Which countries still use the FN FAL

When the Bundeswehr was founded in 1955, it received its original equipment of weapons and equipment from the allies. Small arms were the US rifle M 1- Garand and the M1-Carbine, for the Air Force training regiments of England / Canada the rifle No 4 Mark I *, called “Canadian Rifle” for short, because most of these weapons are from Long Branch, Canada came.

BW soldier in 1959 with an FN rifle

For the first conscripts who were drafted in 1957 and the professional and temporary soldiers who were already in the force, the initial equipment was no longer sufficient. In addition, the weapons were mostly out of date and still came as World War II stocks.

Engineers from the former Mauser works worked together with Spanish colleagues in Madrid on the development of the Cetme rifle, a further development of the Mauser 45 assault rifle, which was no longer introduced by the Wehrmacht. The G3 rifle developed from this and later manufactured by Heckler & Koch in Oberndorf / Neckar was not yet ready for series production.

The Bundeswehr therefore ordered the newly developed FN rifle in Belgium from the Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre in Herstal in the new common nato caliber 7.62 mm x51. The gas pressure charger was available at short notice in a quantity of 100,000. The rifle developed by Dieudonné Saive from the FN model 49 - so the hope of the company management - should become the standard rifle of NATO.

However, this plan did not work: the USA, France and other NATO countries introduced their own rifle designs. In the conflict of interests, the uniform caliber was a step forward.

Nevertheless, the FAL rifle - Fusil Automatique Légère - was a huge sales success for FN in Herstal / Belgium. More than 90 countries in the world ordered this weapon in different versions.

In the Bundeswehr, the new rifle was initially simply called the FN rifle and was only renamed the G1 rifle in the early 1960s. However, this designation has not caught on in the troops.

The FN rifle was in use in the Bundeswehr until 1962, and in parts until the mid-1960s. Gradually it was replaced by the new G3 rifle from Heckler & Koch. The rifles retired from the Bundeswehr were given to the BGS and the riot police of the federal states. Many were also sold abroad, others converted into decorative weapons and sold on the open market.

In the following, the German version of the FN-FAL (G1) is described in words and pictures.