its more expensive than a hooker in NYC… which is a price I learned from friends…  (Quote This Comment)

    Id rather have a hooker than a gun of any type.

    tomahawk

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  15. And here I thought I was the last guy left with an affinity for the FN FAL…

    Thanks Partner!

    Albert

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  16. Can you tell me more about the rest of the gear you use for the FAL? Mag pouches? How carried? Other items you carry? How many mags? Ammo choice? I notcied no scope but a rail mount for one? Do you use one? Which one?

    I am not a contractor, nor do I play one on tv or in real live. I like the FAL and would like to put together a complete kit for the one I have. Considering not many people run a 7.62 gun anymore, this would be increadibly valuble information to have, anything you have to share is very appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Mr. Chubbins.

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  17. The gear Bubba uses to support his FAL is going to be in the 2nd part of this article, so stand by

    ~James G

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  18. I saw some three letter types with a FAL and swore by it. They had 16? in barrels, suppressors and optics. They do work. I like to get one myself.

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    1. Hey, great choice in the FAL! Are there any issues you have experienced with the 13″ barrel (aside from rapid hearing loss)?

      I love the platform and the caliber but I’m hesitant to drop down to 16″, much less-13″.

      I’ve never heard any 1st hand feedback with the 7.62 Nato fired from such a short barrel.

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  19. I can’t speak for the FAL & the 13″ barrel, but as far as the 16″ barrel goes with my 7.62 Galil, I can consistently hit man sized steel plates with a Meprolight 21I @ 300 meters with no problems.

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  20. I can’t speak for the FAL & the 13″ barrel, but as far as the 16″ barrel goes with my 7.62 Galil, I can consistently hit man sized steel plates with a Meprolight 21I @ 300 meters with no problems.  (Quote This Comment)

    I have a 16″ (as well as an 18″) FAL…I’m positive that the accuracy between the two are about the same and I feel that reasonable accuracy can be expected of the 13″…

    I am wondering how much of a velocity hit that gun takes…

    I am not in a role in which I expect to engage human threats any time soon and have toyed with the idea of a SBR’d FAL because I absolutely love the platform.

    My question-without asking for specifics is-has the velocity loss been a concern?

    Would it be reasonable to expect AK like performance from a 13″ FAL as some have claimed?

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  21. To help answer some questions drawn from my own experience…

    There’s not been any functional problems running the 13 inch upper thus far. I have never tached’ out the velocity loss (no way for me to do that in-country), but I am sure it’s substantial, but not enough to take away from the rounds utility in my mind. As well, accuracy has not suffered in the least and the bullet has remained stable as well.

    This weapon was put together with having to work inside the close confines of vehicles and the barrel length is practical for that.

    It’s been my experience that most engagements happen well within 300′ meters and the track suit crowd are almost always found inside that range; the platform i am running is suited for that purpose I am happy to report.

    if you think about it, how many engagement with small arms occur outside 300 meters in today’s urban battlefield or on the roads of the red zone? In my opinion, the days of long distance field engagements are over except for snipers, drones, and field artillery.

    I wouldn’t mind a 16 inch barrel though; that’d work fine as well I suspect. …but like I mentioned before, I’ve got no golden conex to pull from.

    Thanks for the great observations and questions!

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  22. I recently purchased an M1A Scout and dig it a lot, should have gotten the composite stock (since the specter sling leaves marks on the walnut)…that with my .45 1911 is great to shoot! How do you feel about the M14 still being used by the Army?

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  23. I recently purchased an M1A Scout and dig it a lot, should have gotten the composite stock (since the specter sling leaves marks on the walnut)…that with my .45 1911 is great to shoot! How do you feel about the M14 still being used by the Army?  (Quote This Comment)

    I should have added- M14 in comparison with the FAL…since there were a few FAL’s running for the SPR program stuff. M14’s are still used as designated marksman weapons in some units, curious your opinion of that platform.

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  24. Is that the FAL made by DSA? In any case it is just nice! I assume yours has the sand cuts in the bolt? I have the 20″ barreled FN FAL imported after the ban so the original reciever is torched and replaced with an Enterprise reciever on this specific one. It shoots better than I can when I use it in matches and compared to a M1A1 which also shoots better than I can as well, I don’t see much difference. They say a FAL is not as accurate as an M14 but I disagree.
    [img]http://www.deathvalleymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/IMG_3555 low res.jpg[/img]

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  25. Edit – My fat fingers did it again… I meant the M1A, not the M1A1 Carbine

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  26. Probably among the best rifles ever made.

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  27. James / Bubba – did I hear right that for some reason the Iraqi government has banned the FN FAL for use in country? It sounds nonsensical to identify a specific weapon like that. Any truth to it? /-N

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  28. Yep – The Iraqi government says no more FAL’s or harsh language allowed on the roads now

    ~James G

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  29. I’m not the only older Royal Inf type reading this forum, and I will guarantee that anyone who cut their teeth on the L1A1 SLR (FN FAL) will tell you how good they are.

