Vietnam to License-Produce The Galil ACE

The good news for IWI continues to roll in: Army Recognition relays an Interfax report that Vietnam will shortly begin license production of the Galil ACE 31 and 32 rifles. This contract, which will produce rifles to supplant the ageing AKM rifles in use by the Vietnamese Army, does not represent a new relationship between IWI and Vietnam, the latter having used Galil rifles and Negev machine guns in limited and specialist roles for a few years now.

Interestingly, the new Vietnamese ACEs will retain the 7.62x39mm caliber of the AKM, making Vietnam one of a handful of first and second world countries which have not adopted small caliber high velocity ammunition (another example being Finland). It’s not clear if the Vietnamese ACEs will also continue to use the durable-but-ancient-and-very-heavy AKM magazines, or a newer design.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Lance

    I doubt they replace there Commie AKMs they won there ”revolution” with. Vietnam has production with many western weapons they make M-16 and CAR-15s now they make Tavors and now Gailis. Not too many have replace there legacy commie systems. I wish we could kill the 1989 import ban and get some cheap Vietnamese rifles for sale.

    • iksnilol

      Do you maybe know any Vietnamese companies, since I could import (for myself here in Europe). Still, just because I am in Europe doesn’t mean I don’t like cheap rifles.

  • iksnilol

    I think it is a good move to stick with the 7.62×39, especially because it has good subsonic performance (for stealth and other stuff) and good short barrel performance.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      good subsonic performance (for stealth and other stuff)

      … Um… Aside from one company that ONCE made SOME subsonic ammo, and one guy in New Zeland I saw that got some 180gr-ish to cycle in his AK… There is absolutely no common use of 7.62×39 subsonic. It doesn’t have “good subsonic performance” because it almost entirely doesn’t exist at all to be qualified. By anyone, really ever.

      For about a dozen reasons. Least of all isn’t the only heavy .311 bullet I can think of was for the Arisaka iirc. Then you have the undisputed fact that AK’s and SIGs are stupid loud when suppressed, meaning no one would waste any time or effort with a suppressed 7.62×39 as there is no quiet platform for that.

      Maybe you were just mistaken, I’ll just chalk it up to that.

      • Esh325

        Why exactly is a 7.62×39 AK “loud” but a .300 BLK AR15 isn’t? That doesn’t really make much sense.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          If you know how DI vs piston works it sure does. Short story is that pistons vent directly to atmosphere while the gas system is at it’s highest pressure.

          • Esh325

            In practice, I’ve never found that to be true at all from firing many AR’s and AK’s.

          • iksnilol

            Some people like to talk about stuff they don’t know.

            I haven’d had problems with suppressed AKs and I have sensitive hearing.

          • All the Raindrops

            Piston guns are the preferred platform for suppressors.. Top tier spec ops from the west and east use suppressed piston guns. Seals have HK’s, Russian Spetznaz types have the VSS Vintorez. The POF, LWRC, etc piston guns are also top end platforms.

            DI guns get filthy extremely fast with a suppressor. The piston guns may be a little louder, but the world’s top dudes that kill for a living run piston.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            2008 called, wants it’s piston-myth back.

      • iksnilol

        You forgot the Ruskies. They have subsonic 7.62×39, it did lead to the development of 9×39 but they still use it.

        AKs aren’t “stupid loud” if you don’t use the vented gas tube/gas block (not sure what it is called in this language).

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Just like I said, no one has used subsonic 7.62×39 in any reason quantity for it to possibly have a reputation of “good performance”.

          Just stop.

          • iksnilol

            I wont stop, I just mentioned a reputable user that has used it for a while. Or is the Russian army not a reputable enough user.

            Just because the West doesn’t know, doesn’t mean the East doesn’t also.

