Rare FN CAL 5.56 Select Fire

Jerry Miculek is at it again with the unicorn guns. This time he gets to try out a FN CAL. It is designed like the FAL but is chambered in 5.56. The selector switch is very interesting. It of course has safe, semi and full auto but it also has a 3 round burst. And according to Reed Knight, the FN CAL has a sort of “clock escapement mechanism” that resets the 3 round burst. So if the shooter lets off after the first or second round in a 3 round burst, the gun will reset it self to fire another 3 round burst at the next trigger pull.


Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • If anyone has a CAL for sale in the USA, please email me.

    • Nicholas C

      Good luck with that one Alex haha.

      • Worth a shot!

        • john

          I saw one on Sturm about a year ago. It was $40,000.

  • 1leggeddog

    The major thing about this is the fire selector with 4 positions!

    Why isn’t this an option for more military firearms?

    Is it because it complicates the trigger group too much? I mean, giving the soldier more options is always good…

    • SP mclaughlin

      A lot of HK guns can have 4 position selectors, such as the UMP, MP5, and G36.

      • 1leggeddog

        Do they all come as a base model with that or is it like an extra?

        • Burst

          it’s typically specified at the time of contract adoption.

          DHS, for example, wanted 2 round burst and autofire.

    • iksnilol

      Complicated and doesn’t do anything that semi auto or full auto doesn’t do with some practice.

      Though HK is a fan of it and they work well.

    • There are factory Colt 4 position m16 type rifles. Also, most hk stuff at least has the option for burst and auto. Many modern guns come with it.

      • claymore

        For sure in the USMC in 1969 I was issued one.

    • scw

      3 round burst is no longer trendy as real life usage found that this is not as useful as originally envisioned.

  • Phil Hsueh

    There are a couple of glaring typos in this article, like “. . . ha a 3 round burst . . .” and “. . . n ta 3 round burst . . .”.

  • The name is Reed Knight, not Reed Wright.

    • Nicholas C

      Thanks. Fixed it. I misread his name.

  • KestrelBike

    haha Jerry is so fast. Is it me, or does the pistol grip have a pretty aggressive rear-sweep-angle?

    • Barry

      If you put a Jennings 9mm in Jerry’s hands, he’ll probably out shoot most people with their hk’s and Sigs. Oh and he used to do some acting under the stage name–Chuck Norris.

  • dp

    “It is designed like the FAL but is ….” – not quite so. This is not just scaled down FAL, but completely new product. First of all it’s of sheet metal construction (part of requisite machined parts) and it is conducted really neatly – I’d say on par with HK or even better (overall finesse for sure). Further – this gun DOES NOT operate with FAL type tilt breech but rotary 2-lug bolt. Again, this is, at least in my mind, one of the finest rifles ever made.

    • Kosme

      If it was such a good gun, why wasn’t it succesful?? Why did they desing the FNC, was it too expensive?

      • Jose B.Torres

        Hello. First comment and reply. You are correct; the FN CAL was very expensive to manufacture. But not was all a total lost. Experience in the development of this weapon and advice from the people who tested this weapon, in Africa; Asia and Latin America, drove FN to develop a a much simpler version; using the Kalashnikov gas system as its main mechanism; and using the M-16 magazine as it’s main feed unit. The result was the FNC rifle.

        The rifle is still in use in a number of countries, and it’s manufactured under license in Indonesia and Sweden. In those countries, a Product Improve Program was implemented to improve the performance and quality of the FNC. The result is the Ak-5 from Sweden, and the Pindad SS-1 and SS-2, from Indonesia.

        Today, elements of the FNC design are incorporated in the latest assault rifle ever made: the FN SCAR rifle, which is marketed in the U.S. (as a semi-auto sporting rifle) and worldwide ( as a selective fire assault rifle) by Fabrique Nationale, and FN-USA.

      • idahoguy101

        Timing is important. When the CAL and FNC rifles came out the militaries of the world were saturated with 7.62NATO and 7.62×39 rifles. Most armies weren’t in the market for new rifles.

  • Rich Kerr (Papa Gato)

    If only the DOD had accepted the FN CAL instead of the AR/M16 series we might of had a “few” less deaths in Viet Nam due to malfunctions. But then maybe FN didn’t submit the CAL for review and testing. We’ll never know what they were thinking in those days.

    • The U.S. Army tested the FN CAL on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1969; however, that was quite too late to prevent the problems that occurred in 1967.

    • Yellow Devil

      Never underestimate the U.S. military’s ability to screw up any new weapon system. Even M1 Garands and M14’s had some reliability and/or performance issues that had the luxury of time to iron out. The M16, for all intense purposes, did not.

    • Burst

      The SEALS did make use of the T223, essentially a HK33. It was well liked and had a standard capacity of 40 rounds.

      But a ‘foreign’ weapon in grunt hands was deemed unacceptable, so the AR-15 series marched on.

    • Rich Kerr (Papa Gato)

      The AR/M-16 series was initially a pretty good design, but McNamara wanted to cut costs and originally cut the spec for the chrome lined barrel and chamber. The original issue rifles also had chamber dimensions that were too tight for a combat rifle, that is the main reason a round would get “frozen” in the chamber if left for an extended period of time, I’ve had it happen to me. The other design flaw was the “gas impingement” system, it just dumped propellant gas and debris directly into the receiver and caused excessive heating of the bolt carrier. The SEAL’s currently have adopted the HK-416 which has a short stroke piston system, keeps the receiver clean, cool, and drains water much better for amphibious operations. It would have been interesting to see how the FN-CAL would have stacked up against the M-16. BTW: the Air Force originally adopted the AR-15 in 1964 for the SP’s , so the DOD had at least 3 years of “experience” with the rifle before 1967, just not in extended direct combat.

  • Ed

    Believe its a early FNC copy don’t care FAL was good but crappy for a 5.56mm weapon.

  • Fruitbat44

    Interesting article thanks for linking. I get impression that the CAL is one of those rifles, like the AR-18, which just never caught on.

  • Patrick Linares

    The Fn Cal movie gun that “Al” Pacino used in the movie Heat shoot at Robert De Niro in bank bank robbery seen movie. Robert DeNiro use m4 shoot back at Al Pacino in movie heat.

    • John Sjöström

      Nope, FN FNC with cut down barrel

    • JMLipoff

      John Sjostrom is right. Also, DeNiro had a Colt 733, not an M4. The M4 was only a year old when that film was made.

  • Peter MadOnionSix

    The CAL was introduced in 1966.
    After tests they concluded that the rifle was too difficult to maintain, disassemble and too costly to manufacture.
    The project was abandoned and they started working on the FNC wich was a completely new rifle.
    And Jerry : this rifle belongs to Belgium, give it back !
    PM me for details on how to give it to me 😉

  • Is my understanding that the only major purchase of the FN CAL was by the Royal Thai Police with unconfirmed numbers sold to Gabon, Lebanon, and Morocco. In the mid-1970s, the French military promised to adopt the FN CAL as quid pro quo for the Belgians voting for NATO adoption of the Dassault Mirage F1. Fabrique Nationale was slated to be the prime contractor for the engine of the jet NATO selected to replace the F-104 Starfighter. Belgian diplomats attempted to play the same game with the United States by implying that their selection of the F-16 was dependent upon the US Army’s adoption of the FN MAG.