Brazilian Army Approves Imbel IA2 As New Standard Issue Rifle

The Imbel IA2, a 5.56mm caliber distant relative of the FAL which has been in development since 2008, has officially been standardized by the Brazilian Army. From IHS Jane’s:

The Brazilian Army approved the IA2 5.56×45 mm assault rifle, developed by state-owned Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil (IMBEL), as the service’s new standard rifle.

The decision was approved on 27 August and officially announced on 4 September in the army’s bulletin. The rifle will now progressively replace IMBEL’s M964 FAL and M964A1 MD1 (also known as PARAFAL) 7.62×51 mm rifles.

The IA2 is a gas-operated compact weapon constructed mainly with polymers. It weighs 3.6 kg and is 850 mm long (including a 33 cm barrel) and has a conventional piston/multi-lug rotary bolt system, with semi-automatic and full-automatic modes and a 750 rounds-per-minute firing rate.

While the IA2 shares much of its architecture with the FAL, is it not a straight FAL derivative. Unlike the tilt-locking FAL, the IA2 utilizes the ubiquitous Stoner-Johnson rotary bolt common to the AR-15, AR-18, SCAR, and many other rifles. 5.56mm USGI magazine compatibility, new polymer handguards with heat shields, and an optics-ready Picatinny top cover round out the new rifle, which is accompanied by a 7.62mm variant. A somewhat exuberant video embedded below shows the IA2 in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm versions undergoing state tests:

We previously took a look at the IA2, including disassembly photos, last year.

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 [email protected]


  • Plumbiphilious

    Well, Brazil, how’s about some “sporting” export versions, eh?

    Wait, is the US even on good terms with Brazil? I know they’re sort of included in BRICs.

    • Anonymoose

      We’re on good enough terms to get Taurus stuff and PMC ammo. HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE

      • ostiariusalpha

        PMC is South Korean.

        • Anonymoose

          Is it? I thought it was made by CBC.

          • Kivaari

            PMC WAS Korean in the start. Winchester set up the plant for M193 ammo. In the early days we could buy PMC made like GI ammo, with asphalt sealant, crimped and sealed primers. It was great stuff. Like Wolf ammo, the “Russian stuff, in the minds of many is made all over the globe. Federal American Eagle, made in Israel, is good stuff.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Was & still is. They set up a plant in the U.S. back in the day, but it folded and they went back to Korea. The brand has variously been marketed as the Patton-Morgan Corporation, Pan Metal Corp., and now Precision Made Cartridges. But it has always and ever actually stood for Poongsan Metal Corporation, and that’s the name they pay their taxes under.

    • Kivaari

      It can’t be imported. It would have to be built here.

      • Plumbiphilious

        If they changed the furniture to “non-scary” cheap, polymer sporting stuff (which can be removed), no or pin/welded muzzle threads, and made versions with modified lowers that took proprietary sporting mags, it’d be fine for export.

        I was thinking that they could go the G36/SLR route and just make a magwell that can be milled out afterwards (maybe at the top of the magwell to “stop” normal mags, but otherwise leave enough room for a doublestack body) to accept STANAG mags after meeting 922r (somehow).
        That, or go the boring route and export them to the US as “pistols.”

        • Kivaari

          Maybe the politicians that wont vote for repeal of all those damn laws, should be repealed during next years elections.

    • Chris22lr

      IIRC Springfield Armory 1911s are IMBEL. So, is it a time for “XD rifle”?

  • Esh325

    It is interesting how they used the FAL as a base when most countries have went with newer designs. I imagine the reason was because it was less R&D to use an existing proven design. I’d like to try one out that’s for sure.

    • Anonymoose

      They’ve been so fixated on FAL production for decades that they cannot innovate a new design…

      • Kivaari

        Why ignore what works and is familiar to the crew?

    • Joshua

      The internals are very different though. The bolt is actually a AR pattern 8 lug bolt.

      • Esh325

        I know about the bolt being AR, but the gas system,trigger, and receiver is from the FAL

    • kyphe

      Which newer designs? the older more primitive AK designs or the AR15 designs? FAL what is stupid is that the FAL has not been used as a base for new guns much considering it is one of the best service rifles ever made.

      • M

        The FAL was a serviceable rifle, that much is clear, but it is far from being the best.

        • kyphe

          “One” of the best, it most certainly is. in terms of 7.62 NATO little else comes close to it.

    • Kivaari

      FNH-FNC seems popular in Europe.

  • tts

    So its chambered in 5.56 with a 13″ barrel and makes use of plastics but still manages to weight nearly 8lbs? What is going on there, its almost as heavy as a all steel FAL with a 21″ barrel chambered in 7.62!

    • Esh325

      That does seem quite hefty for 5.56 rifle of that barrel length.

    • That’s about what I’d expect for that kind of rifle. All steel receivers, thick aluminum railed top cover; look at a full-size all-steel FAL of similar configuration, they get over 10lbs quick.

