FN FAL (Full Auto): The Right Arm of the Free World

Alex C.
by Alex C.

The FN FAL is one of the most prolific firearms of the 20th Century. This Belgian big-shot fires the powerful 7.62×51 NATO round at 650 rounds per minute, and came to be known as “the right arm of the free world” during its tenure as the backbone of many nation’s militaries. Over 70 countries made use of this fantastic rifle, and it is certainly easy to see why.

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The full transcript follows ….

(gun clicks) (gun shots) – Whoa.

All right, guys, this is of course a fully automatic FN FAL.

FAL, standing for Fusil Automatique Leger, or light automatic rifle.

And that’s exactly what this is, a fairly light automatic rifle.

I can tell you on full auto, it’s a whole different beast than most other battle rifles I’ve shot.

But today, we’re gonna have a better look at this gun.

See what it can do accuracy wise and so on.

What’s cool about this one, is this is one of the earliest ones in the country.

Browning imported these from ’59 to ’63, and they’re actually all Belgian FN guns.

This one, of course, being a registered full auto.

So without me yammering on too much about it, I say we get to shooting.

– All right, guys, so I’ve owned (mumbling) in the past.

And, you know, they’re great guns, I love them a lot.

I’ve not had a chance to get behind a full auto one, though.

So, this is kind of a treat for me.

I’ve shot other guns, like the AR-10 and G3.

The G3’s pretty controllable, whereas the AR-10 is kind of a wild ride.

And I’m interested to see how this one stacks up to those.

So, let’s get after it.

All right.

(gun shots) That’s pretty awesome.

It’s a lot more controllable than I was expecting.

It does do kind of a strange, want to rise up to the right thing, whereas like the AR-10 pushes straight back, and the G3 just kind of rocks your whole world.

This one’s a little bit gentler than the G3, actually.

It just wants to go in a different direction.

I don’t know, pretty great.

(gun shots) – Not as controllable as a G3 to me.

But, definitely not the worst battle rifle in terms of control-ability.

– All right, so I want to talk a little bit about the controls of the FAL.

It’s got a side charging range right here.

The injection, of course, on this side.

And you’ve got a rotating selector lever.

It goes from safe to single shot, and then automatic.

The magazines rock in, a lot like an AK, or I guess like a FAL.

You’ve got a bolt release right here that you pull down, and that releases the bolt to go forward.

And then, your magazine release is this tiny little paddle on the side.

So, I’m gonna go ahead and take a couple of single shots, and then go to full auto.

And shoot our TFB TV down there.

(gun shots) Pretty controllable in single shot.

I like how fast it is to transition targets.

The handling characteristics are very nice.

It’s light, easy to go ahead and kind of swing to the target.

And now, they get beaten up a little bit.

(gun shots) The more I shoot this, the easier it is for me to control.

I do like it a lot.

I wish the hand guards weren’t metal, because as you can see, I’m wearing my patented matte V operator gloves to keep myself from getting burnt pretty badly.

But like I said, the more I shoot it, the more I really like it.

(gun shots) – All right, so now that we’ve shot the FAL on full auto a little bit, we’re gonna use the bipod.

Maybe the bipod would help if you were, you know, helping suppress enemy movement, or allowing your troops to move forward by pinning the enemy down.

I’m gonna see if it’s a little more practical with the bipod.

I imagine it will be, so let’s try it.

(gun clicks) (gun shots) You know, the target I have set up is probably at about 50 yards, and the sight picture still jumps around the target pretty well.

It’s about a 12-inch in diameter plate.

Realistically, it’s probably not that much better.

A little better, but realistically, a squad automatic weapon, this is not a replacement for one.

(gun shots) – Whoo! All right, so you’ve seen me (mumbling) for other things, like the AR-10 and some of the other machine guns that we’ve done.

Yeah, that’s hot.

So there’s metal hand guards, and they heat up pretty quick.

