Gun Review: Century Arms G1 (FN FAL)

Phil White
by Phil White

NOTE: This product review was made possible by To get up-to-date information on where to find Century rifles for sale, please visit

The Century Arms G-1 is a copy of the Fn-Fal that uses surplus parts from metric versions as well as American made parts to comply with US gun laws. Century makes two types of the G-1. The only difference between the two is the buttstock. This particular example has the M-249 type stock. The stock is heavier than the standard and has a foldup wire shoulder support. This wire support was not used in this review.

After WWII the major powers all began the search for updated infantry weapons. Dieudonné Joseph Saive was the primary designer for FN. That name may strike a chord with readers since he worked with John Browning on the Browning Hi-Power design and completed it after Brownings death.

Saive team first designed the FN-49 in 1947. When work began on the Fal much of the action was taken from the 49. Strangely enough the decision for the caliber was a point of contention between the potential customers. FN wanted to use, of all things, the 7.92X33 Kurzt the Nazi’s used in the STG 44 assault rifle! The British wanted their new .280 cartridge while the US wanted the new 7.62×51. When all was said and done NATO standardized on the 7.62×51 cartridge.

The T-48 used in competition against the M-14

Another hurdle was which countries would adopt this main battle rifle. The most heated competition was in the US where the Fal was pitted against the T-44 that was later officially named the M-14. Of course we all know what happened the M-14 won and was adopted by the United States military. After the Korean War they adopted the M-14 as did various other countries. By a wide margin the Fal won out with 90 nations adopting it for military service. Even into the 21st century smaller nations still use the Fal. In fact if you keep track of world events you’ll see Libyan rebels using the Fal as the primary weapon in the fight against Khadafi.

The Fn-Fal was so widely used by western nations it was called “The right arm of the free world”.

Now some may be wondering why the British named their version the L1A1 while others used Fn-Fal. The answer is pretty simple the British used the inch system of measure while European countries used metric measurement. There really is very little difference between the two rifles. One important fact to note is the inch version can use metric magazines as well while the metric rifle can only use metric magazines. I would discourage using metric mags in a British model since they tend to be rather loose fitting.

The Century G-1 model is a metric version. All of the controls and internals operate in the same manner as the inch models. The gas system can be regulated by rotating the ring, that is located just behind the front sight. This is a handy arrangement. When other rifles are very dirty or become fouled with sand, mud etc. they have to be cleaned to stay in the fight. With the G-1 you simply adjust the gas system to allow higher gas pressure in the system that allows it to continue working in adverse conditions. With the gas system off rifle grenades can be used. The standard gas setting is set on the number three. The adjustment ring goes from 1 through 9.

The front sight is adjustable for elevation only. Once set it needs no further adjustment. The rear sight is adjustable for Windage and elevation. When sighting in the rifle the first time the rear sight should be set at 200 meters. The front post is then adjusted until zero is achieved at 100 meters. The rear sight slides on a ramp with markings to indicate 100/200 through 600 meters. A small spring loaded plug in depressed allowing the shooter to move the rear sight forward and to the rear. To adjust Windage the rear sight moves on a track. There is one screw on the left and one on the right. The user loosens one screw and tightens the one on the opposite side to make windage adjustments.

The left side windage screw is just under the spring plunger in this picture.

This Century model featured in these pictures is the metric with an M-249 buttstock. In the above picture shown just under the windage adjustment is the takedown lever. When the user pulls it back the rifle breaks open. Remove the receiver cover by sliding it to the rear. The bolt assembly can then be pulled straight back and out of the receiver. Then clean the bolt and carrier as usual. This also gives access to the barrel for cleaning.

One thing Century did was to attach an American made flash suppressor rather than the original long suppressor. This is much more effective at reducing recoil and flash. The thumb safety is standard for most military rifles these days. It’s located on the left side just under the shooters left thumb. Up is safe down is fire.

Country of originBelgium
Weight11 lbs (with laoded 20 round magazine), 9.5 lbs (without magazine)
Actiontilting breechlock/regulated gas system
Twist4 groove, RH, 1:12″
Cyclic rate650 rpm (full auto, military FN FAL)
Muzzle velocity(21″ FAL with SS 77 rounds): 2754 fps

The Century G-1 has a carry handle above the ejection port as well as a steel bi-pod which is standard on the heavy barrel versions. The bi-pod also rotates to the left and right allowing adjustment on uneven surfaces.

Range Time

When I received this test rifle from Century I disassembled it, cleaned and lubricated it. The surplus parts which are mainly the internals showed little wear. I reassembled the rifle and headed for the range 🙂

I set my targets up at 100 yards and sighted the rifle in. I laid out my shooting mat and got down to business. My ammunition was 147 grain FMJ Winchester white box.

The Fn-Fal is known for average accuracy. The research I did showed an average of three to four inches with iron sights at 100 yards. I fired several groups of five rounds then measured. The average group size after 80 rounds was 3.5 inches showing this example to be right with the established groups. This is certainly good enough for a main battle rifle. There were no failures or malfunctions of any kind. This example was pleasant to shoot with only moderate recoil thanks to the gas system and the standard number three setting on the gas regulator. Brass was ejected approximately four yards directly right. When I retrieved the brass there was a dent halfway back on the case. This would keep me from attempting to reload these used cases. This is nothing unusual in a military rifle. The H&K family of rifles does the same thing.


I’ve owned an inch version of the L1A1 British rifle and always enjoyed it. This metric Century model was no different. The rifle was 100% reliable, reasonably accurate, the internal parts were not overly worn insuring many years of life left in the rifle. The fit and finish was very good with no defects noted.

In all likelihood I would change the stock back to the standard version even though this model was comfortable to shoot. I’m a bit of a traditionalist I guess 🙂 I do like the bi-pod. When folded it fit snuggly against the metal heatshield and in no way interfered with a good forward grip. Magazines are very reasonable in price. Century includes two twenty round mags with each rifle. These mags appeared to be new surplus.

With the reasonable price of approximately $600 and performance of this rifle I would have no problem recommending the Century G-1 to the military rifle enthusiast or casual shooter.

Phil White
Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I'm retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.

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  • Bmrtoyo Bmrtoyo on Dec 15, 2013

    i had one of those centurys , that was the biggest piece of junk ive ever seen , do not waste your time!! , the old laugh is ,oh thats on of those pos 's built by the "century monkeys"

  • Better late then never I guess but I have owned a Century FAL for approximately ten years. Much the same as the one pictured here on this site. Mine came with a 26 inch barrel which I promptly cut down to 18 inches, recrowned and then welded on a DSA flash hider. I used the set screw holes for the welding and then filed and sanded and painted. I wanted a more jungle carbine look and I definitely got it. I then installed a folding cocking handle (it took some modification to the receiver to work properly) and 'voila'. My version of a FAL jungle carbine. In all the years I've owned it never once has it failed to fire, it's deadly accurate and a pleasure to shoot. It has become my favorite military style rifle. And being a former Marine that was raised by a career Marine collector/shooter I have owned and fired almost every military rifle ever made. I get all angles when it comes to my FAL. Right from it's the most awesome rifle I've ever seen to it's the biggest piece of crap I've ever seen. Let me put it this way. If and when the shit hits the fan my other rifles will be handed out to those that follow me. The FAL is my duty rifle. So much so that I have over the years bought 4 parts kits for spare parts. None of which I have ever had to use, not even the tiniest spring. I've even thought of buying 4 American made receivers and building 4 more rifles from the kits. But, that would be redundant. I can only carry one rifle in a combat situation. And that rifle will be my Century FN FAL.