FAL Paratrooper 50.63

This rifle sold for $7,475 at Rock Island on November 30, 2018.

FN introduced the paratrooper folding-stock version of the FAL rifle in the early 1960s, and it became a very popular addition to their rifle line. Since the recoil spring on the standard pattern FAL runs down the length of the buttstock, fitting a side folding stock required a redesign to the internal parts, moving the recoil spring in front go the bolt, inside the top cover. For this reason, standard and paratrooper lower receivers, top covers, springs, and bolt carriers are not interchangeable. In addition to those changes, FN developed the folding charging handle for these rifles and shortened their barrels to approximately 17 3/8 inches. The standard muzzle brake was used, and the standard handguards and folding bipod also fitted. The rear sight was fixed, with just a single 250m aperture.
A batch of 1,375 of semiauto Para FAL rifles was imported into the US before the various bans on military style rifles were instituted, and this is one of them – an all-original FN made Para!

58 Comments

  1. Once you’ve done all that to an FAL, the result is pretty much an AR-18, design-wise, other than the actual position of the recoil spring, which is closer to the H&K concept.

    Maybe the British Army should have started with the Para as the basis for the SA 80 project. It might actually have worked the first time around, that way.

    cheers

    eon

    • I tend to agree with you in first paragraph except the AR18 is far more rationalized (and lightened up); lot less machining. I am not sure if sheet metal receiver of AR18 (unless substantially beefed up) would handle 7.62 round. You can say the G3 held well, but as you know there is different type of lockup.

      BTW, did you see any “grown up” version of AR18 for this caliber?

      • The AR-18 was a scaled-down copy of Stoner’s AR-16 in 7.62 x 51, his last design for Armalite Division of Fairchild Industries;

        http://guns.wikia.com/wiki/ArmaLite_AR-16

        The AR-16 never got past prototype stage because of the adoption of the AR-15 as the M-16 by the U.S. Department of Defense. The AR-16 was intended to be a less expensive to make and more reliable replacement for the M-14.

        cheers

        eon

    • Wha… Seriously? “…pretty much an AR-18;…”?!?!?

      About the only thing the AR-18 and FAL (of any variety…) share are that they are both examples of modern rifles. Gas systems are dissimilar, the AR-18 is a Stoner rotating bolt while the FAL is a tilting bolt lock, the AR-18 carrier rides on guide rods where the FAL is on finely-machined receiver rails… And on and on…

      That statement is insane on the face of it. The two rifles are as different as it is possible to be, and still be considered in the same (very…) general class.

      • I was referring to the fact that to put a folding stock on the FAL, they had to relocate the recoil spring. Add in the gas operation, and disregarding the difference in bolt locking, you end up with a rifle that is functionally and tactically equivalent to the AR-18 albeit with internal differences.

        I apologize if I was unclear on that.

        😉

        cheers

        eon

        • Uhm… No. Not even that. I have owned and fired both weapons, and the Para FAL is still what it fundamentally is: An over-sized and entirely impractical attempt at producing an assault rifle-class weapon. If anything, the folding stock makes it even less practical. The AR-18 is, on the other hand, a fully-realized and eminently practical assault rifle, one that can actually be fired effectively on full-auto, even with the stock folded. Do that with a Para FAL, even on semi-automatic, and that’s an error in judgment you won’t repeat.

          • @Daweo,

            Oh, I don’t blame FN, at all. The idiocy that is the FN FAL, the G3, and the M14 I lay entirely at the door of the US Army and the inimical influence of the varied idjits working in Ordnance at about the time we were adopting the M14. We’d have been much better off, had we adopted the FN design in .280 British, and probably would still have that on general issue. But, it was not to be…

            Lost opportunities, and yet another failure on the part of the US military to comprehend the reality of combat. Still going on, to this very day–Look at the sundry idiocies they’re trying to implement with this latest set of notional ideas–All while they still can’t coherently define what the hell it is our troops are actually doing with their weapons in combat now, nor can they articulate what the hell they want to do with them in the future, that would justify new and different weapons…

            The sheer blindness of these people leaves me in awe at their essential obtusity, to coin a word. You want an example of a weapon designed in accordance with the tactical intent, look to the StG57: The Swiss knew what they wanted to do tactically, and designed an individual weapon perfectly suited to delivery of that effect. Now, go look for anything similar in any of our other Western nations, and you’re going to be disappointed.

