The FAL as a combat rifle

We live in a world dominated by the AR15 pattern rifle and its variants.  The AR15 is quite simply the most popular semi-automatic rifle in this country, whether it’s for competition shooters, law enforcement, home defense, and even in the battlefield.  It’s an endlessly customizable weapon system – like I said on Top Shot, it’s the LEGO of the firearms world.  However, there are options to the AR.  If you want a larger caliber, say a 7.62 NATO round, the AR10 isn’t nearly the dominant platform for that round.  You have many choices when shooting a .308, from the M14/M1A, AR10, VEPR (good luck finding mags), and of course the venerable FAL.  The Right Arm of Freedom is one of the widest used battle rifles in the world, and at Warrior Talk New Gabe Suarez takes a look at turning your FAL into a modern combat rifle.


  1. I’ve been lusting after an FAL for a while. I love the idea of the thing, the easily regulated gas system that can be adjusted on the fly, the simplicity of field stripping, the cheap and readily available mags. I’ll buy one someday.

  2. FAL producer, bar none, DSArms is in my backyard – that’s the high point of living in Illinois…

    Additionally, John Krupa of Team Spartan offers a fair bit of FAL-specific training (he’s DSA’s Law Enforcement Training Instructor).

    I love mine – just wish there were more places to shoot ’em around here.

  3. Yeah – the stock handguards kinda suck…

    I’m not a big “rail” guy, but flimsy plastic is still flimsy plastic…

    Izzy wood handguards are excellent – if you can make ’em fit…

  4. I use an FAL for heavy metal 3-gun. It’s heavy, but surprisingly shoots very well. Something like an ar-10 would definitively be a better choice for something like 3-gun. One thing I would change about the fal, would be to cut the barrel to 18 inches…

    I love my fal, it’s a great gun.

    1. Nick,
      thanks for that link. I have been thinking about wood for my AR. Now I know what I want for Christmas.

        1. Why not? AKs have wood furniture.

          I believe the AR10 originally had wood furniture. Perhaps it was only an early prototype, but it hardly matters. It’s just a matter of preference. I keep my collapsable stock at full-length and I find it uncomfortable so I had been thinking about replacing it anyway. Why not use wood?

        2. Yeah, they have pictures in their user-submitted gallery of a Tantal done up with wood furniture that was stained red…it’s gorgeous.

          1. Right, I find the contrast of the black aluminum and the walnut attractive, and if it’s good enough for the AK and the FAL I can’t see any reason why my “Barbie” rifle shouldn’t have some too.

            Vive la différence, no?

  5. I would really love the FAL if I could lift that much gun every time I went to shoot. My AR is about 7 lbs, it works a bit better for me as far as strength:gun ratio goes.

    1. You could always get one of those shorter/lighter Para-FALs…but then the recoil would probably send you flying backwards a few feet.

  6. I’m just not enough of a warrior, I reckon.

    (Good rifles, but I didn’t really need a .308. I sold all mine…)

    1. The only reason I’d run a FAL would be in Heavy Metal 3-Gun, and that’s just because I’m not cool enough to run a VEPR like Larry Correia did.

      1. I bought an FAL for the same reason I carry a .45. Yeah 9x19mm is a great defensive caliber, and .223 has killed lots of people grave-yard dead, and when you look at things like 7.62×39, or 6.8 Rem SPC you’re looking a decent ballistics….but then you look at .308 Win, and wonder why you’d bother with all the rest. ; ]

      2. Only Chuck Norris spitting his own teeth (Chuck Norris’s regenerates teeth like a shark, so he can repeatedly gnaw his way through armored cars) at the targets and still placing in 3-gun would be cooler than competiviely running 3-gun with a Vepr.

        1. not to split hairs, but I must note that sharks don’t actually regenerate teeth. They just grow ALL their teeth at once, and each biting tooth has a bank of teeth behind it, kinda like a jaw full of single-stack magazines. When one tooth falls out the next one rotates into place. But if this happens enough times in the shark’s life they will run out of teeth, and never will they grow any new teeth.

  7. My last build was a 16.25″ and I just added a 1×4 Trijicon tr24 that LaRue Tactical was selling very discounted at their BBQ. that combo has been great for me up close and all the way out to about 500yds

    Love my ar’s but sometimes you just gotta run a Fal

  8. “the widest used battle rifles in the world” is an AK47.

    So many have been made that they aren’t exactly sure how many have been made anymore!

    A FAL does have a higher ‘coolness factor’ than a AK in my opinion though….

    1. Two quibbles:

      1. You left out “one of” at the beginning of that quote — changes the entire meaning to do so.

      2. In Higher Pedantic Gungeek, the AK47 isn’t a “battle rifle” at all — “battle rifle” was implemented to differenciate between rifles like the FAL, AR10, G3, and M14 that are chambered for “full power” rounds, whilst “assault rifle” has always been reserved for selective fire rifles chambered for “intermediate” rounds.

      Generally speaking, most people who use the battle rifle/assault rifle delineation agree that battle rifles (unlike assault rifles) can be semiauto.

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