FAL vs G3


White Horseradish
October 6, 2004, 09:03 PM
I would really like to get an EBR in .308. FAL has always had some appeal to me, but the G3 looks interesting as well. I have no direct experience with either, so I'd like some opinions. FALs look to be a bit more expensive these days. So, should I save up for one or the other?

Did I just open a can of worms?;)

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Bwana John
October 6, 2004, 09:12 PM

October 6, 2004, 09:12 PM
FWIW...I've decided on an FAL. I liked the looks, the ergonomics, the balance in comparison to the G3. Both are fine designs and you will just have to see which one "speaks" to you the most. Have fun!:cool:

Ohen Cepel
October 6, 2004, 09:14 PM
The Hk mags are dirt cheap now! So that is one issue in their favor. I don't have a FAL though so I haven't been watching those mag prices.

I've very fond my my Hk 91, but like the FAL also. I think a quality version of either is a good choice.

White Horseradish
October 6, 2004, 09:23 PM

Don't I wish...

Bwana John
October 6, 2004, 09:32 PM
Don't I wish...
OK, get the FAL then, forgings and threads beats stampings and welds.

October 6, 2004, 10:36 PM
Having shot both as well as the CETME (which came before the G3)....

The FAL. Better ergonomics, points better and carries easier for me, and while 30 or 40 countries use/used a G3 or equivalent, 90 countries armed themselves with the FAL and many still use it. More than any except the M16 and AK.

October 6, 2004, 11:38 PM

Dave R
October 6, 2004, 11:52 PM
I shopped FAL vs. CETME pretty hard, and chose CETME because I liked the ergonomics better. Different preferences, I guess.

October 7, 2004, 12:47 AM
I handled FAL, G3 and CETME, and I really like the DSA FAL! It is also kind of expensive too.

G3 is not bad.

Century CETME is cheap in price, but I cannot say the quality of it feels good in the hand.

October 7, 2004, 12:58 AM
More than any except the M16

And which 90 countries use the M16? :D

The M16 is used, primarily, by the United States, Canada, Norway, and Israel.

Canada is, I believe, the only other country to produce the M16. The Norwegian rifles are, I also believe, Canadian Diemaco production.

Israel is sold surplus US military M16s at great discount through our military aid program. They do not produce the M16.

Similarly, we've given M16 rifles through military aid programs to a number of countries, similar to how the Soviets distributed the Kalashnikov. (Some South American countries, Taiwan...Korea, too, but Korea made a gas piston upper and created the Daewoo rifle.) However, the number of M16s in the world pales in comparison to the number of Kalashnikovs.

October 7, 2004, 12:59 AM
My FFL dealer was telling me that the PTR91 rifles from Sarco @$660 is one of the best buys in this class of rifle.

Has anyone seen, handled one of these? Or better yet bought one and can give us a range/use report.

Inquiring minds want to know.

October 7, 2004, 08:23 AM
I have owned both a FAL and HK91 and must say that I preferred the FAL, even though I WANTED to like the HK91/G3 REAL BAD! The FAL hefted to my shoulder more naturally, I LOVED the adjustable gas system and parts, mags, literature are everywhere. The HK91 just didn't 'feel' right for me, I didn't care for the ergonomics (I'm 6'5" so that may account for a bit of the discomfort factor). Both are great rifles and it really just boils down to personal choice in my opinion.

October 7, 2004, 08:40 AM
It's also in use in Denmark, the Phillipines, etc.

I didn't say more countries use the M16 but the M16/AK series is generally considered to be the two most popular rifles on the planet, with the FAL being right up there. More countries probably use/did use the FAL than anything but the AK, but the M16 has more toys for it.

October 7, 2004, 08:55 AM
(I'm 6'5" so that may account for a bit of the discomfort factor).

I'm 6'7" so maybe that explains a lot as to why it felt good for me. There aren't very many rifles out there that fit me well. There's a picture somewhere here on THR of me shooting an AR180b and it looks like a Red Ryder bb gun compared to me.:p

October 7, 2004, 10:59 AM
I have owned a DSA SA-58 FAL (which I loved, but had to sell due to divorce) and currently own two G3 pattern rifles, a PTR-91 and an Interport/FMP post-ban clone. The FAL was put together very well and ran like a Swiss watch. It was accurate "enough" for a battle rifle - occasional 1.5" groups at 100 yards although 3 inches was more the norm. It was totally reliable, although I had to keep the adjustable gas ring VERY well oiled or it would rust shut. I got both the G3's for the price I originally paid for the DSA. The PTR is very well constructed and very, very accurate. The FMP clone is made of high quality parts (all FMP/HK parts) but is not as well finished as the PTR. Both rifles have been totally reliable with surplus ammo. Perhaps my body type is well suited to the G3 (I'm 6'1" and 180 lbs), but I just don't understand the bad rap the G3 gets for ergonomics. I do wish that they had included a last-round bolt hold open feature, as I've become quite used to it with my other semi-autos. The g3 sights are good battle-type sights and are better than the FAL, IMO. The FAL sights suffer IMO by having the rear sight mounted to the buttstock tang, while the front is attached to the gas block. This demands a tight lock-up between the two halves for a reproducible sight picture, though this is not a huge deal by any means. I find the PTR and the FMP to be more accurate than the DSA FAL was. Differences in recoil are negligible, although the G3's is "quicker". It's hard to say which one is "better" between the G3 and FAL. They are both great designs, and exceed well at being able to hit man-sized targets at 400 yards and operate under poor conditions. I'd love to replace the FAL as it occupies an essential niche in any battery of 20th century battle rifles.