            Much though I love the FAL, I have got to admit that it’s not an ideal individual weapon. Too heavy a caliber, too hard to control, too heavy. In .280 British, it would have been a much different creature, and probably a world-beater. As is, though? Too damn much, in all aspects.

            One does wonder, though, where we would be had the .280 British been adopted. Would the Stoner weapons even exist? Stoner loved the 7.62, being a Marine of the gravel-belly persuasion–I don’t think he ever really became a true believer in the intermediate cartridge concept, so might we have seen the AR-10 in a far less practical .30-06 guise?

          • At the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, there is one of the .280 FAL prototypes on display (shamefully without much info as to what it is other than that it is an example of an assault rifle).

            I have always maintained that if the British .280, or a variant of it were adopted out of the trials, we would still be using it today.

            Imagine an FAL a couple of pounds lighter, and usable on full auto. Imagine a MAG (M240) that also weighed several pounds less, and how much more useful it would be in the light (squad/section) role.

            The British originally planned on using the EM-2 for all purposes at the squad/section level. Everyone got an EM-2, if you were doing CQB, everyone had a compact automatic weapon. Need an LMG/Auto rifle? Install the bipod (and designate as many members of the squad as the situation demanded). Need a Grenadier? Instruct the required number of soldiers to mount the grenade launcher. If the regular rifle with the bipod was not quite good enough for the role, they would make a longer, heavier barreled varied (SA-80 LSW style). It was not a Bren gun, and you coul not sustain fire for very long, but since everyone had a self loading AND automatic rifle, the idea was to develop massive firepower for long enough to complete the assault and consolidation. The availability of rapid semiauto or even full auto fire form the rest of the squad would compensate for the lack of sustained fire ability.

            Up here in Canada, we tried to do this with the C2 Automatic Rifle (FALO),as did Australia, but we had issues with it. It never achieved the theoretical group dispersion it was supposed to, and kicked too much. the Australians got rid of theirs, or relegated them to reserve service, but we soldiered on until the adoption of 5.56mm weapons systems. If they had been in the original calibre, I suspect the concept would have worked better.

            I am very interested to see how the USMC makes out with their automatic rifle concept. Everyone loves the idea of a rifle/auto rifle at the squad level, and almost everyone tries it (USSR AKM/RPK, Britain L85/LSW, Canada C1/C2), but everyone seems to abandon it for a belt-fed SAW, or more often, a 7.62mm GPMG in the light role. I wonder if the calibre is the key, and a proper intermediate (6-7mm)would make it work.

          • “Look at the sundry idiocies they’re trying to implement with this latest set of notional ideas–All while they still can’t coherently define what the hell it is our troops are actually doing with their weapons in combat now, nor can they articulate what the hell they want to do with them in the future, that would justify new and different weapons”
            Wait, to keep clear: this is pun intended against sub-machi… err.. Sub Compact Weapon which is described here:
            https://taskandpurpose.com/army-new-submachine-gun/
            or something different?
            This requirements chart is quite mind boggling for me – why they limits maximal barrel length if overall length is already limited?
            Also I do not understand point of requesting precisely telescopically collapsible buttstock, rather than any folding stocking allowing firing both in opened and closed position?
            While “must fire 9×19 NATO cartridge” is clear and logical, must be able to fire marking/training round is quite vague for me: does this mean one pointed such cartridge or mean manufacturer should be able to deliver marking-training round for usage in his product?

          • Hi Daweo,

            I suspect that the meme of “never blame on conspiracy, that which can be explained by cockup”

            Lets both the establishment and its beaurotwats off the hook too easily

            We can explain it by stupidity, rather than cupidity

            I suspect that someone had a gun in mind (and a promise of rewards for a successful outcome), when those specs were published.

