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The IMI Galil is an assault rifle made by the Israel Military Industries based in the AK-47 and the FN FAL, the Galil wasn't heavy used because Israel received large shipments of M-16 and Car-15 assault rifles when the Galil still was in phase of tests.


Estonian soldier with a Galil SAR

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 5.56x45mm. 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 other modifications, like the unsuccessful .30 Carbine Magal police rifle. While being a successful weapon, the Galil was not widely issued to the IDF during its lifetime, bec

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

ause 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.

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, key differences between the Galil and the AK-47 are 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-selector switch 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 flash hider can be used to launch the rifle grenades from the barrel, using the blanc or 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 with 10 rounds magazines to comply with local firearms laws.



The standard rifle version which is fitted with a high-impact plastic handguard and pistol grip, a side-folding (folds to the right side) tubular metal skeleton stock as fitted to all variants except the Galil Sniper.


The ARM light machine gun variant is additionally equipped with a carrying handle, folding bipod and a larger wooden handguard. The wooden handguard remains cooler during sustained automatic fire and has grooves for bipod storage. When folded, the bipod's legs form a speed chute for rapid magazine insertion; the bipod will also form a wire cutter and the rear handguard ferrule, which retains the bipod legs, can be used to open bottles by design, in order to prevent soldiers using magazine lips for this purpose which damaged them.


The most recent addition to the Galil family of weapons is the MAR compact carbine, which retains the internal features of the original Galil with a completely new frame, operating system and an even shorter barrel. Introduced to the public at the 2nd International Defence Industry Exhibition in Poland in 1994, the weapon was developed for use with the army and police special units, vehicle crews, army staff, special operations personnel and airborne infantry.

The MAR, also called the Micro Galil, is a reduced-size version of the Galil SAR (706 mm stock extended / 465 mm folded), weighing 2.98 kg empty. Compared to the original carbine, the MAR has a shortened barrel (210 mm), receiver, piston, gas tube and foregrip. The firearm is fed from a 35-round steel magazine which can be clipped together to increase reload speed. The MAR has the same rate of fire (630-750 rounds/min) as other 5.56 mm Galil models. An optional magazine adapter inserted inside the magazine well allows the use of standard 20 and 30-round M16 magazines. The lever safety and fire selector (located on both sides of the receiver) has four settings: "S"—weapon is safe, "A"—automatic fire, "B"—3-round burst, "R"—semi-automatic mode. The barrel has a multifunction muzzle device. The MAR is equipped with a folding tubular metal stock and a flip aperture sight with two settings: 0–300 m and beyond 300 m. The MAR can also be equipped with a

A micro-gali with a folded buttstock

night vision device (attached through an adapter mounted to the left side of the receiver), a daytime optical sight (mounted via a receiver cover adapter), low-light sights with tritium illuminated dots, a vertical forward grip with integrated laser pointer, silencer and a nylon sling. Upon request, the weapon can be supplied with a bolt catch, plastic magazines weighing 0.164 kg or an enlarged trigger guard for use with gloves.

7.62mm variants

The 7.62 mm Galil is derived from the 5.56 mm base version. The rifle retains the general design layout and method of operation of the 5.56 mm variant. In 7.62mm the Galil is available in several different configurations including a SAR carbine, full size AR rifle and ARM light machine gun. These weapons are fed from 25-round box magazines (previously 20-rounds). The barrel has four right-hand grooves with a 305 mm (1:12 in) rifling twist rate.

The 7.62 mm Galil Sniper (Galil Tzalafim, or Galatz) is a derivative of the ARM that is used with high quality 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition for consistent accuracy.

The precision rifle is a semi-automatic-only rifle with a similar operating system to other Galil variants, but optimised for accuracy. The rifle is fed from a 25-round box magazine. It uses a heavy profile match barrel that is heavier than that used on other variants. It is fitted with a multi-functional muzzle device, which acts as a flash suppressor and a muzzle brake. It can be replaced with a sound suppressor which requires the use of subsonic ammunition for maximum effectiveness.

The weapon was modified with a two-stage trigger mechanism with an adjustable pull force, a wooden buttstock that folds to the right side of the weapon and a heavy-duty bipod, mounted to the forward base of the receiver housing that folds beneath the handguard when not in use. The buttstock is fully adjustable in length and height and features a variable height cheek riser. The rifle comes with mechanical iron sights and an adapter used to mount a telescopic day sight (Nimrod 6x40) or a night sight. The mount is quick-detachable and capable of retaining zero after remounting. The precision rifle is stored in a rugged transport case that also comes with an optical sight, mount, filters, two slings (for carrying and firing) and a cleaning kit. Recent production models feature synthetic plastic furniture and a skeletonized metal stock.

Other variants

Other variants are:

  • Magal: A law enforcement carbine variant of the Galil MAR chambered in .30 Carbine.
  • SR-99: A Modernized version of the Galil Sniper.
  • Golani: A civilian version with a new-production milled semi automatic receiver built in the United States with all other components original IMI Galil production parts.
  • Galil ACE: The new generation of the Galil rifle, available in three versions, (Micro, SAR and AR) at 5.56, 7.62x39mm and 7.62x51mm. It has five picatinny rails for optical devices and accessories, and is lighter and more accurate than past generation Galils. It can be stripped without any tools.


  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Colombia: Standard issue rifle. Produced under license by Indumil. Also adopted the Galil ACE rifle by the middle of 2010, produced by Indumil.
  • Costa Rica
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia: Uses 5.56mm versions of the Galil AR, SAR, ARM and the 7.62mm Galil Sniper.
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras (Originally purchased by Honduran Army in the 1980s after the army adopted the M-16 A-1 the Galil SAR's where passed on to the Honduran National Police to replace the FN FAL's) The Galil is in present service today.
  • India
  • Indonesia: Komando Pasukan Katak (Kopaska) tactical diver group and 'Komando Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus) special forces group.
  • Israel: Israel Defence Forces and Knesset Guard.
  • Italy: The Italian firearms manufacturing firm Vincenzo Bernardelli S.r.l. manufactured under license quantities of the Galil assault rifle in two different models for governmental use in the 1980s. The Bernardelli Mod.377 VB-STR assault rifle was an all-out clone of the Galil AR/ARM variant, while the Bernardelli Mod.378 VB-SR assault carbine was a modified clone of the Galil SAR with a different magazine well that accepted STANAG magazines, much similar in concept and look to the above-mentioned optional magazine adapter currently available for the Israeli-made models, except that in the Bernardelli VB-SR this modification was made permanent. The rifles competed to the trial for the adoption of a new 5.56x45mm NATO caliber rifle, but lost to the Beretta 70/90 assault weapons system. However, as of today, both models result by official schedules to be in the inventories of the Italian National Police, and are known to be deployed with the NOCS team.
  • Lesotho
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal: 5.56mm AR and ARM versions used by the Portuguese Army airborne infantry.
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa: Standard assault rifle of the South African National Defence Force. Produced under license in a modified form as the R4 by Denel Land Systems.
  • Swaziland
  • Trinidad and Tobago


  • Galil Sniper

    4,35 kg
  • Length: 915mm
  • Barrel Length: 460mm
  • Cartridge: 5.56x45mm NATO or 7.62x51mm NATO
  • Action: Gas Operated, Rotating Bolt
  • Rate of Fire: 630–750 rounds/min
  • Muzzle Velocity: 850 m/s
  • Effective Range: 300–500 m sight adjustments
  • Feed System: 35-100 dechatable box magazine
  • Sights: Flip-up rear aperture with protective ears, flip-up tritium night sights, hooded front post

See also

  • Galil SAR

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