Joe Demko
October 7, 2004, 11:37 AM
Has anyone seen, handled one of these? Or better yet bought one and can give us a range/use report.

I've had a PTR-91 for a little over a year. I've found it very satisfactory. I had a couple of boxes of Federal matchgrade ammo laying around that I put through it w/ (to me) pretty impressive results. I've had no reliability issues, though others have reported them. The difference might have been that mine wasn't one of the first ones off the assembly line, they were reputed to have tight chambers. Maybe it's that I follow the ammo recommendations in the manual and don't try to feed it surplus of doubtful provenance. Mine has the HK-type polygonal rifling. I understand they make them with conventional rifling now.
Overall, I like it very much and would recommend it to someone who's looking for an HK-type rifle and who doesn't mind paying a bit more money to avoid the Century Arms crapshoot.

October 7, 2004, 11:51 AM
I prefer the CETME/G3 line(for now, my likes can be a little fickle). I find that it fits me better than a FAL(5'11"-6', 190) and the mags are dirt cheap. Accessories aren't as plentiful as the FAL but close. Mine shoots very accurately. I do wish there was a bolt hold open device but it's not a big issue to me. The charging handle is a little odd at first but I got used to it quickly. I can't change mags from empty as fast as a FAL but durn close. I think both are good, reliable rifles capable of satisfactory accuracy. It mostly comes down to personal preference. I, for example, can't stand fiddlin' with the FAL's gas system.

If you have a little cash, it might be worthwhile to get a good company like IGF (http://www.investmentgradefirearms.com) build you a G3. It costs around 7-800 for the parts, reciever and labor but it will be a fine rifle. Get a flapper mag release installed while you're at it, that is my only other big complaint. The button mag release is on the wrong side, curse the BATF.

October 8, 2004, 07:35 PM
Good examples of either work just fine. The ergos are a little different. Handle both and pick the one that you like the best.


Dave Markowitz
October 8, 2004, 07:45 PM
I prefer the G3. I own a Century G3 clone that runs like a top. I'm 5'6" and left handed, and it fits me better than the FAL; I had a Centry L1A1 and traded it off. Points in favor of the G3:

1. No gas system that needs to be adjusted. No gas system at all, actually. Very simple design.
2. Better ergos for me. YMMV.
3. Very soft recoil for a 7.62 NATO.
4. Sights much better than the FAL.
5. From what I've read, tend to be a bit more accurate than FALs.

October 8, 2004, 08:40 PM
I've had just the opposite experiences as Mr Markowitz (as he said, YMMV): I've owned both a Century G3 and a DSA STG58A Here are my experiences.

I still own the FAL and sold the G3...here's why:

* Both are accurate for a MBR (2-3 MOA) ... HK fans will sy that their rifle is more accurate but I can find equal number of accurate / inaccurate G3's and FALs from people I know
* Both are 100% reliable (with early break in hiccups on both)
* Both have similar recoil but impulse is different

FAL wins on the following
* FAL has overall superior ergonomics for me
* FAL has bolt open (G3 does not)
* Couldn't reach either selector without changing grip...can fix that on FAL with L1A1 selector
* FAL mag release is easier to manipulate (assuming no paddle release on G3, if so then equal)
* FAL charging handle is in appropriate place (what idiot puts the charging handle near the muzzle of a rifle?)
* FAL breaks down/easier to clean and maintain eaiser than G3
* FAL has more simple locking mechanism
* FAL is "prettier" (subjective)
* FAL has adjustable gas system (but I personally don't see that as a big deal)

Here's where G3 wins
* Feels slightly more balanced/handy (subjective)
* G3 mags are better designed and snap in with more authority

That's it...using those criteria, FAL wins hands down for me. YMMV

That said, I will eventually buy a PTR91 (the only decent HK clone...save maybe Ohio Rapid Fire build). I've actually been in love with the HK91 since I was a kid...warts and all.

October 8, 2004, 10:38 PM
I'm only 5'6" tall. I much prefer the FAL, though the stock is a bit long for me. (My '03 has a 12.5" LOP! :what: )

Ergos on the 91 are awful, though not as bad since I went through basic.