            The lesson of the last few weeks (100 years since 11am 11/11/1918) seems to be

            It doesn’t matter how stupid the cause of the war, or how stupid the conduct of the war

            Kill lots of people and cripple an entire civilisation, and it is still glorious 100 years on

            So, to a bureautwat, why not make some money for yourself by tailoring the requirements to match a friendly manufacturers gun?

            If it gets lots of people killed (after the politicians, banksters and diplomats have got a stupid war [redundancy is intended] started in the first place), it will only add to the reverence that is attributed to that war.

            One message that was totally lacking from the get together of personal friend of the Clintons and fat arsed casino owner; Trump, former Rothschild banker; Macron, long time personal friend of Kissinger and supporter of the imf; Putin, importer of a new (moslem) electorate; Merkel, and odd one out; May…

            Absolutely no one mentioned “war to end all wars, this must never happen again”

            No one mentioned the stupidity or the futility of that slaughter

            Absolutely amazing

          • @Kirk,

            At least the PARA FAL has a straight comb. The regular fixed stock FAL has quite a bit of drop, which when you fire a lot of rounds in one session, tends to clout you on the cheek.

            Up here in Canada, we used to call the discomfort of long firing “Hamburger face”. I am particularly susceptible for some reason. We had three different butt lengths to better fit the user, which helped some.

            This is in my opinion, the ONLY advantage of the M-14. The straight comb makes it far more comfortable to fire a lot of rounds through.

            I have an Israeli FAL with the old style butstock, but alas, Canadian law will not allow me to take it to the range to find out if the old style straight comb butt-stock is more comfortable, since I acquired it after the law changed.

            I recall an article in the ’80’s in a gun magazine about someone re-barreling an FAL into .243 Winchester, which is basically a 6.something 100 grain bullet in a necked down .308 case, so the magazine would work without modification, and the adjustable gas system would probably mean no real modification required either. I would love to try one of those out.

    • Correct. Also, my first impression of drive spring contained in top cover reminds me of vz.52. This is not to say FN copied the idea, but similarity is obvious.

        • At first, FN was most indignant that the ABC Rifle steering committee was making changes that removed a lot of the interchangeability between “inch” and “metric” FALs, but had to accept it in the end.

          Interestingly, since there was joint development and info moving back and forth, FN had drawings for the Commonwealth components, and this is why the folding cocking handle was available as an option on the PARA FAL. (Some users ordered them with the regular cocking handle, and some PARA models still had either the carrying handle, or the cut for one). This was also not the only “inch” pattern feature available. You could also get the British “sand cut” bolt carrier as an option.

          Incidentally, There were two variations of rear sight available, the fixed rear sight on the featured rifle, and a two position flip sight. South Africa ordered their PARA FALs with the standard FAL 2-600m rear sight, and the Dutch ordered a bunch or regular fixed stock FALs with the fixed PARA rear. Basically, FN would make it however you wanted.

    • Paul of Canada. The EM-2 was never intended to be a tactical fire support weapon. It was purely a rifle.

      At the time the intention was to obtain a new SMG, the Madsen M1950 being the intention – thankfully it also was not adopted, whilst a superb stamped design its vertical magazine did not make it a viable infantry weapon. The EM-2 9mm SMG was a totally impractical idea, as was the beautifully made and attractive in appearance BSA9mm SMG.

      The rifle section was to have either the beautifully made BSA 7.62mm NATO bipod MG or the Bren clone like Enfield X11E2 7.62mm MG on a bipod with a butt – or with the butt removed and spade grips fitted and it placed on a complex tripod. With possibily the Danish Madsen/Seatter in 7.62 as the section weapon or mounted on a incredibly complex tripod for fire support. Wandering off into realms of fantasy the Swiss SIG Model 50 (7.62mm) was offered for both section and fire support – its bolt was in nine components.

