From Academic Kids


The FN Fusil Automatique Leger (light automatic rifle) is a battle rifle produced after the Second World War by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal ("FN") and adopted by many nations for their armies.



The FN FAL was originally designed to fire the 7.92mm Kurz patrone (=short cartridge) developed and used by the Germans during World War II (see Stg44 assault rifle). With the adoption of the 7.62mm x 51 (.308 Winchester) caliber as the NATO standard, FN rebuilt their rifle for the new cartridge and created what is possibly the classic post-war battle rifle. Introduced in 1951, and produced two years later, it has been described as the "right arm of the free world."

The FAL operates by means of a gas-operated action Firearm action very similar to that of the American BAR - Browning Automatic Rifle. The gas system is driven by a short-stroke, spring-loaded piston housed above the barrel, and the locking mechanism is what is known as a tilting bolt, as to lock, it hinges down into a solid shoulder of metal in the receiver like the bolts of the Russian SKS carbine and French MAS-49 series of semiautomatic rifles. FAL magazine capacity ranges from 5-30 rounds, with most magazines holding 20 rounds.

The FAL battle rifle was NATO's answer to the AK-47, in terms of the sheer number of countries that adopted it (over 70). Unlike the Russian AK-47 assault rifle, the FAL utilized a full-power rifle cartridge.

Production and use

The FAL was made by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN) in Liege and under license in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, South Africa (where it was known as the R1), Brazil, Australia, Canada, Israel, Austria and Argentina. India manufactured FALs without license from FN. Mexico assembled FN-made components into complete rifles at its national arsenal in Mexico City.


A number of FALs were made for West Germany and designated the G-1 before the adoption of the G-3 series of battle rifles, based upon the Spanish CETME battle rifle.


Great Britain adopted its own variant of the FAL in 1957 as the L1A1 SLR ( Self-Loading Rifle). . It was manufactured in Imperial measurements and minor changes were incorporated including folding a cocking handle, prong shaped flash eliminator, folding rear sight, sand removing cuts in the slide, and strengthened magazine catch. The UK variant, and many others, is semi-automatic only while the original Belgian version and other metric variants are selective fire. Most parts on the British "inch" version are not interchangeable with those built on a metric pattern. The L1A1 was replaced in the early 1980s by the Enfield SA80.


The Canadian version was the C1A1. It served as Canada's standard battle rifle from the early 1950s to 1984, when it was phased out in favor of the lighter, more maneuverable C7.


The L1A1 SLR in Australian service was supplanted by the Steyr AUG in the 1990s

South Africa and others

The R1 rifle in South African service had been superseded around mid 1980s with the locally built R4 assault rifle, a license-built copy of the Israeli Galil which Israel had replaced their FALs with around 1975 as had the Dutch. The USA had tested the FAL as the T48 in the late 1950s, but chose to adopt its competitor, the T44, which became the M-14 rifle, a modified version of the earlier M-1 Garand rifle.


FAL 50.41

  • Also known as FALO
  • Heavy barrel for sustained fire with 30 round magazine Squad Automatic Weapon (Light machine gun)
  • Used by Canada as the C2A1 as their primary squad automatic weapon until it was phased out during the 1980s in favor of the lighter C9
  • Used by the Australian Army as the L2A1 until it was replaced by the FN Minimi.

FAL 50.63

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