Ace in the hole

IWI GALIL ACE—A BAL­LIS­TIC “HAM­MER” WITH ROOTS BACK TO THE AK-47

Firepower - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY TODD BURGREEN / PHO­TOS BY ETHAN BURGREEN

IWI Galil ACE—A bal­lis­tic ham­mer forged in in­ter­na­tional ser­vice

Cer­tain char­ac­ter­is­tics are con­sid­ered es­sen­tial for a ri­fle used in a tac­ti­cal en­vi­ron­ment: reli­a­bil­ity, porta­bil­ity, rugged­ness, ac­cu­racy, ease of re­plen­ish­ment (i.e., am­mu­ni­tion, parts and magazines) and ef­fec­tive fire­power for all sit­u­a­tions likely to be en­coun­tered.

These pa­ram­e­ters were re­in­forced in the cru­cible of World War II com­bat in all the­aters of oper­a­tion. Lessons were gar­nered, with each com­bat­ant na­tion hav­ing its own ideas on how to cope with post-wwii con­flict. En­gage­ments that re­sult in ex­changed ri­fle fire usu­ally hap­pen at closer than 200 yards, with the su­pe­rior rate of fire of­ten de­cid­ing the out­come. Lit­er­ally hun­dreds of books and ar­ti­cles have chron­i­cled the his­tory of ri­fle car­tridges be­ing shrunk af­ter WWII. Our own path was 30-06, .308 Win and 5.56mm. How­ever, an in­ter­est­ing twist in this story was that the 7.62 NATO/.308 Win was never fi­nally put to rest; it held onto a role in many mil­i­tary ar­mories around the world. In fact, 7.62 NATO/.308 Win-cham­bered bat­tle ri­fles have re­mained fa­vorites among LE, spe­cial oper­a­tion units, non-mil­i­tary en­ti­ties and civil­ians. The IWI

Galil ACE 7.62 NATO joins the grow­ing num­ber of bat­tle ri­fle plat­forms cham­bered in 7.62 NATO/.308 Win. These rounds’ po­tency in terms of bal­lis­tics and ter­mi­nal ef­fect makes them fa­vorites among troops and law en­force­ment per­son­nel in more ru­ral en­vi­ron­ments. A quick look at the res­ur­rec­tion of the M14 and steady in­tro­duc­tion of sev­eral Arstyle ri­fle mod­els all sup­port this ob­ser­va­tion.

A Leg­end Up­dated

The IWI US Galil ACE ri­fle vari­ants are now steadily ar­riv­ing on dealer shelves af­ter the plat­form's 2015 in­tro­duc­tion. The Galil ACE joins other no­table IWI US of­fer­ings such as the Ta­vor X95 and Uzi Pro mak­ing waves in the U.S. mar­ket. The orig­i­nal Is­raeli De­fense Force (IDF) Galil was choked out of this mar­ket in the early 1990s due to Fed­eral im­port laws. IWI US is mak­ing avail­able the highly re­spected Is­raeli Galil via the en­hanced Galil ACE. This is achieved by as­sem­bling the ri­fles from a com­bi­na­tion of Is­raeli and Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tured com­po­nents at the com­pany's Har­ris­burg, Pa., fa­cil­ity. The Galil ACE is not merely a copy of the 1960s de­sign. IWI took full ad­van­tage of the pas­sage of time to im­prove and up­date the orig­i­nal.

The cur­rent IWI US Galil ACE 7.62 NATO ri­fle seeks im­prove­ment over the orig­i­nal IDF Galil in a num­ber of ways. The Galil ACE makes use of a poly­mer lower for the magazine well, trig­ger guard and pis­tol grip. The up­per re­ceiver con­tain­ing the ac­tion and hinged fold­ing stock trun­nion is milled from ord­nance steel. The railed forend on the Galil ACE is also

“it’s not merely a copy of the 1960s de­sign—iwi took full ad­van­tage to up­date the orig­i­nal Yis­rael Galil and Yaa­cov Lior de­sign.”

derived from high-strength poly­mer. This trans­lates to a ri­fle weigh­ing less than 9 pounds that com­pares fa­vor­ably to other 7.62 NATO/.308 Win ri­fles on the mar­ket. The trig­ger orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for the IDF Galil snip­ing vari­ant is used with the Galil ACE 7.62 NATO, of­fer­ing a pull weight of 5.5 pounds. The use of Mag­pul PMAG LR/ SR magazines (10-, 20- and 25-round) with the IWI Galil ACE 7.62 NATO is a real plus as well in terms of avail­abil­ity, reli­a­bil­ity and pric­ing.

Be­sides shav­ing weight, the Galil ACE has its re­cip­ro­cat­ing charg­ing han­dle moved to the left side of the steel re­ceiver for eas­ier/sim­pler weak-hand ma­nip­u­la­tion. A spring-loaded gate on the left side min­i­mizes the chance of dirt/grime en­ter­ing via the charg­ing han­dle path­way. The orig­i­nal Galil had a dis­tinc­tive ver­ti­cally up­turned han­dle on the right side. The ab­sence of a right­side charg­ing han­dle fa­cil­i­tated cre­ation of a metal re­cess in the bolt car­rier body’s right side, which acts to fur­ther en­hance reli­a­bil­ity in harsh en­vi­ron­ments by pre­vent­ing dirt, mud, snow or ice clog­ging and/or jam­ming the bolt group while func­tion­ing.