      As a young soldier I had a very pleasant month spent at Hythe attached to the Small Arms School Corps Small Arms Development Wing at the beginning of 1963, for the testing of the L7A1 GPMG mounted on the brilliant L4A1 tripod with the C2 Sight from the L16A1 81mm Mortar, in the indirect fire role to replace the Vickers Gun. The idea of this had been from the truly superb WOI Master Gunner Ian Hogg, who was attached also to provide his artillery skills for the highly successful project, which was a tribute to the man’s technical ability and professional skill.

      During this period we were very fortunate to have a group of highly experience, professional and very bright warrant officers from the SASC on the project. With no bright lights in the Hythe area in those days, the small arms demonstration rooms which were the predecessor of the SASC Museum at the School of Infantry, provided much entertainment and intellectual stimulation.

      Much came out about the EM-2, with those professionals who were long service soldiers with a lot of combat experience and tremendous professional knowledge stating that the concept was bright, but the weapon was rubbish. Complex to strip down and reassemble, great for a engineering specialist but useless for a low level infantry conscript to strip and reassemble in a dark and wet night. And what was stressed was that unless the weapon was immaculately clean it did not work, rounds had to be perfectly inserted into the magazine, and no foreign object inside it, otherwise it would jam.

      Their considered opinion being that it would cost far to much money to have brought the EM-2 up to a standard where it was a effective infantry weapon, and the country did not have either the money nor the time to get it on line to fight the Soviet hordes, let alone in many of the minor conflicts then in progress. The FN as the L1A1 SLR was to them the perfect answer at the time, which was superior to the M14, the FALO or the tinny G3(?)

      The 7mm round they considered good, but, was totally immature in its development, whilst great on a bright sunny day, when it cold wet and miserable, so was the ammunition. And that it need a lot of work.

      You may have noticed that the MGs for the section and fire support roles were all in 7.62mm (for which my memory actually tells me meant in that period of time US ,30 caliber.

      There is much more Paul of Canada I could say, but, unfortunately work calls me. Yours, G/.

      • A quick PS. the great Joseph E.Smith updated W.H.B.Smith classic Small Arms of the World in its 1960 edition gave a good descriptionof the EM-2 fiasco.

      • Thanks for the reply, I’m not sure we actually disagree for the most part. As I said, everyone wanted the logistics and training advantages of a common assault rifle/automatic rifle at the section level. There is a section in the Blake Stevens books on the FAL dealing with the NATO standardization plans and the EM-2. In it there was a chapter which discussed the theoretical doctrine of the “new” concepts. One of these was that training conscripts in time of war in the limited time available was the rationale for going with a single weapon at the section level. As I recall it, the infantry section was to be armed with the EM-2 only, or if that proved to be not feasible, then a longer. heavier barreled version could be developed referred to as “the light automatic gun”.

        This is in fact what was done in the examples I sited (C1/C2, FAL/FALO, AKM/RPK, L-85/LSW). The remarks I made about installing a bipod and using it as an automatic rifle (like the BAR in US doctrine), are taken directly from an EM-1 manual reproduced in Thomas Dugleby’s book. I think Ian may have the same manual on this site as well. In the end, everyone who tried it, ended up going back to a belt fed support weapon at the section level, although, as I mentioned, the USMC seems to be trying it again.

        The associated GPMG you mentioned was to be adopted, and as an interim measure, BREN guns would be converted to the new caliber, but intended for use by the support company, or possibly one at platoon level, not at section level. The section was to have EM-2 only (at least according to the book. Actual doctrine and plans may have changed later, so I can’t really disagree with your remarks).

        The Madsen SMG was to be adopted for second line users, not for the infantry. According to Peter Laidler in his book on the Sterling, the Madsen would have been adopted (with a curved magazine) for drivers, etc, had the EM-2 stayed in service. When the FAL was adopted, the size, weight, and lack of utility in fully automatic mode meant that the infantry still required a SMG, and the better Sterling was adopted instead.

        I agree with you about the development of the 7mm round. They wanted, ideally, to have one round for all purposes, but knew that they probably would not be able to achieve it in practice. It would probably end up being too weak for use in the indirect fire MG role, or if optimized for that, would be too powerful for use as an assault rifle round.