          • troy

            Aks are not as quite suppressed especially when using subsonic ammo. The ak has a lot of other strongpoints but sound suppression is not one of them. Lots of countries play with suppressed Aks, not just Russia, ask somebody at Ase Utra about suppressing the AK. Yes it can be done but there are better guns to play with. The AUG is another loud suppressed gun. The gas just vents out of the piston so fast that it makes a very distinctive crack. The Finns have played with subsonic AK ammo but it is just not very efficient or as reliable.

          • Steve (TFB Editor)

            I don’t think anyone has used any centerfire sub-sonic caliber in any large quantity.

            .22 is used all the time for hunting suppressed and that works well.

          • All the Raindrops

            Well I’d take it over subsonic 5.56 😉

    • Guest

      Are you fucking sure?
      I think there are many reasons why AK74SU is very popular but AKMSU isn’t.
      “Good subsonic performance” is not measured only power and reliablity, accuracy is also serious problem.
      Russians actually never think 7.62×39 as great subsonic platform, that’s why they making it bigger and bigger(now it reached to 12.7x55mm).
      Accuracy is not problem? Power only matters? In your theory? In such case, russians will just punch and kill enemy with their 200x150mm subsonic human-bear knuckles.

    • 7.62×39 loses a similar percentage of its muzzle energy going from a 16″ to an 8″ barrel to 5.56mm. It can be deceptive simply looking at the velocity numbers from shorter barrels chambered in the respective cartridges. Here’s an example I used elsewhere, in that case when talking about 6.8 SPC, to illustrate how velocity numbers can kind of screw with your brain when talking short barrel performance:

      Let’s say we have a 6.8mm SPC load that produces 770 m/s (2,530 ft/s) from a 16″ barrel with a 7.5 g (116 gr) bullet, and 670 m/s (2,200 ft/s) with the same bullet from a 9″ barrel. Comparing that to a 5.56mm load that produces 900 m/s (2,950 ft/s) from a 16″ barrel with a 4 g (62 gr) bullet, but 770 m/s (2,530 ft/s) from a 9″ barrel, we immediately see that the 5.56mm cartridge loses 130 m/s (420 ft/s) velocity, while the 6.8mm SPC loses only 100 m/s (330 ft/s) velocity. It looks like the 6.8mm is more efficient, but in fact I arrived at these numbers by multiplying the muzzle energies of both cartridges from 16″ barrels by 0.75, meaning both examples retain exactly three-quarters of their muzzle energy when the barrel length is reduced from 16″ to 9″.

      Powder burn rate is the big informer of short barrel performance retention, not caliber or expansion ratio.

      I can’t really think of any reason to prefer 7.62×39 over 5.56mm, 5.45mm, or 5.8mm. Having said that, there’s not that strong of a case to be made for small countries with self-defense forces to switch to the smaller calibers, either.

  • BOB

    so when will IMI import some of these Galil ACEs stateside?

    • erwos

      Never, according to this:

      Too bad, really – the Vietnamese aren’t the enemy anymore, and they’ve been playing nice with us for quite a while.

      • SP mclaughlin

        IWI makes the ACE, the USA branch making Tavors could make semi auto ACE rifles.

        • erwos

          Yes, they could. But they’re not going to be importing them from Vietnam, that’s for damn sure.

          • BOB

            I wasn’t interested in Vietnam imports, hell it’d be better if they were made here. The real question is, when can I get one of these here.

        • Anonymoose

          7.62×39 Tavor, when?

          Also, .308 Tavor, when?

      • Thr Hun

        They aren’t our enemies until the MIC/CIA decides they are

  • Esh325

    Seems like a lost opportunity for the Russians. The Russians would had a good sale of rifles, but they don’t seem to have their shit together with regards to pumping out modernized rifles that customers are interested in.

    • dp

      Follow the money trail – the usual stuff. Another part is probably political: Russia and China are buddies while Vietnam is in cross with latter.

      • Anonymoose

        lolwut? Russia has only been palling around with China lately because of NATO’s involvement in Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine. Russia funded proxy wars against the Chinese-led bloc (Pakistan, Cambodia, Albania and its diaspora, and China itself) for decades, just like we did to the Soviets. They are only as close of “buddies” as the US is to either of them.