    We used to consistently fired over iron sights 6-800 mtrs with the only limiting factor being the front blade sight would obscure the target.

    FWIW, in SVN, contacts occurred at between 2-10 mtrs and the L1A1 still performed well fired instinctively or aimed shots. May not have been ideal at those ranges with the length, but I’d still take one over an M16-M4 platform anyday.

    As for someone saying they are not as accurate as the M1, well they are talking out of their arse. End of argument.

    Word to the wise…do NOT use ammunition meant for a GPMG (M60 or MAG-58/M240B) with the older wooden stock FN FAL. The butt will fail and you will end up with a rat tail (on the end of the slide carrier) embedded in your shoulder.

    AJ sends

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  30. Here in Brazil the FN FAL is the standard weapon in the Army, and Police Special Unit’s(BOPE). They are man stoppers. Imbel had made a new modern FAL, call it IA2. Chambered in 5.56 and 7.62×51.
    One thing, a friend of mine saw a paratrooper dropped his FAL in a jump, he found it, with no scratch.
    Cheers.

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  31. Here in Brazil the FN FAL is the standard weapon in the Army, and Police Special Unit’s(BOPE). They are man stoppers. Imbel had made a new modern FAL, call it IA2. Chambered in 5.56 and 7.62×51.
    One thing, a friend of mine saw a paratrooper dropped his FAL in a jump, he found it, with no scratch.
    Cheers.
    [img]http://www.deathvalleymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/imbel IA2.jpg[/img]

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  32. Here’s me rockin a 30 rounder in Iraq. Notice the steady stream of brass and the impressive fireshow.
    The FAL and 7.62 Nato rule!

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  33. Great rifle in any configuration, clearly the 16″ and 13″ will be very handy in tight spots. I am happy to say I own 2 the standard 21″ and the paratrooper 18″ with folding stock. Love them both. accuracy, comfortable to shoot, extremely easy to clean, and in my opinion gas system is to this day state of the art. The ear protection was my 1st thought but in an emergency in the process of protecting self and family, hearing loss will be the last thing I will be thinking about I’m sure.

    Hey, great choice in the FAL!Are there any issues you have experienced with the 13″ barrel (aside from rapid hearing loss)?

    I love the platform and the caliber but I’m hesitant to drop down to 16″, much less-13″.

    I’ve never heard any 1st hand feedback with the 7.62 Nato fired from such a short barrel.

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  34. I am a big fan of the M1A dressed in a Sage EBR Stock for a .308 / 7.62 weapon. It would be nice to see a review on this Rifle.

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  35. Nice to see the old girl is still alive and kicking – as for loadout this is what we carried back in the day.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWpGXfuAJkw

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  36. I’ve read a lot on the FAL, and have come to the conclusion it is the Battle Rifle to purchase, own, and go with(yes if you have the MONEY you can just own many choices, but we are not all like that and must go with a proven rifle). With a 7.62 round you never have to wonder. I’ve read many times soldiers making the comment that the .223/5.56 just didn’t have enough punch/penetration power, it deflects easy. And to hear from soldiers who have used the FAL, I’m not hearing any complaints. (and the many pro’s not listed) The FAL!

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  37. The FAL! Bingo! We have a winner.

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  38. I like the 18″ para (distance wise), but never used one when it counted due to an overwhelming abundance of G3’s. Only FAL’s I’ve seen have barrels pushing the 2ft mark, one mag, and shit ammo. I once traded an L1A1 carry handle for a mess of AK parts. Krylon it gold and it might as well be. Fucking blows that you guys can’t play with em’ in your sandbox. I’ve heard guys bitch about that, but it was usually lost on me half way through an incomprehensible scotch fueled diatribe I couldn’t give 2 shits about. Stay safe.

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  39. I have a DSA SA/58 and love it! ammo is crazy priced right now due to the political idiots! Would take it in a choice over my AR any day of the week!! You do know you have something in your hands when you pick it up and you respect it. I can hold a 2 inch group at 400 yards with a Leupold VXlll. Don’t have a problem with this gun!! I bought it not even looking for one. A friend of mine that owns a guns shop suggested it when i was building another target rifle. Told me i could shoot 10-500 yards and not be unimpressed. He was right and i wouldn’t trade it for 10 ar’s. But good luck buying one now!! Y’all stay safe and I’ve got mine!!

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  40. This is the rifle that gives the M-4 a serious case of penis envy.

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  41. Bubba: What is the make and model of the sling you have on the FAL? I want to get one like it for mine. Also, since this article, has the FAL hiccuped in any way?

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