October 9, 2004, 09:21 AM
(Groan) Oh no....

Another vs. thread....um. Can't we do "Which is better, spy vs. spy" sometime? :D

Seriously though G3 vs. FAL is not fair.

A: It always boils down to ergonomics. I'm like Markowitz, 5'6" and a lefty. The G3 design fits me just fine. So whatever fits you.

B: As for my statement that it's not a fair comparison, the price ranges are skewed. Look:

CETME $350-400
PTR $850
Century G3 $750 (last I've seen)
Hesse G3 $1750
Hk91 IB(1982) $2400-2700
Hk91 IA(1981) $2800-$3200
Hk91 A3 (collapsable stock) $3000 +
PSG1 $10000 (okay now I'm getting ridiculous)

Same thing is true of the FAL. What you can build an L1 for about $500 still? Is that right? (Help me out FAL lovers)

And a DSA 58 starts at about $1400 on up?

And a true FAL from Belgium is going for around what $2400-3000

Sorry, I don't keep up on FAL prices.

I think you are talking about the basic design right? If so it's just which ergonomics fit you better. Me, I can't stand FAL. Everything is in the wrong spot. And as a lefty I can slap the charging handle without ever taking my finger off the trigger if I wanted. (Of course I always obey proper safety and gun range etiquette, I would only keep my finger on the trigger for amassing armies of turban wearing zombie hordes :D )

Just handle both and see which fits you, then decide how much money you are going to spend on it. Be sure to read some searches, both here and TFL. This G3 vs FAL vs AR-10 vs SASR/AK 308/Dragunov and AR-15 vs AK stuff has been done to death.

October 9, 2004, 10:10 AM
Risai -- your prices are a bit off on the FAL but you are right about it being personal pref of the ergos. The only thing you CAN'T argue with is the ridiculous location of the charging handle on the G3...come on...at the front of the barrel??? That works fine on an MP5 but on a rifle? Lefties are a different story, maybe.;)

** You can buy a Century roll-the-dice R1A1 ~ $450.
** A good quality build by Ohio Rapid Fire/other reputable firm ~ $500-800
** DSA STG58 ~$800
** DSA SA58 ~$1200-1400
** A "true" FAL from Belgium ~ $2400-3000

So no, they aren't skewed...you must be shopping in the wrong places :D

Dave Markowitz
October 9, 2004, 10:16 AM
Will you guys stop calling me "Mr. Markowitz?!?!?!" You're making me feel old! :)

(You can call RON in PA "Mr. Markowitz." He IS old. :neener: )

October 9, 2004, 05:13 PM
It's generally cheaper and easier to build a good FAL clone than it is to build a G3. The FAL is basically screwed together, while the G3 is pressed, pinned, and welded.

Personally, I prefer the G3's ergonomics to the FAL's.

If I were you, I'd buy a FAL first, then part together a G3 and send the bits to a competent HK smith and have him build it your way. Adding the G3 paddle mag release is usually only about $90 if done during a build and worth every penny.

Of course, the JLD HK clones are pretty reasonable and have a good reputation.

October 9, 2004, 06:22 PM
The only thing you CAN'T argue with is the ridiculous location of the charging handle on the G3...come on...at the front of the barrel???

It seems like an odd place but I haven't encountered any difficulty with it. I can even do it prone without a problem, though I am a little long of arm. It does slow mag changes down a tiny bit if you operate it the way you're supposed to. And it is a little odd as far as the manual of arms but I don't see why people hem and haw so much over it.

October 9, 2004, 07:03 PM

I love the fact that the charging handle is topside. Means I can keep my trigger hand where it belongs, and slap it with my "wrong hand".

October 9, 2004, 09:24 PM
I had the opportunity to use both the FAL (the South African R1 variant) and the G3 (the Portuguese Army issue rifle) on the range in South Africa. Comparing them head-to-head, I found the FAL to be superior in ergonomics, more accurate, and a LOT more reliable - but then, the ex-Portuguese rifles we were shooting had probably not received the armory maintenance and regular overhauls that our issue R1's had been getting. I never saw a NIB G3 to compare to my NIB-issue R1.

October 10, 2004, 12:31 AM
Well, it's true, some guys (or girls) like blondes, some brunettes...

Personal preference and it's hard to argue with that. The important thing is you're shooting a MBR!! :D

October 10, 2004, 10:03 PM
I am not very well versed in G3's,But I have build and owned a few FAL's now.Love Em!Simlpe design.easy to build and change out stuff to get the look and feel You want,Very reliable.One thing nobody mentioned yet is;the FAL can also be set-up with forward assist.Not usually nessisary but nice to have none the less.I also like the C-H in closer.Less hand movement to operate.

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