|Galil AR / ARM||Galil AR / ARM||Galil SAR||Galil MAR|
|Caliber||7.62x51mm NATO||5.56x45mm NATO|
|Overall length (stock open / folded)||1050 / 810 mm||979 / 742 mm||840 / 614 mm||690 / 445 mm|
|Barrel length||535 mm||460 mm||332 mm||195 mm|
|Weight, empty||4 kg (without bipod an carrying handle)||3.95 kg (4.35 kg ARM)||3.75 kg||2.95 kg|
|Magazine capacity||25 rounds||35 or 50 rounds||35 rounds|
|Rate of fire||650 rounds per minute||650 rounds per minute||650 rounds per minute||600 – 750 rounds per minute|
|Effective range of fire||500 – 600 meters||450 meters||300 meters||150-200 meters|
The Galil ARM was created as a reaction to the experience gained by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the Six-day war of 1967. This conflict showed the deficiencies of the FN FAL rifles, the Israeli Defence Forces’ main armament at the time. The FAL rifles were too sensitive to the fine sand and dust of Arab deserts, and too long and bulky to carry and maneuver. This was especially clear in the tight spaces encountered during urban fighting.
On the other hand, the same war also showed the advantages of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, used by Arab infantry with great success. After the end of this war the IDF decided to develop a new assault rifle, to eventually replace the FN FAL battle rifles and take on some of the roles of the UZI submachine gun. It was also decided that the new assault rifle should be built around the new American low-impulse cartridge, known as 5.56×45 mm.
During the late 1960’s the IDF tested two rival designs, one by Uziel Gal, and the other by Israel Galil. The latter design was based on the Finnish Valmet Rk.62 Assault Rifle (a license built AK 47 clone). It eventually won the competition and was selected as the new IDF assault rifle in 1973. Its actual adoption was delayed by the next Israeli-Arab conflict, the Yom Kippur war of 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 Valmet-made receivers.
The basic Galil Rifle later evolved into several configurations, including the full-sized 5.56mm AR and ARM assault rifles, the compact 5.56mm SAR rifle for tank and vehicle crews, 7.62mm NATO AR selective fire and 7.62mm NATO semi-automatic Galatz sniper rifle. There was also the 5.56mm MAR subcompact assault rifle, known as Micro-Galil, and some other modifications, like the unsuccessful .30 Carbine Magal Police Rifle.
While a successful weapon, the Galil was not widely issued to the IDF during its lifetime. During the same period Israel received large shipments of US M16 and CAR-15 Assault Rifles at very low prices during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s . M16 rifles became the major armament of the IDF, while Galils were mostly issued to the Armored corps, Artillery corps and some units of the Israeli Air Forces.
Galil Rifles were exported to various South American, African and Asian countries. Estonia also received some Galil rifles in the early 2000’s. A slightly modified Galil rifle is manufactured by South African company Vektor, a division of DENEL. Those models include the R-4 (Galil AR), R-5 (Galil SAR) and R-6 (Galil MAR) assault rifles, which 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 both 5.56mm and 7.62mm Galil AR rifles were widely sold to both domestic and foreign civilian and law enforcement markets.
In general, Galil rifles are fine weapons, only somewhat heavy and expensive to manufacture.
The Galil Assault Rifle can be understood as a modified Kalashnikov AK-47 design. A detailed description of its functioning can be found in that article on this site. The key differences between the Galil and the AK-47 are as follows: The Galil featured a machined steel receiver the same as the original AK-47 rifles, but of a slightly different shape. The AK-47-style safety selector switch at the right side of the gun is complemented by an additional smaller switch at the left side of the receiver, above the pistol handle.
The cocking handle is bent upward, so that 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 aiming of the gun in low light conditions at ranges of up to 100 meters. The barrel and flash hider can be used to launch rifle grenades from the barrel, using blank or live cartridges (depending on the type of rifle grenade).
The Galil ARM also features a folding detachable bipod and carrying handle. The bipod base incorporates a bottle opener and a wire cutter. The standard folding buttstock is patterned after the FN FAL Para, folding to the right to save space. Some of the late production Micro-Galil (MAR) rifles are also fitted with a Picatinny-type rail, which allows the mounting of various sighting devices. Standard AR and ARM rifles can be fitted with a scope mounting rail on the left side of the receiver. All 5.56mm Galil Rifles are fed using proprietary 35 or 50 round curved box magazines with AK-47 style locking.
M16-type magazines can also be used via a special adapter. 7.62mm Galil rifles are fed using proprietary 25 round box magazines. Civilian semi-automatic Galil variants are sometimes fitted with 10 round magazines to comply with local firearms laws.