The Galil ACE gas tube is dove­tailed into the re­ceiver’s front block. This lim­its move­ment of the gas tube that can in­flu­ence bar­rel vi­bra­tion and thus de­grade ri­fle ac­cu­racy. A re­coil buf­fer is also present on the re­coil spring. This serves mul­ti­ple roles: cush­ion­ing im­pact of re­coil­ing parts, eas­ing wear on the rear trun­nion and tam­ing vi­bra­tion to as­sist ac­cu­racy po­ten­tial. All these de­tails re­lated to top cover and gas tube dif­fer from the orig­i­nal AK method. At­ten­tion to de­tail is found with the abil­ity to eas­ily re­move the rear aper­ture sight if an eye-re­lief-de­pen­dent op­tic is uti­lized, avoid­ing the ne­ces­sity to mount the op­tic un­com­fort­ably high to clear. An­other nice touch is the triti-

“as­sem­bled from is­raeli and amer­i­can com­po­nents, here in the USA.”

um vials in­stalled in the front post and rear aper­ture sights for night use. One note here is that ori­en­ta­tion of the front sight needs paid at­ten­tion to when sighting in. A fur­ther half-turn may be needed to keep the tri­tium vial fo­cused rear­ward.

No Re­place­ment for Dis­place­ment

The com­bi­na­tion of the Galil ACE plat­form with the in­creased power rep­re­sented in the 7.62 NATO car­tridge is the key to the ri­fle’s appeal. This is speak­ing in terms of the lethal­ity and ef­fec­tive range while still al­low­ing for mul­ti­ple rounds to be sent quickly down­range if needed in a close-range melee. In train­ing cour­ses ex­pe­ri­enced in­volv­ing LE, mil­i­tary and pri­vate se­cu­rity con­trac­tors, the mantra of “one mag, one kill” is of­ten re­peated in re­la­tion to the M16/AR-15. While the 5.56mm round is of­ten chided in terms of lethal­ity, the 7.62 NATO/.308 Win does not suf­fer from this rep­u­ta­tion. Re­ports from Afghanistan and Iraq have ex­posed the 5.56’s poor per­for­mance in putting an ad­ver­sary down quickly with min­i­mal rounds fired, es­pe­cially at dis­tance. This is why ri­fles such as the IWI Galil ACE

7.62 NATO are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity with the up­grade in power it of­fers. When faced with the pos­si­bil­ity of con­fronting heav­ily armed and highly mo­ti­vated ter­ror­ists, there is an affin­ity for the abil­ity to lay down se­ri­ous sup­pres­sive fire or to en­gage sus­pects with heavy body ar­mor, be­hind bar­ri­cades or in ve­hi­cles that may re­sist the ef­fects of .223, buck­shot or even slugs.

En­hance­ment via Key Sup­port Gear

In an ef­fort to max­i­mize the IWI Galil ACE’S po­ten­tial in terms of ac­cu­racy and flex­i­bil­ity, a Tri­ji­con Ac­cupower 1-8x28mm 34mm tube op­tic was mounted on the Galil ACE’S railed top cover. The 1-8x power range of­fered by the Ac­cupower solves any co­nun­drum posed by other, more lim­ited op­tic mag­ni­fi­ca­tion op­tions. Con­tin­u­ing the theme, a Tri­ji­con quick-re­lease mount was also uti­lized. One crit­i­cism of­ten lev­eled against the Ak-based ri­fle mod­els is the dif­fi­culty of mount­ing scopes over the re­ceiver. The

IWI Galil ACE ad­dresses these con­cerns with its railed up­per re­ceiver dust cover. IWI US has ac­cen­tu­ated pre­vi­ous Galil de­signs by se­cur­ing the railed up­per top cover tightly/ se­curely via over­sized re­lease but­ton at the end of the re­coil spring pro­trud­ing out of the top cover. A rub­ber grom­met/gas­ket is also in­cluded. This en­sures the rear aper­ture iron sight stays ze­roed as well as other op­tics that may be mounted. The top cover ex­hibits no wig­gle. In fact, re­mov­ing and re­in­stalling takes some ef­fort, but it’s worth it con­sid­er­ing the ad­van­tage gained.

Prod­ucts I have dis­cov­ered help­ful in test­ing the myr­iad ri­fles I’m for­tu­nate to han­dle is the High Speed Gear (HSG) Sure Grip pa­trol belt and TACO magazine pouches. Many train and op­er­ate with mul­ti­ple cal­ibers ei­ther by choice or ne­ces­sity. Oth­ers are tasked with train­ing dif­fer­ent weapon sys­tems as part of their job de­scrip­tion.

The lo­gis­tics of main­tain­ing dif­fer­ent belt sys­tems or switch­ing magazine pouches on one belt re­peat­edly is daunt­ing. Imag­ine hav­ing to ac­com­mo­date AR magazines one day, AK-47 magazines the next, AR-10/ SR25 magazines an­other train­ing evo­lu­tion, AK-74 magazines an­other time and so forth. You get the pic­ture. High Speed Gear’s TACO magazine pouches and pa­trol belt were de­vel­oped with this set of cir­cum­stances in mind.

“En­gage­ments that re­sult in ex­changed ri­fle fire usu­ally hap­pen at closer than 200 yards, with the su­pe­rior rate of fire of­ten de­cid­ing the out­come.”

SIG Sauer Elite .308 Win Match am­mu­ni­tion pro­vided ex­cel­lent ac­cu­racy with the IWI Galil ACE 7.62 NATO.

The Galil ACE ri­fle fea­tures a fold­ing ad­justable stock along with a re­mov­able cheek piece riser if needed based on op­tic choice.

Re­mov­able rail cov­ers pro­vide the user op­tions on how best to use the tri-rail forend.

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