Uziel Gal Rifle

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The Galil rifle has become famous as the rugged but heavy Israeli Kalashnikov (by way of Finland). Less well known is the Galil’s competitor designed by Uziel Gal, who lent his name to the famous Uzi submachinegun he also designed. The Gal rifle was a clean-sheet design, similar to the Kalashnikov in that it shamelessly borrowed what its designer thought were the best parts of existing designs. Mechanically, it is a 5.56mm or 7.62mm, five-lug rotary bolt locked, cutoff expanding gas operated rifle with a sheet steel upper receiver and a quick-detach barrel with an AR-15 style extension. It feeds from 30 round detachable box magazines of its own pattern. The gas system is taken almost directly from the M14 rifle (early pistons were in fact modified M14 pistons), and the five-lug bolt features a novel anti pre-engagement mechanism, reducing friction during feeding.

Beyond this, the Gal rifle has a few interesting features. One is the chamfered bolt lugs, apparently intended to provide extra room for dirt and grime. Another is the triangular connecting rod cross-section, which provided the best resistance to deformation during striking. A detailed field strip, explanation of function, and even some prototype parts that were scrapped during the rifle’s development is available for viewing in GunsGearNGrub’s videos below:

GunsGearNGrub reckons the Gal rifle would have been superior to the Galil that was eventually adopted for service. It’s difficult to tell whether that would have been true, but the rifle certainly had a lot of potential, and some of its design elements were apparently re-integrated into the IWI Tavor’s 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 can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • ComeAndTakeIt

    It’s such a shame this rifle never made it into full production. I would have loved to seen it come to the commercial market.

  • roguetechie

    That is a beautiful rifle, and it makes me feel better knowing that much of what I’m prioritizing in my own design I’m working on slowly but surely was also a priority to a guy like uziel Gal.

    • I like the Gal rifle a lot, and I agree that I found myself nodding along as he went over the elements and priorities of the design. My biggest concern with the rifle’s design is that it looks heavier than necessary, but surely it is lighter than the Galil!

      • It’s not substantially lighter than the Galil. 9.1lbs with bipod and carry handle.

      • John Daniels

        A modern version made with machined aluminum instead of steel stampings, and polymer or aluminum furniture instead of wood, would probably make this a more viable design.

        That said, I have serious doubts about the utility of a quick change barrel system that will require rezeroing the rifle every time the barrel is changed.

  • I’m so confused. Who the heck handed this guy one of the GAL prototypes to just screw around with? Or is this some kind of reproduction? It doesn’t look like a 50 year old gun.

    ETA: Silver Shadow lanyard may provide some clues, I suppose.

    • He mentions in the video that he works with one of the guys who used to work under Uziel Gal.

      The spare parts from the rifle’s development sorta just fell in his lap.

      • I dunno, I guess I would have expected the Israeli government to hold on to a vital piece of their assault rifle development history… guess not. Still amazed at the condition of the wood and metal.

        • I think the prototypes are owned by IWI, not the state, but I’m not sure.

          • IWI is just the privatized IMI Magen factory. The state could have held on to them… I believe several are in museums.

          • Right, but I think IWI got a hold of at least some of them.