One of the great ironies of the 7.62x51mm FAL pattern rifle’s history is that, for being one of the most prolifically produced military arms of the 20th century, it was never involved in any conventionally recognized traditional war. However, as the only rifle design to give the Kalashnikov real competition in regard to distribution and total numbers produced, it should come as no surprise that the FAL (Fusil Automatique Léger or “light automatic rifle”) has played a prominent role in hotspots around the world.
Developed by Belgian armsmaker Fabrique Nationale (FN), adopted during the Cold War era by nearly 100 countries, and manufactured in both metric and inch patterns under license around the world, the FAL would deserve a place in any firearms history simply for the sheer number produced. However, the design itself is an outstanding and fully capable weapon, one with many strengths that have contributed to its broad-based acceptance. It was these very strengths that drew Illinois based DS Arms to the FAL design specifically, the Austrian StG 58 variant of the design.
So what exactly is the FAL-pattern rifle upon which the DS Arms rifles are based? Beginning in the years leading up to World War II, the FAL was designed by Fabrique Nationale’s chief arms designer, Dieudonné Joseph Saivé. The FAL rifle that eventually appeared was extremely advanced for its day, featuring modern ergonomics through its vertical pistol grip and separate buttstock and a detachable double-column magazine. While the rifle broke from the traditions of the past aesthetically, it also was quite innovative mechanically.