IMI Galil

The Galil is a family of Israeli small arms designed by Yisrael Galili and Yaacov Lior, produced by Israel Military Industries Ltd (now Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Ltd). The weapon system consists of a 5.56 mm line chambered for the intermediate 5.56x45mm NATO caliber with either the M193 or SS109 ball cartridge and several 7.62 mm models designed for use with the 7.62x51mm NATO rifle ammunition.The Galil design is based on the Finnish RK 62, which itself was derived from the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle. It was selected as the winner of a competitive bid for the Israel Defense Forces that included many other designs and was formally introduced into service in 1972. Depending on the barrel length, magazine capacity and accessories, the Galil is available in the following configurations: a carbine variant known as the SAR (Short Assault Rifle), a compact MAR (Micro Assault Rifle) version, standard-length AR (Assault Rifle) and an ARM (Assault Rifle and Machine gun) light machine gun.

IMI Galil
Class Manportable
Type Rifles
Manufacturer Yisrael Galil
Origin Israel
Country Name Origin Year
Israel 1972
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
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ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Yisrael Galil 1972 View

In the late 1950s, the Israeli Defense Forces adopted the FN FAL battle rifle chambered for the 7.62×51mm cartridge. Two models were fielded: the "Aleph" individual weapon and the "Beth" squad automatic weapon. It first saw major combat with the Israelis during the Six-Day War in 1967. Although Israel won decisive victories, the FAL showed its limitations in IDF service; the common complaint was that the sand and dusty conditions caused the weapon's malfunction, but this was later attributed to the lack of maintenance given by IDF conscripts. Furthermore, it was a long and bulky weapon. Its length and malfunctions became so much of an issue that during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, some soldiers armed themselves with an Uzi submachine gun with an extended barrel.

During the Six-Day War, the Israelis captured thousands of AK-47 assault rifles and evaluated them. The rifle proved far more reliable and controllable than the FAL, and the required maintenance was low enough so that the conscripted troops would not require more stringent regulations of the weapon's care. Because of this, the IDF began the process of procuring a new automatic rifle that would offer the same benefits of low-maintenance as the AK-47 but with the accuracy of the M16 and FAL. Several weapons were submitted for the lucrative deal of becoming the Israeli Army's standard-issue assault rifle; America offered the M16A1 and Stoner 63 series and Germany offered the HK 33. The AK-47 design was also considered, but difficulty in procurement limited its viability. One indigenous design was offered by Uziel Gal, creator of the Uzi submachine gun, but was ultimately found too complex and unreliable for adoption.

Another indigenous design was offered by Yisrael Galil. His rifle was based on the Finnish RK 62. While the AK-47 and RK 62 fired the 7.62×39 mm Soviet round, Galili's rifle fired the smaller 5.56×45mm M193 55-grain round. At the time, the United States was replacing France as Israel's main partner and weapons supplier. The U.S. would not supply Russian ammunition, so the design of the gun was altered to use the American cartridge. To accommodate the smaller round, the Kalashnikov-type rifles' 4.2 mm (0.17 in) gas hole was reduced to 1.8 mm (0.071 in). Tests conducted from the end of the 1960s to the early 1970s led to Galili's rifle emerging as the winner. It was named the Galil after its designer and formally adopted as the Israeli Army's next assault rifle in 1972 to replace the FN FAL. However, issuing of the Galil was delayed by the sudden onset of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

The Galil was the standard service-rifle of Israel from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. Around 1975, M16A1s from the U.S. Military Aid Program (MAP) began to arrive for Israel, which were slowly integrated into IDF service but were mostly regulated to NCOs and patrol units because of its lighter weight. By the turn of the century, both the ARM and AR variants were phased out from standard issue and replaced by M4 and M16 variants The Galil SAR was still kept in use by some rear-line services, including the Knesset Guard and the Armored Corps until the late 2000s.

Weight - 3.75kg (8.27lb) (5.56 mm SAR)3.95kg (8.71lb) (5.56 mm AR)4.35kg (9.59lb) (5.56 mm ARM)3.85kg (8.49lb) (7.62 mm SAR)3.95kg (8.71lb) (7.62 mm AR)4.45kg (9.81lb) (7.62 mm ARM)6.40kg (14.11lb) (Sniper)

Length - 850mm (33.5in) stock extended / 614mm (24.2in) stock folded (5.56 mm SAR)987mm (38.9in) stock extended / 742mm (29.2in) stock folded (5.56 mm AR, ARM)915mm (36in) stock extended / 675mm (26.6in) stock folded (7.62 mm SAR)1,050mm (41.3in) stock extended / 810mm (31.9in) stock folded (7.62 mm AR, ARM)1,112mm (43.8in) stock extended / 845mm (33.3in) stock folded (Sniper)

Barrel length - 332mm (13.1in) (5.56 mm SAR)460mm (18.1in) (5.56 mm AR, ARM)400mm (15.7in) (7.62 mm SAR)535mm (21.1in) (7.62 mm AR, ARM)508mm (20in) (Sniper)

Cartridge - 5.56x45mm NATO7.62x51mm NATO

Action - Gas-operated, rotating bolt

Rate of fire - 630 to 750 rounds/min

Muzzle velocity - 900m/s (2,953ft/s) (5.56 mm SAR)950m/s (3,117ft/s) (5.56 mm AR, ARM)800m/s (2,625ft/s) (7.62 mm SAR)850m/s (2,789ft/s) (7.62 mm AR, ARM)815m/s (2,674ft/s) (Sniper)

Effective range - 300 to 500 m sight adjustments

Feed system - 35, 50-round detachable box magazine (5.56 mm)25-round box magazine (7.62 mm)

Sights - Flip-up rear aperture, hooded foresight

End notes