      • tts

        yeeesh, I know the FAL is a very good gun I just didn’t know it got that heavy. Particularly in a modern iteration. You’d think they would try and make it lighter.

        • Reducing weight is trickier than it looks, and usually requires major architectural changes to the gun.

    • Yallan

      Personally think it’s a typo.

      • tts

        I was hoping that was it but I guess not.

    • nadnerbus

      First thing I thought too. There has to be a way to shave a pound or so off of that.

    • john

      That’s how much the CZ BREN 805 weighs as well. 14″ barrel. In that case it’s because of its hefty forged aluminum receiver

    • jgl

      First of all, the data in the article is just wrong (or maybe its the 7.62 carbine version, which uses a tilting bolt). The 5.56 IA2 weights 7.45lbs with a 13.7 inches long barrel.

      You should also notice that it has a gas piston; compared to gas piston ARs, the IA2 isnt heavy at all.

  • ostiariusalpha

    I’m actually kind of happy someone is pushing the FAL design forward, it still has a lot to offer. The old tilting bolt sort of necessitated steel receivers, but with a Johnson bolt they could shave a lot of weight if they went with aluminum and weren’t afraid of the Stoner gas system.

    • Kivaari

      It uses a piston.

      • ostiariusalpha

        I know, that was part of my point.

        • Kivaari

          It is interesting to see what “Ron” from the LV range said about pistons.

          • Blake

            What did he say?

            *EDIT* Oh you’re talking about the super torture tests their rifles went through right?

          • Kivaari

            It wasn’t so much a torture, as everyday use. From what I remember, piston guns fail.

          • Blake

            Well yeah, but everyday use on full auto and hundreds of thousands of rounds counts as torture too haha.

          • M

            I think he was referring to retrofitted AR piston guns.
            Remember that the AK is a piston gun.
            There’s also ol’ dirty, the FAL that went through 16k rounds without a cleaning

  • Lance

    More FAL kits to be imported now????

    • Kivaari

      Not anymore. ATF re-read the GCA ’68, and found out they could already ban all the critical parts. We could import the plastic stock furniture.

  • Isaac Newton

    The timing of the music with the gun shots seems childish, it seems like they just learned how to use video editing software and went bananas.

    • Vitor Roma

      It is in line with army ads on tv, really cheesy.

  • Kivaari

    It looks good. The video wont play, but last years photos are good.

  • TJbrena

    Having the 7.62 and 5.56 variants both designated as IA2 is a little confusing. A little google-fu says the 7.62 uses the FAL’s tilting breechblock (since it’s pretty much just a local update/variant) while the 5.56 uses a rotating bolt and may have been developed from the IMBEL MD series (which was itself a modification of the FAL whose earlier versions used the same tilting breechblock). No modularity or interchangability. You’d think that two guns developed from the same platform with similar appearances, designations and layouts would have some degree of compatibility.

    I wouldn’t even complain if they’d given this rifle a different designation than their FAL variant.

    • Kivaari

      I suspect it works better than the FNH-CAL.

  • BattleshipGrey

    What the heck happened after freezing? There was a frame cut there. While I’m on the topic of freezing, a simple google search revealed that even in the highlands in winter it only reaches 32ºF. -40ºF seemed a bit overkill, but if they got the time, oh well.

    • Yallan

      Just in case they need to invade Argentina or Chile.

      • Kivaari

        Or just as happens. Make a product to fit normal conditions and likely it will work at higher or lower temperatures.

  • gunsandrockets

    The design of the IA2 seems more similar to an AR-18 than an FAL. Though the IA2 weighs more and has a shorter barrel. Fairly underwhelming.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    Looks like an outdated design, borne more out of the desire to keep their national factory afloat than anything else.

    • Kivaari

      It seems to have been a smarter move than using the M1 tooling to make the M14. That didn’t work out well. This appears to being well. If we start hearing disaster stories about it, then just maybe it was a bad choice.

  • Wolfgar

    Another rifle internally designed by by a nation utilizing a hodgepodge of older designs. We need a Browning or Stoner to come along to freshen up the firearm world. Every century seems to have one firearm design genus and I’m waiting anxiously for the next one.

  • Ronaldo

    For the record, the 5.56x45mm IA2 assault rifle was officially adopted by the Brazilian Army back in 2013 as per official document “Portaria 211-EME” dated October 23, 2013 under the official designation “Fuzil de Assalto calibre 5,56mm
    IMBEL A2”. Deliveries have been taking place since 2014, and the semi-auto-only version has also been ordered by and is in service with a number of LE agencies, including the nationwide Força Nacional de Segurança Pública.

  • M T

    Love that guy’s tactical face missile launcher.

  • Michel Baikrich

    El nuevo rifle de IMBEL.. en realidad no es nada extraordinaria.. Solo una combinacion de principios mecanicos existentes.. Todo eso para disparar las mismas balas… Es decir ningun avance para detener al enemigo

    Simple comentario

    Ballistic & weapons Eng. (Liege-Belgium)