Brazil’s IMBEL IA2 Service Rifle Disassembled







The IMBEL IA2, the new service rifle of the Brazilian Army, is the answer to the question “What would a modern 5.56mm FN FAL look like”. It has a scaled down and lighter receiver to suit the 5.56mm cartridge and AR-15 magazine. An AR-15-style (Stoner) rotating bolt replaces the old fashioned tilting bolt/breech block of the original FN FAL. The above photo of the rifle disassembled was posted on the DefesaBrasil forum.

Disassembled IA2 assault rifle 3


Disassembled IA2 assault rifle 1


Disassembled IA2 assault rifle 2


Being an FN FAL fanboy (‘The Right arm of the Free World!’) would love to shoot this rifle.

Many thanks to Victor for the link.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • noguncontrol

    they should have kept the tilting bolt system.

    • DW

      So they cannot switch to using aluminum uppers to cut weight?
      Not bashing on steel uppers or the tilt-bolt system btw, they work well as intended.

    • petru sova

      Wrong. The tilting bolt is inferior in terms of reliability as compared to the rotating bolt that tend to throw off sand and mud. With the tilting bolt it gets trapped jamming up the action. This is one of the reasons Israel stopped using the FN-Fal.

  • Eric S

    So, is there a civilian version, cause I kinda like this.

    • Atr-1

      • Drinkwater

        Red Rock Arms does not make that rifle anymore. (their website is running at 50%) TEAM TFB do you know of another manufacutured ?

        • Guest

          Springfield imported some SAR 4800s in 5.56/.223.

          • The SAR-4800 5.56 retains the tilting-bolt of the Imbel MD-1, of which it is based on, rather than the rotating-bolt seen on the MD-2, MD-97, and the above rifle.

        • Springfield imported some SAR 4800s in 5.56.

  • dp

    Is this really the brand spanking new IA2? This looks more like the previous MD line. I recall seeing prototypes with nearly monster-like plastic package around it, which raised immediatelly my eyebrows. My first question was: what the heat is going to do to it?! This looks clean and ‘mechanical’. Albeit arguably ‘old school’, It looks pretty good actually.

  • derfelcadarn

    The real question here is why one would bother chambering a military rifle in .223 ? At very best this is a coyote, gopher round. If this is all you have go with it ,but given a choice of a battle round the .308 or 30-06 are far superior.

    • john huscio

      To stay inline with pretty much every other country in the western world, whose militaries issue .223/.556…..interoperability and ready supplies of ammo

      • Anton Gray Basson

        Well yes but , the main bulk of fighting in Brazil will be jungle or urban. 7.62 just rip through buildings and you dont really need all that power when your target is 0-150m away on average. 5.56 works wonders at those ranges,

        • TimMullins

          A 5.56 does have a tendency to bounce all over the place in jungle foliage. I remember that from Nam. And they did still have a few BARs kicking around back then. They were heavy, but far superior in ballistics in that bush. But the M14 would solve the problem just fine too. Trouble was, that an M14 on rock and roll is nowhere near as tame as the BAR. The army should have continued development of that 30.06 bull pup from the late 1940s in my opinion. I would gladly trade the extra clip of 5.56 for the knockdown power.

          • Gabriel

            It’s true, the 556 bounces a lot. But the fact is that in the amazon jungle it’s almost impossible to see something that is more than a few feet away from you, unless you are in a meadow or in a riverbank. In fact, the combat is so close that jungle squads frontmans usually carry shotguns.

            Anyway, the Colombians use 556 in the jungle and terrorists are dropping like flies…

        • Lucena

          Not necessarily. There are loads of open fields in Brazil. They might have to create a DM position…

    • Esh325

      It could really be debated until the cows go home whether or not the 5.56×45 is an effective battle round. Personally, I think the 5.56×45 is an effective round, I just think it’s suffers from the poorly loaded M885 round, which is why they’ve made rounds to address the M885’s flaws.

      • TimMullins

        The army happens to be experimenting with a lot of rounds in the 6.5 MM range because they don’t think the 5.56 is what you would call an optimum battle caliber. It works ……. usually. But it definitely has shortcomings. A tumbler works great until the other guy is wearing body armor too. What they need is something just over the 100 grain weight. 80 – 85 doesn’t always cut it. A modernized M1 would be decent too. In urban combat? Use a shotgun.

        • Esh325

          Just because they are doesn’t mean they admitting that the current round is ineffective. The 5.56×45 works well against body armor I believe.