Anyhow, I’m gonna overlay the video of me doing the (mumbling) with the AR-10.

And that one was pretty bad.

This is softer shooting, but it’s harder to keep on target.

Like I said earlier, it wants to wander up into the right for some reason.

And it’s kind of strange.

It may be a muzzle device induced issue.

But man, was that fun.

– All right, guys, I’m at about 50 yards with the FN FAL.

I’m gonna shoot a couple five-shot groups, and see what I can get out of it.

Wish I could do 100 yards, but the 100 yard board is unfortunately out of service.

(gun clicks) (gun shots) Oh, that was big time.

All right, let’s go down range and check that out.

All right guys, so I’m reasonable impressed with the 50 yard accuracy test with Bargain Bate ammo.

This would have been about a two-inch group, except for I pulled it really hard, and I had a pretty decent flyer.

This group right here is about a two and a half inch group.

I’m not really happy with that.

I know I can improve if actually had a rest, and wasn’t using the bipod, and if the gun wasn’t really hot, a billion degrees.

But, this is decent.

What I’d like to do is actually, when we get our grizzly targets out here, do a better accuracy test, and ring some steel.

But, this is pretty good practical accuracy on the fly test here.

All right, guys, so we’ve had a lot of fun today with the FN FAL.

Neither of us had shot one full auto before today.

We both had some experience on them, mostly kit builds and stuff like that. – [Alex] Yeah, they were.

– [Patrick] Kit builds can be hit or miss with any gun.

I’ve owned some spotty ones.

But after getting my hands on this one, which is a very quality, actual all-factory Belgian gun, my opinion is raised greatly.

– Yeah, I think it built properly.

These are awesome guns, and I don’t think that enough people think about them these days.

– You know, in the 90s you could build one easily.

I remember going to gun shows as a kid and seeing bins and bins of parts, and guys picking the best mismatched part kits and whatnot.

But, those days are passed.

DSA still makes copies, there’s other companies that make them as well.

You know, if you’re looking for a 308 rifle, it’s easy to overlook these.

But, there’s no good reason to.

– No, there’s not.

Honestly, I think it might actually be softer shooting than your common AR-10s, and about on par with a G3.

– Oh yeah, I would probably say the G3 for me, maybe because I’m more experienced, it’s maybe a little bit more controllable.

But, the FAL and semi-auto I think is a better shooting experience.

However, that’s just one man’s opinion.

– No, I’ll agree with that.

– So guys, this was a ton of fun.

A full auto, it was something else.

It rises high on the right like a beast, which is pretty interesting.

– It’s different.

We’ve got a lot of experience shooting machine guns, and I haven’t run into the one that quite does that yet.

– No, not except for this one, guys.

But, I’d like to take this time to thank one of our sponsors, Ventura Munitions.

Without them, we wouldn’t be able to blast away like we do.

– Absolutely.

And I’d like to thank Grizzly Targets.

Without their support, these videos wouldn’t be possible.

– Absolutely, guys.

Anyways, this is Alex and Patrick with TFB TV.

We’d like to thank you for watching.

And if you liked what you saw, maybe hit the Subscribe, and or the Like button.

Thanks again, guys.

Alex C.
Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.

More by Alex C.

Join the conversation
2 of 37 comments
  • Jdp99 Jdp99 on Aug 10, 2015

    Why did you totally not mentioned a variable gas system that can be tuned to the ammo for a softer recoil or that it's piston driven? No way does a g3 has a lighter recoil unless you has the gas port basically all the way closed. Please show more characteristics of the weapons rather than just spraying bullets. Oh, you're going to banana peel that FH if keep it on there. G1 was a rifle but the worse FAL produced compared to it's other variants.

  • PatsChamps PatsChamps on Aug 10, 2015

    I think you have to admit you prefer a HK product over any other maker in a comparable firearm. That seems at least to be the trend in your videos. Also, why do you wear the same two shirts?