Have you ever been fascinated by a particular firearm but for various reasons you never had the opportunity to fire one, let alone own one? The rifle I am talking about is the FN FAL, a Cold War battle rifle that was selected by numerous allied nations when the United States adopted the M14. I can’t explain it, but ever since I read about the British Army occupying Northern Ireland and then fighting in the Falklands War, I have wanted to get in some trigger time with a FN FAL. After firing a few rounds through a friend’s FN FAL many years ago, I finally had the opportunity to conduct an actual field test of a FN FAL variant when I was asked to evaluate the Century Arms FAL G1 Sporter.
I spent lots of time at a local gun range that was owned by a former lieutenant from the local sheriff’s department, and one day I noticed a Belgian FN FAL leaning against the wall behind the owner’s chair.
I liked this FN FAL so much I offered to buy it on the spot. Unfortunately, the range owner explained that he had just sold it. At the time he had no idea that I always wanted one of these rifles. When the new FAL owner arrived and learned how much I always wanted to buy or at least field test a FN FAL, he let me fire a few rounds from his newly acquired rifle on the 100-yard range. Needless to say, I savored every moment of this quickly executed field test.
The day that I decided to sight in the G1, I figured it would not hurt if I had a technical adviser on hand who was familiar with the FN FAL. The person I selected to assist me was my shooting buddy, Rick Batory, a contract firearms and tactics instructor for a local U.S. Air Force PJ unit. My other shooting buddy, Larry Kotz, an SOT dealer who supplies Class III firearms to military and LE personnel, also came along to test the gun.
The first order of business was to inspect the G1 and lubricate this rifle before I inserted a 20-round steel “metric” FN FAL magazine with five rounds of ammunition into the rifle. With plenty of knowledgeable technical advisers by my side, I started to sight in the G1 by using a variety of Lithuanian 147-grain Mil-Spec ammunition, German NATO specification 147-grain Patrone ammunition and Winchester 147-grain 7.62mm FMJ ammunition to see how the rifle printed, while being used to engage a 2-inch jet black Shoot ‘N See target that was taped to a man-size TQ19 Police Firearms Qualification Target 50 yards away from our shooting platform.