*History of the FAL*
by serger

A brief thumbnail sketch of the FALís history


Here is a quick and dirty history of the FAL Rifle. Should you need further information regarding this rifle go here and check out the links.
 

In 1940 the Germans invaded Belgium and Dieudonne Saive one of Fabrique Nationaleís premier gun designers escaped to England. He had been working on a self-loading rifle to replace the Mauser bolt-action rifles the Belgian army was equipped with. The German Occupation stopped this work and that rifle the SAFN was not fielded and adopted by the Belgium army until 1949.
 

The SAFN was the design basis of the FAL (Fusil Automatique Legere) or light automatic rifle. The FAL was made as a collaborative effort to generate a universal battle rifle for Nato use. As it was originally made it used a rifle round that is almost a dead ringer for the 7mm-08 round and was the largest round a soldier could effectively control in automatic fire.. The United States wanted their new cartridge in .30 caliber (7.62mm) to be adopted because it could be produced on equipment the US already had. The FAL was beefed up to accept the American round. There were acceptance trials and Harrington Richardson of the United States made 500 rifles for field trials for the US military. The US FAL (T48 rifle) competed against the T44 that the US adopted as the M14.
 

The M14 was such a rousing success it was adopted in 1960 and replaced in 1963 by the AR15 that became the M16, the shortest adoption period of a US Martial weapon.
 

The FAL then went on to become the most widely used rifle in the non-communist free world. At itís height it was used in over 70 nations and is just now being pulled from service and being replaced by weapons using a lighter cartridge. Had the Belgians not still been angry with the Germans about a war what was fresh in everyoneís mind during that time, the G3 rifle fielded as the major competitor of the FAL would probably have been a footnote. The Belgians wouldnít grant the Germans a license to produce FALísí in Germany.
 

In itís day the rifle was produced in two patterns, inch and metric, and on five continents. (I donít count the Indian FAL in this because they back engineered the rifle and never paid for the royalties on it.) Currently the only producer of complete FALís in the world is DSA Arms in the United States. Their production of the FAL has been fueled by an American civilian interest for a battle rifle chambered in an effective cartridge and not wanting a weapon originally fielded by the communists. This interest in an effective rifle shooting an effective round has recently raised eyebrows in the Black Hawk Debacle where Somalian civilians mauled elite US forces. The one major item to come out of this incident was the 7.62 Nato round that some of the US troops used and which the FAL uses made the "Sammies" as they were called stay shot when hit by that round. The M855 round the majority of the US troops used out of their M-4 (M-16ís) performed horribly and did not. Other points causing the rifles current popularity in the United States are, inexpensive parts, and magazines. That fact coupled with the surplusing out of much of the Cold Warís ammunition stocks in the 7.62 Nato caliber will ensure the FALís popularity for years to come (At least for those of us lucky enough to get one).
 

serger


All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright (c) 1996-2002 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.