During the Six-days war of 1967, it became clear that the FAL was not suited for desert warfare, was too heavy and that the AK-47 used by the Arab forces was a superior weapon in desert conditions. At the end of the war the decision was made to develop a new assault rifle based upon the Kalashnikov and the new 5.56x45mm cartridge. Two designs of the Israeli Military Industries were tested by the Israeli army. The first design was created by Uziel Gal (who is also the creator of the Uzi) and the second design was developed by 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 the new IDF assault rifle in the 1973, but its actual adoption was delayed by the next Israeli-Arab Yom Kippur war of 1973. The Galil performed fine but was not issued to all forces as US M16's became available to the IDF at very low costs. The Galil has been widely exported, with South Africa as one of the best known users as they have produced it under license and developed their own variants.

The design of the Galil was based on the Finnish RK-62 rifle, which in turn is based on the AK-47. The first test batches even incorporated parts from the RK-62. With reliability being the foremost criterium to judge the new design adopting the Kalashnikov mechanism was an understandable move. The Kalashnikov mechanism combined with the 5.56x45mm NATO round and a long barrel was to deliver the best of both worlds: high reliability and good accuracy. At first the Galil family consisted of the carbine SAR, full size AR and ARM light support weapon. For export the Galil was also made available in 7.62x51mm NATO. Later on the Galil Sniper was introduced and the MAR is the newest addition. The Magal is a police carbine variant of the MAR that fires .30 carbine round. Earlier variants used the long rifling associated with the M193 round. Later production variants use the tight rifling for the SS-109 rounds. South Africa is one of the main users of the Galil and modified the design to meet South African requirements.

The Galil is known as a very reliable weapon, which is not suprising for a weapon based on the AK-47. The Galil proved itself in Israeli use, South African conflicts and over a dozen other conflicts worldwide. Although designed for use in arid desert conditions the Galil operates well in jungle and arctic conditions. Due to the calibres and barrel length of the Galil it outranges the AK-47 and is more accurate. The 7.62x51mm models have a longer effective range than the 5.56x45mm models due to their caliber and longer barrel. Drawbacks of the Galil are its weight and limited ability to mount attachments such as optics. The Galil is a reasonably heavy weapon, making cumbersome to carry over longer distances. The weight does reduce the recoil. The Galil MAR had issues with overheating handguards resulting in a redesign of the handguards.

Galil Sniper
The Galil Sniper is very successful as it is very reliable, not too heavy, semi-automatic and not too expensive. The accuracy of the Galil Sniper is not in the range of a bolt action rifle or high end semi-automatic sniper rifles, such as the PSG-1. At the range law enforcement agencies engage targets the accuracy is sill acceptable. For military use the Galil Sniper is a good choice as sustained semi-automatic fire is of most use in militayr operations. The design is very rugged and reliable and the iron sights can be used while the scope is fitted.

The Magal was not a great success. Technical issues with the first batches caused all units to be returned to te manufacturer. The .30 round proved to be too weak to properly cycle the rifle and the design was updated. Currently the weapon is still in the Israeli inventory, but it is mostly relegated to reserve use.
Galil Design Variants Performance Use

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