        The Chinese are having similar issues trying to make their new round do everything. Their solution being to have different loadings for different purposes, which means you don’t get true interchangeability at the user level, but at least you get the same machinery, packaging, handling etc at the industrial level. Likely something similar would have happened with the .280/7mm, a colour coded tip, heavier MG loading and a lighter infantry weapon loading.

        The previous Japanese Type 64 service rifle was chambered for 7.62 NATO, but the Japanese used a lighter loading, but had a gas regulator with a setting for using full power NATO ammo, perhaps something similar might have worked for the .280/7mm.

        Cheers

      • “Madsen M1950 being the intention – thankfully it also was not adopted, whilst a superb stamped design its vertical magazine did not make it a viable infantry weapon.”
        I would not reject sub-machine gun only because magazine sticking downwards. History shows a lot of successful sub-machine guns with such arrangement, including infantry one, PPSh for example.

      • “whilst a superb stamped design its vertical magazine did not make it a viable infantry weapon.”

        Bren and other similar machine guns beg to differ.

  2. The SA 80 actually originated in the XL64/XL65 project in 4.85mm. I was a member of the Australian Army team that carried out the hot/dust, hot/humid trials of the project, at Woomera in South Australia, and Innisfail in Queensland. It was a superb well manufacture weapon with quality components, totally unlike the future SA 80.

    RAW Steve. The Last Enfield. SA-80 The Reluctant Rifle. Collector Grade Publications, Coburg, Ontario, Canada, 2003. gives the whole story.

    With three others I was subsequently involved with the Austrian AUG, which even though it was a distinct second to the M16A2, was adopted. This the F88 Austeyr, which is replaced by the new build EF88 (Enhanced F88) that the Australian Defence force raves about, but, which its special operations units have refused to adopt (using M4 clones), Steyr which is now integrated into SIG refused to have anything to do with it, while the NZ Chief of Army when asked why they were not adopting it stated that it was a piece of junk, before buying yet another M4 clone.

    The latest variant of the SA the A3 is reported to have very positive (if not rave) reviews as to its effectiveness.

    I find it extremely amusing that the German G36 that was touted as the far superior weapon and was to be purchased to replace the SA80 as the L85 A1/A2 in Iraq and AFGHAN, failed dramatically in German and other hands in both areas, and is now in the process of being replaced by a selection of M4 clones from H&K in German service, while other users have replaced it with a variety of M4 clones.

    • M4 clones in Germany? That would imply an AR-15 type pseudo-direct gas impingement, which I am pretty sure the Germans will not be adopting.

      It’s actually not a surprise that the G36 did not do as well as advertised. It was after all developed as a quick & dirty replacement for the canceled G11 & G41 combo. As to why the Germans didn’t just buy the G41 without the super-expensive G11, I don’t know.

      • Probably due to manufacturing issues, after all the expert roller-lock gnomes retired from HK. HK is notable for being the only company to ever manage serial production of roller-locked 5.56mm rifles. Everyone else that has tried it without HK technical support has experienced abysmal failure. In that cartridge, and without the anally-retentive attention to detail that HK brought to the whole thing, serial production in affordable quantities appears to be unobtainable. Santa Barbara tried, but the reject rate on parts was too high in their plant, and when they opened up tolerances…? Well, that’s the Modelo “L”.

      • Technically, the HK 416 in 5.56, is a sort-of M-16 clone, but with a gas-piston system instead of an AG42 type direct gas system;

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_HK416

        Since it has already been adopted as the new standard rifle of the Norwegian Army, and will replace the FAMAS in French service, it is the most likely replacement for the G36 in Bundesheer service.

        Incidentally, one reason for the G36 being “un-adopted” was that the American follow-on prototype, the XM-8, showed serious “heat management” issues, as in the plastic body warping and even melting around the barrel and bolt system in sustained fire. when the same problem showed up in the standard G36 in Bundesheer service, the legislature over there started asking uncomfortable questions, and learned that H&K had been aware of the problem but never mentioned it, on the grounds that the rifle’s burst control would prevent rapid heating by obviating too much sustained fire.

