IWI Now Shipping 5.56mm Galil ACE Rifles | SHOT 17

During SHOT Show 2017 Industry Day at the Range, I dropped by the IWI USA booth to see what they had for attendees to shoot. Besides their highly competitive Galil ACE 308, they had also brought the 5.56mm variant of the ACE, which is just now making it into the country. I got a chance to fire these two rifles side by side to compare them. Sadly, IWI’s reps tactically operate their booths with touchscreen-baffling gloves on, and since I ride solo at shows like this that meant I got no photos of me actually shooting the rifles. Oh well, we’ll have to make do with some glamor shots.

The 5.56mm vaiant is distinguished by the round bolt hold open nub above the magazine release, and the lightening cut on the receiver.

The Galil 308 and 5.56 are remarkably similar guns, their only mechanical difference being the presence of a bolt catch on the smallbore variant (the reason for the absence of a last round hold open on the 308 remains a mystery to me). In weight, size, and handling, the two rifles are very nearly identical; the 308 variant is on the lighter side for its caliber, while the 5.56 variant is somewhat porky for a mousegun. Recoil for both weapons felt indistinguishable, too, primarily because IWI puts very healthy two-chamber brake on the .30 cal variant. Neither rifle was punishing to shoot, but the bolt group picks up a pretty good head of steam, meaning the guns tend to buck a little more than their AR-derived counterparts in the same calibers.

MSRP on the 5.56mm version is supposed to be $1899, almost identical to the other two rifles in the family. Like them, it seems to be retailing at around $1700.

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 nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Bob the Buildtard

    Anybody else notice there’s two pins holding in then rear plate now instead of one that was on the previous models? Why? Is that actually new or has it been there?

    • probably because of that recall thing because of the possibility of an ak auto sear

      • Kenneth Keith

        Bob the Buildtard is talking about the rear plate for the buttstock. Earlier models have a single roll pin attaching it to the receiver, unlike the two pins pictured here.

  • Frank

    The 308 uses SR-25 pattern magazines but doesn’t have a bolt catch, so I take it that it locks back on an empty mag but then falls when you release it?

    • James

      I usually does not lock back when empty, sometimes it does.

      Hopefully, IWI will update the 308s to have a bolt catch.

      • Minuteman

        I agree that might improve the rifle. Although it just depends on what school you believe in. Charging handle or bolt catch. And the ACE was designed with simplicity in mind. Adding more features doesn’t make it more accurate though, because the series doesn’t really shine in that department. The SCAR is hands down superior accuracy wise. The ACE is a whole lot of fun and a lively rifle to shoot, and already a cult item though. The SCAR has no soul, no historical significance to it, where as the ACE traces its ancestry back to the Grandfather Galil and has lots of secondary cool factor thereof. Both are GTW guns, you can’t go wrong with either one of them. I just think that the SCAR is overpriced for what it is and the Galil ACE 308 holds a more reasonable price tag. Also, getting parts from IWI is easier than getting them from FN. Food for thought…

  • Ax

    Perhaps the .308 takes up too much of the receiver length-wise. I don’t know, maybe.

  • Minuteman

    Please take my money.

  • HSR47

    So when are the factory Galil Ace SBRs coming out?

  • leonidas

    I don’t thrust these Galils because their upper covers will loose in time definetly and there occur zeroing problem.

    • Minuteman

      In othwer words you dun’t have faith in any AK variant for that matter? Then stick to AR’s, SCAR’s, 805 Bren etc. The M10X might be to your liking as well.

      • int19h

        Most other AK variants don’t place sights/rails on the dust cover. It is definitely a valid point to be skeptical about. But then, Galil has a good track record in that regard.

        • Minuteman

          Then you need not worry, don’t you? 😉

          • int19h

            I don’t worry at all – in fact, I want this thing badly – but I’m not the guy who was complaining above.

          • Minuteman


    • Wolfgar

      I have a full auto Galil ARM I purchased new in the early 80’s and the upper receiver cover is just as tight and holds zero just as good as when I first purchased it, so you can put that concern into the dust bind.

      • Minuteman

        That doesn’t that surprise me at all.

      • SP mclaughlin

        Thing is that’s from the 80’s when things were built to last. Slo-mo videos show a lot of shifting and flexing around on Galil ACEs.

        • Wolfgar

          I beg to differ, the S&W revolvers would ship with shavings still in them and a Colt Gold Cup I ordered needed to be sent back twice so it would function. There was a reason gunsmiths were back ordered on their services. The AR market was Colt and SGW, with Colt parts taking months not weeks after ordering. The quality and choice today is unbelievable compared to the 80’s. Full autos is another story.

      • Thomas Weißhuhn

        I guess they would sell well if relaunched today, i would buy one if i could do so in germany, ohh yeah that and an AR18^^

  • Jerry

    Won’t buy until they make the handguard longer and engineer a better rail for optic mounting. These guns will not hold zero with optics, but are fine for iron sight use. The price is also very outlandish considering these were made to replace worn out AKs in foreign militaries.

    • Minuteman

      Funny how IWI is actually missing out or ignoring the whole keymod concept which is actually nowadays industry standard. They are on the more conservative side of the business and at least 15 years behind in that regard. Nevertheless I like the ACE platform alot.

      Robinson Armament might as well seize all operations effective as of now. Buying a Galil ACE or a CZ Bren for that matter over an XCR is a no brainer. Ditto on Remington/Bushmaster ACR. Aint nobody gonna buy that lemon no more. They might as well just discontinue it now that far better offerings are here.

      I don’t see any vendor that is able to compete with a similar rifle. Maybe Beretta with the ARX, which in my book is an inferior rifle though compared to the ACE and Bren, but some folks still might prefer a polymer chassis. I can imagine if you happen to live in a colder area and don’t like an alloy gun sucking the warmth out of your hands in the middle of the night. I’m not a fan of polymer guns myself but I guess they sure have merit.

  • int19h

    I think this is the end of the line as far as 5.56 AKs are concerned. I mean, how do you one-up that?