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The Galil is one of the standard assault rifles used by the Israel Defense Forces. It uses U.S. NATO 5.56mm ammunition, like an M-16, but uses the supposedly more reliable and producible action of a Russian AK-47. The Galil was intended as a replacement to the the aging FN FAL rifle, which often performed poorly in the dusty Middle Eastern conditions.

The Galil project began after the Six-Day War, and the first rifles began to arrive in 1974, after the Yom Kippur War. One of its aims was to replace the first M-16 (Vietnam surplus) that were brought to Israel via the air train during the war; they had severe reliability problems, and were regarded solely as provisional weapons until the Galil had arrived. The Galil was used by infantry during the Lebanon War in 1982; but towards the mid-1980s, it was decided to be less than optimal.

The Galil's main problem is weight: it is much heavier than the M-16, at around 3.9 kg empty (w/o ammunition), and because of this often considered to be more inconvenient as personal weapon for infantrymen; fighting infantry units therefore were given back M-16s (new or upgraded for better reliability and weight), although the Galil's compactness meant it would remain a personal weapon for soldiers of armor and artillery units.

Although designed as a serious infantry weapon, one could also claim the Galil boosts many unusual features to make it more amenable to citizen-militia. The Galil includes a folding stock and bipod, tritium illuminated night sights, and an integrated bottle-opener, to encourage troops not to break the rifle by using it to open bottles of drink.


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