        Then they were sent to Afghanistan with Bundesheer special ops units. In “hot and high” conditions. And H&K found out that high ambient air temps could cause even burst-fire to heat up the G36 to the point that the “composite” material started acting like cheese on a fresh, hot pizza.

        Oops.

        The HK416 is mostly aluminum alloys like its parent the AR-15. I think that works out to “message sent and received” at H&K.

        cheers

        eon

        • “on the grounds that the rifle’s burst control would prevent rapid heating by obviating too much sustained fire.”
          So it looks somebody ignored Murphy’s law here.

          • “If there’s a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something, EXPECT AT LEAST ONE PERSON to do that something the WRONG WAY!”

        • I know the HK416 borrows a lot from the M16/M4, but I just don’t think you can call it an “M4 clone” without the direct gas system.

          By the way, “Bundesheer” is the armed forces of Austria (all branches). The army of the Federal Republic of Germany is called just “Heer” in German, although often with (Bundeswehr) in parenthesis to separate it from “Heer” (Wehrmacht) and earlier incarnations of the German army.

          • Sweden is gifting numbers of old AK-4s/G3s with upgrades like Aimpoint sights, etc. to the Estonian Defense League/militia, where the national government encourages members to hide them from ethnic Russians and Russians or presumed pro-Russians… An interesting variant of the old G3. Some are still in use, or in storage, for the Swedish Home Guard.

    • Please clarify. About twenty years ago I attended a small arms seminar on the F88 at ADFA. The principle speaker (unfortunately cannot remember his name) and heavily involved in the F88 project stated that the rifle was never given the official name of “AUSTEYR”.

      • The Austrians actually called it such (they never used the term F88) and it was taken up within the Defence community as being the common title, such as the Armalite for the M16. I would be interested to know who the member of the development team was, as twenty odd years ago, they were all long out of the service, as far as I know I the last in service (on the Specialist Reserve), and all the old and bold members are dead!

    • I was under the impression re .280/7x43mm and the EM-2 rifle that the infantry was to be entirely armed with it (Rifle No. 9), and that the replacement for the section Bren LMG was to be the TADEN, i.e. a belt-fed (like the Vickers) down-sized Bren gun. The issue was sheer expense, but then the British did spend a huge and very prodigious amount of money and resources lavishing the Bren gun, no? I mean it is not like the Sten-style BESAL ever came out.

      As for the Madsen SMG, again I may be wrong, but I thought the intent was to basically issue it like the M1 carbine concept in the WWII-era U.S. military? So transport, artillery, tank, cooks, communications, etc. etc. personnel would carry that as sort of a PDW?

      Britain was entirely reliant on industrial assistance from Canada and the United States in WWI and WWII… So Churchill killed the Labor government’s UK-centric No.9 EM-2 rifle. If the war didn’t go nuclear, then again the U.S. would supply considerable aid to the UK as a Nato ally. It was another admission that the U.S. had replaced the U.K. as the West’s hegemon, as was the hand-off of the Greek Civil War, the climb down from Suez in 1956, and much else besides. The Nato standard for the U.K. was about like the U.S. infantry had in WWII and Korea: A squad leader with an SMG (OK, 9mm instead of .45), the excellent Bren vs. the inferior BAR, the Vickers soldiered on until what? 1968? So too the Browning M1919. Several men armed with self-loading rifles (Garand clips are so rapidly replenished that I don’t necessarily think they are that inferior to a FAL’s box magazine–and France used a ten-round box magazine in their excellent post-WWII service rifle).

      The U.S. won WWII, essentially rested on its laurels insofar as what was needed was a box-magazine fed Garand rifle (M14), and then to get rid of the carbine and the SMG so everyone would have the same basic weapon… Enter the M16 and M60! Before that, however, it insisted that every Nato nation use either what U.S. infantry used… .30-06 was the de facto Nato standard, or 7.62x51mm. And then switched to 5.56mm, which Nato didn’t adopt until the 1980s!

