In South African military service, the R1 was the FN FAL and was the preferred infantry combat rifle until the adoption of the Galil as the R4 rifle. So what were the guns in between? Well, the R2 was a South African adaptation of the G3. A large number of rifles were needed as a reserve, and also to equip second echelon units like the Air Force, Cape Corps, and South West Africa Territorial Force. To reduce the expense of this, South Africa purchased something like 100,000 G3 rifles from Portugal and designated them R2.
The Portuguese hand guards and buttstocks were found to be unsatisfactory, however. In the heat and harsh ultraviolet radiation of South West Africa (now Namibia) in particular, the plastic would shrink and lose its fit, leading to the guns being called “rattlers” by the SADF troops. The fix this, the American firm of Choate Machine & Tool was contracted to make new hand guards based on the H&K export pattern – wider and longer and with fittings for a bipod. New stocks were also made, duplicating the shape of the R1/FAL stock.