    • Anton Gray Basson

      Horses for courses as they say. 223 works within its design limits. If you look at Brazil and its typical fighting distances and areas 308 or 30-06 make no sense in terms of cost and damage they inflict. If youre fighting a bad guy you dont need a heavy round going through building walls like 30-06 or 308 do and hurting innocents.

    • clinton notestine

      same reason we dropped it 60 years ago… its heavy and unless you plan on shooting 500+ or a horse its unnecessary.

    • David

      I forgot what the saying was, but it goes roughly like this. Enlisted worry about fighting, NCOs worry about the Enlisted, Junior officers worry about tactics and strategy, senior officers worry about systems.

      From a systems perspective, logistics, manufacturing, political, other macro level systems, homogeneity, multi-use re-use, expense, and familiarity are king. The 5.56 has it all from a systems perspective currently. It may change in the future, but it usually takes some major pressure from one of the other systems. Right now, there is little pressure to deviate from or use something other than the 5.56

    • Nathaniel

      The FBI agents who were in the Miami Dade shootout would disagree with you on that, I think.

  • 101nomad

    For citizen (me) use, like that stripped down exterior. Put a fore grip on it, love to have one. Never cared for the 5.56 NATO, but, never wanted to be shot with one either.

  • vereceleritas

    I thought the FNC was basically a 5.56 FAL. This is just rotating bolt instead of tilting bolt. I guess the addition of rails makes any weapon “modern”.

    • clinton notestine

      isnt the FNC more ak though?

      • dp

        Yes it is, with exception of lower which is of different construction.

    • Anton Gray Basson

      The FN CAL was 556 FAL. FNC is a very different

      • vereceleritas

        I don’t know jack about the CAL. What are the differences?

        • Geodkyt

          CAL was a rotating bolt 5.56mm FAL. FNC is basically an AK style upper mated to an FN style lower. FNC has done very well in testing and service, IIRC, CAL not so much (which is why it disappeared quickly, if I am not mistaken — could be, I pretty much core dumped the CAL data after it went away.).
          This new rifle seems much more CAL-like, and I wonder if Brazil will run into issues as well. . . ?

    • Fnc uses a long stroke piston and an ak style bolt head. They also have a stamped upper receiver.

  • Anton Gray Basson

    I see they make a 7.62 version too, and both have brass deflectors added.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Kudos to IMBEL for a great effort, but I still prefer my FAL in 7.62mm NATO, complete with gunsteel receiver. It might be a bit heavier, but it will still outlast aluminum alloy and any number of other more exotic materials regardless,

  • ghannn

    This is my favorite non bullpup rifle, FN ergonomics, AR accuracy and AK toughness, and not very expensive. How much does it weigh?

    • Marco Alencar

      It weights 3,40 kg (7,49 pounds I think).

  • petru sova

    At least the gun does not have the troublesome (shoot loose) gas tube of the FN-Fal. The gun looks more like a copy of the Korean Daewoo, especially with the M16 type bolt.

  • petru sova

    As far as criticizing the 5.56 round. Smaller bullets that have a very long length to diameter are know to be superior in penetration as compared to larger diameter projectiles. Smaller high velocity bullets contrary to old fashioned Gun Writer BS have proven to be able to shoot through brush better without deviating from line of flight as compared to larger slower moving bullets. It is a myth that calibers like the old .35 Remington were better brush busters as actual testing proved smaller high velocity bullets deviated less from their line of flight when fired through brush.
    The only problem is that lighter smaller caliber bullets recoil less and once you up the weight of the projectile the gun once again becomes less manageable in recoil at full auto. Ah Ha you say! Why not adopt the newer version of the Russian AK that uses a system of cables to control recoil. Good idea but it proved to be less reliable than the original AK. Until the recoil-less death ray gets perfected we are stuck with the old fashioned recoiling weapons of the past.
    As far as projectiles being more deadly because they are larger in diameter, this too is a myth. As early as 1900 people like Agnes Herbert (yes a woman) as well as famous other big game hunters like W.D.M. Bell, Stigand, Percival, Neuman, and a host of others (thousands of poor white African farmers) found out that it was penetration and bullet placement that killed not bullet diameter and that many old time Big Game Ivory Hunters got themselves killed because they did use big bore guns that often failed to penetrate deeply enough. Just the opposite of what Gun Writer BS had been saying over the years.

  • Túlio Ricardo Moreira

    I’ve made that pic – and several others – at november/2013, and posted at Defesa Brasil Forum sum time after. Tks 4 the credits.