        • The Hun

          With friends like the US/ZATO who needs enemies?

        • dp

          I am not aware of any Soviet/ Russia led subversion (after affair od late 60’s which was long time sorted out) against Chinese interests be it in Vietnam, Pakistan or Cambodia. Actually, it appears that lines of interest between them are drawn up and respected; Russia left all of Asia (part of non-aligned India) to China.
          Vietnam may be an aberration since for example Laos, one time close dependant of Vietnam is firmly in Chinese zone of interest. Vietnam looks like ‘infant-terrible’ before it recognises the fact and settles down. Its behaviour is close to ridiculous.

        • Yellow Devil

          Different era, new beginnings.

          Shanghai Cooperation Organization

    • Gallan

      Not really a ‘lost opportunity’ because although Russia is arguably the most innovative small arm designer in the world, they seem to just like designing small arms but never fully developing them for commercial export. The Galil Ace seems to be the perfect cheap modernized AK, something that Russia has already done (AK-12), but failed to develop for export. (AK-12 looks alot more expensive to manufacture than the Galil Ace).

      My advice? Russia should adopt the Galil Ace as their new standard rifle haha.

  • TV-PressPass

    I like everything I’m hearing about IWI these days. Now lets get a semi-auto X95 into my greedy tavor-loving hands!

    • gallan

      Let’s not forget Indumil, the colombian company that designed the Galil Ace. Although IWI makes decent small arms, they tend to be underengineered and pricey. The Uzi’s cost, weight and lack of ergonomics. And the Galil’s cost and weight. It took a colombian company to make a cheap modernized AK, so they should get most of the credit.

  • 101nomad

    Ever had little bunches of pissed off VC/NVA shooting at you with 7.62×39?

  • Gallan

    Probably the reason is the 7.62×39 calibre is better at penetrating cover, in this case vegetation, since Vietnam is a jungle country. In addition, this importance would be magnified for the guerrilla fighter who would have limited ammunition. Guerrilla warfare being Vietnams primary strategy to defeat a Chinese invasion it expects anytime now.

    The 7.62×39 caliber in a AK is also considered the gold standard in reliability. A critical feature for a guerrilla fighter and a conscription fighting force.

    • dp

      I think you are correct. The issues of 5.6 bullet vulnerability to foliage are known. Also it is likely that they have capacity to make 7.62 and large supplies for future. Cost of change would be prohibitive.

      • An almost nonexistent disadvantage that has been blown out of proportion to help sell guns in exotic calibers and make bad documentaries, in my opinion.

        • Xerxes036

          Not being a troll or anything Nate just to be clear your talkin 5.56 in foliage correct?

          • Yes. It performs much better vs. foliage than it is given credit for. Not so well as some other calibers, but it doesn’t bounce of leaves like gunwriters would have you believe, either.

    • What did I just read?

  • Cmila

    Vietnamese language BBC via Google translation:

    The Israeli contract was cheaper $170m vs $250m for Russian AK-100s, Estimated production capacity of 50,000 guns per year.

  • MarkJ

    Here’s the best part of this news: Ho Chi Minh is spinning in his mausoleum right now. (LOL)

    • Yellow Devil

      “Vietnam may have won the war, but Capitalism won the argument”. – “The Cold War” by John Lewis Gaddis

      • Gallan

        A foolish statement that conceals the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Vietnam wasn’t fighting for communism, but against foreign domination. (They hated China’s guts)

  • safeshot

    If the rifle is as well made as the boots and the backpack I have both made in Vietnam it will be well made indeed.

  • Wolfgang

    I would buy one of these in a heatbeat if we could get them in the States!

  • Toan Phan

    You got it all wrong. The VC had Aks forever, they had millions and millions of ammos and magazines. That is why they want them in 7.62 x 39 and all these magazines will fit in the galil ACE rifles. Pure and simple, plus they save millions of $$$$$$$$.