TFB Review: American Tactical Imports Galeo Pistol (Galil SAR clone)

Daniel Y
by Daniel Y
TFB Review: American Tactical Imports Galeo Pistol (Galil SAR clone)

I recently reviewed my American Tactical Imports “Galeo” which is a clone of the original Galil, built from an imported parts kit. That gun has been so much fun that I bought the pistol version to go along with it. Does Galeo pistol keep up with its bigger brother? Let’s find out!

More Galil Articles @ TFB:

There are no terms that require disclosure for this review. ATI (not the same company that makes those SKS stocks) saw my last review but was not involved in this review in any way. I purchased this gun with my own money through retail channels. This gun was not cherry-picked, it came off of the shelf.


The original Galil AR featured an 18″ barrel and a folding stock. The ARM version added a carrying handle as well as a folding bipod that stowed in the handguard. As had happened with various military rifles throughout history, the success of a rifle almost always leads to the development of a carbine with a shorter barrel.

That pattern was true for the Galil as well. The SAR model shortened the barrel to 13″ and shortened the gas system. No bipod was used with this model. The other controls like the safety, magazine release, and charging handle remain the same between the SAR and the other models.

Galeo pistol as shipped, with Tapco magazine and buffer tube
Note the safety lever at top of the pistol grip

Galeo Pistol Details

An ATI employee left a comment on my last Galeo review and mentioned that the production run had ended for both pistol and rifle models because they had run out of parts kits. This spurred me to find a pistol version before they dried up.

A few versions of the Galeo pistol were made. Some had a blade-style arm brace, others had a simple tube with a foam cover, as would be seen on an AR-15 pistol in 2007. This particular gun included the stupid tube instead of an arm brace. I added a Magpul BSL brace to use during the review, but the thought of filing a Form 1 and putting an actual Galil stock on the resulting SBR had crossed my mind many times.

Some batches of SARs had lightening cuts or scope mounts cut into the receiver near the magazine well. Some did not. The Galeo omits these cuts, probably to keep prices down. Extra cuts mean extra machine time. I would have preferred the cuts because the Galil is never a lightweight rifle, but it is not that big of a deal.

The parts kits used in these Galeo builds have seen use. The original parts bear some bumps and scrapes from their previous life. This wear and tear is moderate though and does not have any negative effects on the gun, it really only adds some original flavor to the gun. The most noticeable damage to my gun was a small bend in the charging handle. This is a pretty common imperfection in Galil parts kits and it had no real impact on functionality.

Other than the character marks from the parts kit, the overall build quality appears similar to the full-size Galeo. The flip-up night sights were not included on this gun but were on my rifle. This is mostly an aesthetic difference because the tritium inserts are very dead at this point. The last item to note was the roll pin securing the brace adapter to the receiver was not flush. This took about five seconds to fix, so not a big deal at all.

Slight bend in the charging handle

Night sights are not included

The roll pin holding the brace attachment onto the receiver was not seated fully
There is a set screw on the underside of the brace attachment; make sure to loosen it before attempting to remove the buffer tube

On The Range

The Galeo pistol is an extremely fun gun to shoot. It has very good sights for an AK-style gun, and hitting targets out to a few hundred yards is easy. The 1:7 twist barrel will stabilize pretty much any common weight of .223/5.56 ammo.

Handling the Galeo is very easy. It is short enough to move well but has enough barrel to still be useful. The Galil SAR stayed in service longer than the AR or ARM because it was convenient for vehicle crews to carry. I found it to be a very handy gun as well, but I wish it had a folding arm brace. Some Galil pistol builds use the Bonesteel Arms brace to capture Galil vibes while maintaining a folding brace. I really wish that brace was included on the Galeo pistol and I have been tempted to buy one. But the thought of biting the bullet and filing a Form 1 keeps nagging at me as well.

