Fal Fn762 Slr

The FAL FN/7.62 SLR automatic rifle was one of the military weapons favored by NATO during the Cold War. Designed by Belgian weapons manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN), FAL FN military guns were once dubbed the “right arm of the free world. “

The full name of the FAL FN is the Fusil Automatique Lager, which translates as Light Automatic Rifle. The alternate name, 7.62 SLR, stands for 7.62 Self Loading Rifle. 7.62 indicates the cartridge size used by the automatic rifle.

The History of the FAL FN Automatic Rifle

The history of the FAL/7.62 is tied to both the Cold War and international politics. The story of the FAL FN automatic rifle is also a story of the delicate balances of international pride and prestige.

The original FN FAL was developed in Belgium in 1947, and tested by the British a year later. The British wanted Fabrique Nationale to remodel the FAL so it would use Britain ‘s .280 cartridges rather than FN ‘s first choice, the 7.92 Kurz cartridge used by the Germans in WWII. With the war so fresh in everyone ‘s minds, it is easy to see how Britain may have balked at the idea of arming its forces with German armaments.

The FAL FN was one of several military guns considered by NATO forces. The goal was to standardize NATO military weapons, including automatic rifles and cartridges. In 1950, the United Kingdom offered both the FAL FN and their homegrown EM-2 to the United States, which comparison tested the rifles against their own choice, the T25.

The United States was impressed with the FAL, but recommended the design be reworked to use American-made .30 light rifle cartridges. Britain originally decided to pursue their own EM-2 assault rifle, but back-room deals between the United States and the United Kingdom eventually led to the adoption of the FAL FN by British forces.

The Belgians saw the FAL automatic rifle as a thank you to the Allied Forces for liberating Belgium from Nazi occupation. This sentiment was partially responsible for a 1951 offer by FN allowing the United States to manufacture the FN FAL royalty-free.

Ultimately, the U.S. armed forces chose to go with their own automatic rifle – the M14. The majority of NATO forces chose the FAL FN and the .30 light rifle cartridge. The cartridge became known as the 7.62mm NATO, giving the FAL its other name, the 7.62 SLA automatic rifle.

FAL FN/7.62 SLA Specifications

  • action: gas operated with a tilting breechblock
  • barrel length: 21 inches
  • bullet speed: 850 meters per second
  • cartridge: 7.62 x 51mm nato
  • designers: Dieudonne Saive, Ernest Vervier
  • length: 43 inches
  • magazine: 20- or 30-round detachable
  • manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale (FN)
  • range: 900 meters
  • rate of fire: 650 rounds per minute
  • service: 1953 to present
  • sights: rear sight aperture with a hooded post front sight
  • weight: 8.8 to 9.8 pounds.

Disadvantages to the FAL FN/7.62 SLA

Like its Warsaw pact counterpart, the AK-47, the FAL automatic rifle has both semi-automatic and automatic settings. However, the FAL is a relatively light assault rifle, and the barrel tends to “climb ” when set to automatic fire, greatly reducing accuracy. As a result, many armed forces advise their troops against the automatic setting. Heavy barrel versions of the FAL FN/7.62mm can compensate for the military gun ‘s climbing tendency.

The FAL FN requires more care and upkeep than an AK-47. Although unusual, it is possible for the FAL ‘s firing mechanism to fail due to dust or grit in the mechanism.

In spite of these shortcomings, the FAL FN/7.62mm deserves its reputation as one of the most versatile military weapons. The FAL is easy to fire and has better accuracy than the AK-47. The FAL can be fixed with a bayonet and can be equipped to fire rifle grenades.

The FAL Automatic Rifle ‘s Military Use

FAL FN/7.62mm automatic rifles are far less produced than AK-47s: only one million units, as opposed to the estimated 100 million AK-47s. The FAL, however, is the automatic rifle of choice for many countries ‘ armed forces. A brief list of military forces that use or have used the FAL includes:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Greece
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Venezuela.

FAL FN Rifles and Collectors

Due to strict import laws, it is difficult for a U.S. gun collector to buy an FAL FN/7.62mm SLA outright. Many FAL automatic rifles in U.S. collections are built from demilitarized kits. These reconstructed military guns may be built from mismatched parts or simply rebuilt incorrectly, resulting in rifles that can be more dangerous to the shooter than the target. A professional gunsmith can fix many of the problems associated with amateur FAL reconstructions.