  3. This certainly in a respectable rifle/ carbine, although a bit overburdened with a powerful round for its weight. It is worth of noting that early after ParaFAL as they call it was introduced, the IMBEL of Brazil was licensed to make them and I believe does so to this day. They were/are immensely popular there.

    It perhaps should be mentioned, that as much as FAL is a phenomenal rifle, the further development in form of CAL and namely FNC brought all the proves of FN Herstal to fruition.

    • In some jurisdictions, the FAL is banned by name; no FAL stamped on the rifle, by their logic, then it’s not banned. In a lot of places, the Para FAL Ian shows off would be perfectly legal, while one of the other variants of the same gun would not be.

      It’s what happen when the electorate selects ignoramuses to make law.

      • Notable disagreement there

        It doesn’t much matter who is elected, the problem is institutional, not individual.

        If you elect anyone to a position of power beyond cutting the ribbon at the church fete

        You will get idiocy inflicted on you, out of the barrel of a cops or soldiers gun.

    • Practical rate of fire is different because of somewhat harsher recoil, a much less forgiving buttstock (that metal beast on the Para hurts…), and a bunch of other factors. On full-auto, the Para almost certainly has a different set of characteristics than the classic standard FAL, but I can’t attest to that from having fired one on fully automatic.

      To be brutally honest, the sole virtue of the Para stems from its more compact size. Everything else considered, the standard FAL is a better weapon.

      • One war veteran once commented FAL is a good weapon for frontline conscript soldiers, I suppose he thought about kind of environment where you mostly defend the trenches, probably because of the 7.62 round range and that their mission was not to walk lugging the rifle all day at great distances.
        For, mobile, attacking units it was not the greatest choice

  4. I think that I stuffed up, separated by a similar but different language. In my society the usage of the term ‘clone’ in general language means of a similar appearance. Not as in Dolly The Sheep a facsimile replica, or other technical aspects.

    There are now currently extant throughout the world, many long arms of a military/quasi military nature originating from the genius of Eugene Stoner, and not just in the actual operating of the weapon.

    Having this month received the latest edition of Janes Weapons – Infantry (why the change from Janes Infantry Weapons?), shows a quite staggering number of weapons which in appearance are ‘Armalite’ “Clones”, let alone the usage of the various aspects of the operating system!

    The German military did intend to use the G36 outside of the North German plain environment (nor to sell it for export) when it developed in the 1980’s, the then Germany then having no intention of sending troops overseas or selling weapons of death to foreign nations. The weapons did not receive any form of comprehensive testing in ‘alien’ environments, interestingly the intention was that the mountain infantry battalion (for Norway) and the airborne battalion (for Turkey) in the NATO AMF – Allied Mobile force, were to retain the G3, due the perceived need for accurate distance shooting.

    So unlike what we did with the XL64/XL65, in testing them to virtual destruction in alien climates (and definitely we did not do with the F88 Austryr or its replacement EF88), which for the Germans in AFGHAN found the weapon in very hot/very high/humid conditions, and the talcum powder dust fail (and mainly replaced with G3’s).

    Watching this week on multi-cultural TV, the Al Jazeera world news had a segment on the German, British and Canadian’s with the UN in Mali. With the Germans using a variety of HK 416 variants(and a couple of 417), while a small number (some 12) were carrying HK433
    ( https://www.heckler-koch.com/en/products/military/assault-rifles/hk433/hk433/overview.html )
    and in their hands looked right (which the G36 never did), which in the old adage if it looks right it is right!

    • Heckler und Koch, once upon a time, in the midst of the Cold War, did sell their products quite widely and to any number of rather distasteful, ruthless folks. Even Idi Amin.

      Threatened with bankruptcy and near-continuously walking a very fine line of solvency and indebtedness, H und K at Oberndorf have announced a “Europe–or at least OECD upper tier nations–only” sales policy.

      I find it hard to believe that sales were not intended from the outset. I first saw the G36 in the hands of the Miami, FL PD, and when I was in Spain a decade and a half ago, it was evident that the Spanish armed forces were almost entirely re-equipped with it. Law enforcement sales have been brisk: Great Britain, and very, very many other police–mostly European–have acquired examples. Outside of Germany, Spain, Lithuania, and Latvia…oh, and apparently Mauritius? it would seem to have not been adopted as widely as, say, the G3 once was.

