The Israeli Galil

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Shared November 23, 2018

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The Galil was the result of a program to replace the FAL in Israeli service after its somewhat disappointing performance in the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel found that while the FAL had shown reliability problems in the desert, AK rifles ran just fine despite often being badly neglected. In an initial series of tests, captured AK rifles came out superior to M16 and Stoner 63 rifles. This led to a more extensive series of tests and developmental work in which Yisrael Balashnikov developed a number of prototype rifles based on AK actions modified to 5.56mm using Stoner barrels and magazines. This second trial would ultimately compare the M16, Stoner 63, HK33, AR18, Beretta and Steyr rifles, and domestic developments by both Balashnikov and Uziel Gal. The Balashnikov rifles would prove the ultimate winner of the competition.

Balashnikov - whose name being so similar to Kalashnikov through pure coincidence, and who was originally born Mishmar Hayarden in Russia - would change his name to the more Hebrew sounding Yisrael Galili, and the new rifle pattern would be named the Galil after him. While the prototypes had been built on captured Soviet-bloc AKs, the production version would be based on the Finnish Rk-62 Valmet receiver. The Galil featured a great many improvements and additions to the AKM, including much better rear-mounted aperture sights, night sights, integral bipod (on some models), folding stock, ambidextrous safety and bolt handle, folding carry handle, and of course, a bottle opener. The Galil was formally adopted in 1972, but never did completely equip the Israeli Army, as surplus M16 rifles form the US were available for little or no cost. It was phased out by about 2000 and replaced by the Tavor series.

Prior to 1989, semiauto Galil could be imported into the US for commercial sale, and between 7000 and 9000 were brought in by a succession of importers (Magnum Research, Action Arms, and Springfield Armory). A 7.62mm NATO version of the Galil was introduced in 1983, which was not used by the Israeli military but did see adoption by Colombia as well as limited commercial sale in the US. The standard 5.56mm Galil were purchased by an array of foreign militaries including Guatemala, Nicaragua, Estonia, Portugal, and South Africa (where it served as the basis for the domestic production R4 series).

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So the Russians send Kalashnikovs to the Arabs, who then lose them to the Israelis, who then hire an Israeli who used to be a Russian, to take these Kalashnikovs that used to be Russian, and make an Israeli gun out of them.

And his name used to be Balashnikov.

...and now I have a headache.

1 year ago (edited) | [YT] | 2,248

Naughtius Maximus

I feel like Balashnikov was literally just Mikhail Kalashnikov wearing a fake mustache so he could play around with his design some more.

1 year ago (edited) | [YT] | 3,414



1 year ago | [YT] | 2,312


Balashnikov and Kalasnhikov sound a lot like Bollywood and Hollywood...

1 year ago | [YT] | 503

Praetor Patriarchy

Am I the only one who thinks that a guy named Yisrael Balashnikov developing Kalashnikov-derivatives for Israel is pretty damn funny?

1 year ago | [YT] | 470

Robert Aslin

Bottle opener?
Wire cutters?
And a built-in rifle?

Sign me up!

8 months ago | [YT] | 222

Ian Macfarlane

Balashnikov sounds exactly like a Chinese (copyright infringement) knock-off.
The Balashnikov AK-74
"No one will spot the difference - we can sell it alongside Durberry and Armoni clothes".

1 year ago | [YT] | 761

Paladin JN01

Have you ever seen that picture of Mikhail Kalashnikov and Eugene Stoner standing side-by-side and holding each other’s rifles?

Also, this is the most beer-friendly gun ever.

1 year ago (edited) | [YT] | 580


You know it is a kosher rifle when the muzzle is circumcised

1 year ago | [YT] | 2,000

Bernie Gran

""Can I copy your homework ? Yeah just change a little so that it's not obvious you plagiarized me"""

-Thank you Kalashnikov
- No problem Balishnikov

1 year ago (edited) | [YT] | 507

9-Hole Reviews

We may or may not have tested the bottle opener... L'chaim!

1 year ago | [YT] | 1,051

aris spilios

Israel army :''Hey Galili we need a gun and bottle opener together in one piece''
Galili : ''HOLD MY BEER !!!''

1 year ago | [YT] | 235


Tritium sights. Radium has a long enough half-life to still glow. There are watches with radium painted dials from the 30's that still glow.

1 year ago | [YT] | 148

mark vines

Hands down the best firearms channel on the Tube!

1 year ago | [YT] | 185


One of the more interesting development recently is Vietnam, of all people, got license to produce the Galil, and a few other Israeli small arms like machine gun and sniper rifles locally. Vietnam traditionally used Combloc small arms but for quite some time already, the military marksman demonstration teams have been increasingly using NATO ones and the armed force is slowly switching to 5.56 over the 7.62. The reason is China is slowly going from "Communist brother-in-arms" to "historical enemy" (a small border clash involving 400k troops leaving 60k dead) and the USA going from "new imperialist wanting to have peaceful revolution" to "new friend".

Vietnam military doctrine is little more than the ol' "People's War" but as a Jewish strategist puts it, as a small country, the only way to deter invasion is to put a weapon in each man, teach him to shoot and promise the invader that his tank may go anywhere but once the crew turn off the tank and go to sleep, they are killed by the locals. In such context, having organic small arms manufacturing capability is important.

1 year ago (edited) | [YT] | 215

Will H

Government : what do you have there?

Me : a can opener

2 months ago | [YT] | 8


"Columbia replaced their G3's with Galils"
angry german noises

2 months ago | [YT] | 18


"Let's make a civilian version !"
"Make sure the bayonet lug is removed, they go nuts when they see one on a civilian gun."
"And the grenade launcher muzzle ?"
"Naah, you can leave that ..."

1 year ago | [YT] | 2,213


Well if you find yourself liking a Russian weapon but it lacks that "special something" you go ask Finns about it...

1 year ago | [YT] | 15

Phil M

Whilst in South Africa I was lucky enough to get in some trigger time with R4 in 5.56. Nice piece of kit.

1 year ago | [YT] | 43