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The Right Arm of the West: the FN FAL Rifle

Have a look at a short history of the Fabrique Nationale FAL, the rifle that symbolized the fight against tyranny.

Before the adoption of 5.56mm for the U.S. and its allies, the 7.62mm cartridge reigned supreme in the West’s fight against communism and tyranny during the Cold War. No 7.62mm rifle symbolized this more than the FN FAL, a robust battle rifle that saw service right into the 1980s across more than 70 countries, most of them nations aligned with the U.S.

The success of this weapon in the hands of western nations earned it the nickname “the right arm of the west,” as it truly was the weapon relied on by so many democratic countries.

There is a short history of a battle rifle that saw action in Vietnam with Australian infantry, in the Falklands with Brit soldiers and across many parts of Europe and Africa from the late 1950s until the 1980s.

The FN FAL, in all its variations, was seen as the counterpoint to the AK-47, the famous Soviet weapon which was so readily supplied to USSR-backed insurgents and opposing forces. The domination of the FN FAL continued until the adoption of the 5.56mm cartridge as standard issue for most NATO countries and allies of the U.S.

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The Right Arm of the West: the FN FAL Rifle