      • Dave at that period of time when the G36 was being developed the German Federal Government and those of the Lands were very much “Peaceniks”, and the sales of weapons of destruction were literally verboten. And the weapon was literally intended for the German environment.

        I remember when I read a article on it in the German defence journal AMARDA telling of the intention to keep the G3 for the small forces earmarked for overseas NATO service, thinking that it will not be professionally developed and trialled for extreme climes.

        Since the Germans have been selling off vast amounts of hardware, HK (when under BAE) received massive tax credits for the manufacture of their various weapons systems. In the case of Spain the literal dumping of Leopard II MBT and much more military hardware under very favorable conditions a manufacturing licence (and technology transfer) was granted to General Dynamics to manufacture in Spain in 1999.

        The same happened in Saudi Arabia in 2008, with the sale of German military hardware with the aim that the G36 would enhance the Saudi industrial base. However the manufacture only is achieved with HK supplying many components. While Saudi as with everything seems to have a huge selection of military long arms in service with the various military bodies (the army also selected the AUG in its A3 variant in 2009), the G36 does not seem to have taken on.

        HK appears to have literally dumped new weapons onto the market, and example being the G36C (Compact) that has been adopted by a number of UK police forces. On a question being raised in Parliament, Hansard recorded that it was 133 pounds sterling (US$250 approx) cheaper than the Colt Canada C8 Carbine that was preferred.

        Many police bodies and minor militaries have adopted it for the same reason – the Royal Norwegian Navy combat divers use it as they consider it the best for use in extreme cold, wet conditions, which is their area of expertise.

        Here in Australia it was adopted by the Federal Police special operations, but it appears that as with the State Police Forces the Colt Canada C8 (in semi-auto mode) is being adopted.

        • The sales of weapons to NATO countries has never been forbidden by any (West) German government. For example tanks and submarines have been available for export continuously. Before the unification Germany manufactured larger diesel-electric subs ONLY for export, because their navy was limited to small coastal boats. They were also always happy to sell to trustworthy neutrals such as Sweden. Some governments have been more strict about sales to unstable third world countries, which is probably what you mean by “Peaceniks”. Still, there has never been any all encompassing prohibition of weapons sales by any FRG government.

          The G36 really was designed primarily for German use, but the main reasons for that were cost and expedience. After the cancellation of the G11 & G41, the Heer still did not have a modern assault rifle, but the cold war was ending (this was post-1990 actually, not 1980s) and the “peacenik” government did not want to spend a lot of money for developing and trialing a new rifle. Therefore the G36 was developed quickly to utilize modern manufacturing methods for lower cost and without much thought to use outside the Central European environment. Which, by the way, meant that it was still acceptable for the smaller European NATO countries as well.

          • Gotta love that post-AnschluS, erm, I mean re-unification! The Kalashnikov bayonet was retained by the Heer, but everything else was scrapped. The MPiKM mit folding stock was sold off at a song to Finland, Turkey (with the helmets thrown in!), India and so on–even as the Wiesa kalashnikow factory was closed for good, and after reading a story about the “WieGer/ Wiesa-Germany” 5.56x45mm export rifle intended for India (and Peru?), paid the penalties for disregarding and breaching the contracts!

            If saving money was the aim, well, then “re-unify” H und K and Wiesa, figure out how to produce the 5.56x45mm MPiK 74 with the Stanag AR magazines of the G-41, and pronounce it “ausgezeichnet!” As it happens, the cute little ex-DDR cross-walk signal was retained as being more highly visible than the über-over-engineered model. I think some MiG29s went to Poland, yes?

      • Back in about 2010, there were photos on ?reuters of British cops aiming scope sighted G36 at old ladies’ heads, from about 3 m range. Their sweatty fat fingers pressed firmly against the triggers.

        H&k definitely sold guns to some very dodgy regimes.

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