As with all Galil-style guns, the Galeo has a left-side safety. This allows the operator to manipulate the safety without grabbing the large Kalashnikov-style lever on the right side of the receiver. The left-side safety is somewhat counterintuitive to operate. Pushing the safety forward puts the gun on safe. That manipulation is easier than pulling the safety back to put the gun on fire. I generally take the safety off using the right-side safety, and place it back on safe with the left-side.

Reloaders beware: this gun absolutely launches empty brass. If you can even find the brass it will usually have a very large dent in the side of the case. Definitely don’t use your Lapua brass in this gun.

Some users have had issues with certain magazines in their Galeo. These problems tended to happen with earlier guns. I tried the included Tapco magazine, an SADF polymer R4 magazine, a 50-round steel magazine, and a range of various 35-round steel surplus magazines. There were no issues with any of those magazines.

Be sure to snag some web gear that can accommodate Galil magazines, like this SADF Pattern 90 chest rig
Don't expect to find pristine brass, if you can even find it


I can see why the SAR was so popular in service; it is a short, handy, reliable gun with a barrel length that is a great balance of velocity and portability. Is the Galeo a fair representative of the SAR? I think so. It feeds from all magazines, works with pretty much any ammunition, and has no glaring mechanical flaws. If you are in the market for a Galil SAR clone, it will be hard to find one more affordable than this. These Galeo pistols are still available as of the time of writing, but those days are numbered. I recommend picking one up if you want an SAR in your collection without breaking the bank. Mine is a keeper. It deserves the $200 tax stamp for a real stock.

TFB Review: American Tactical Imports Galeo Pistol (Galil SAR clone)
Daniel Y
Daniel Y

AKA @fromtheguncounter on Instagram. Gun nerd, reloader, attorney, and mediocre hunter. Daniel can still be found on occasion behind the counter at a local gun store. When he is not shooting, he enjoys hiking, camping, and rappelling around Utah.

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2 of 3 comments
  • MediumSizeTex MediumSizeTex on Nov 19, 2022

    Stamp that bad boy; AR stocks and braces pretty much always look like trash on anything that isn't an AR.

  • XM1A2A XM1A2A on Nov 20, 2022

    The IWI Gen 1 Galil Ace pistol, in my experience, is the best way to gain a Galil Micro in Type 1 (non-NFA) status.

    You get all the old-world goodness such as the milled, steel receiver plus the modern conveniences of a truly solid, top-rail on the receiver cover, outstanding iron sights, and plenty of forearm “rail-estate” with rail covers included.

    You also get the best of the traditional Galil features such as the ambi-selector, plus “modern” enhancements such as the left-side charging handle. The Gen 1 pistols have 8.3” barrels that are hammer forged, and much more accurate and repeatably precise than just about any mid-year Galil or AK.

    The Gen 1, side-folding brace truly functions as a practical cuff-brace for handicapped shooters, and has the best ergonomics for shoulder-based conversions. It can be easily swapped out for a side-folding telescoping stock that looks and functions right for a Galil — not looking funky like an AR frankenmod — for those qualified and papered to go the SBR route.

    Note that a pistol registered as an SBR can later be “de-activated” from the NFRTR and converted back to a Type 1 pistol.

    The limited-edition, Gen 1, Galil Ace pistols in 5.45x39mm are outstanding. I modified several of them to accept the true, Soviet, Izhmash, quad-stack mags (not the Puff-Gun junk), and the KCI 5.45x39 “Beta Mag” knock-offs work extremely well and reliably with them. They also work great with the 45-round, Soviet, Molot, RPK-74 magazines — with zero wobble and rock-solid lock-up in the mag wells.

    All the mags — KCI drums, Izmash quad stock mags and Molot RPK-74 mags — have a vault-like fit in the mag wells, and the modular, Gen 1 grip+magwell frame can be tailored for a custom fit to the mags that is superior to just the open mag-well.

    Everyone who has handled and fired one of these mods has extolled how they handle and operate with SIG 553 quality.