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FAL vs L1A1: What's the difference?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Odnar, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Odnar

    Odnar Well-Known Member

    Honest question from a technical, mechanical, historical perspective. Anything interchangeable on them?

  2. zinj

    zinj Well-Known Member

    I'm not an expert on them, but the difference between a metric FAL (most non British Commonweath guns) and an inch FAL (L1A1) is that the specs on the inch FAL had some small dimensional changes when the blueprints were transcribed from metric to imperial measurements. This unfortunately means many parts will not interchange.
  3. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Well-Known Member

  4. 101AirborneE8

    101AirborneE8 Active Member

    ZINJ is absolutely right. I have a Century L1A1 (which is actually part metric & part SAE). Anyway, metric/fal magazines will work in both. They have a tiny bit of wobble in an L1A1, but I've never had a jamb.

    However, you cannot put L1A1/English Pattern magazines in a FAL. That's probably OK, because metric mags are currently going for about $8.00 to $12.00 and L1A1 mags are $35.00 to $45.00.

    Anyway, if you're going buy one, I'd recommend getting a metric FN/FAL and not an L1A1. I got mine rebarrelled. It took me months to find a vendor with a replacement barrel, and a good gunsmith to install it. The whole job cost me about $650.00 (more than the original cost of the gun).
  5. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Well-Known Member

  6. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    L1A1 has a muzzle device that likes to go banana peel
    L1A1 muzzle device is threaded in the opposite direction from all the metric barrels.
    L1A1 has a gas port drilled at an angle (making it harder to modify)
    L1A1 has different hammer/trigger/sear parts than metric.
    L1A1 has different lower receiver than metric (can't use metric stocks)
    L1A1 has a fatter bolt hold-open device (can't use L1A1 bolt hold-open device in metric)
    L1A1 has a larger magazine release lever (mostly a matter of taste, but heavier)
    L1A1 magazines only work in L1A1's unless permanently modified
    L1A1 magazines much more expensive than metric
    L1A1 magazines won't take metric floorplates, springs or followers
    L1A1 buttstock has a buttplug that makes it harder to remove the stock
    L1A1 buttstock has hard plastic or hard metal buttplate
    L1A1 has blocky pistol grip with "popsicle stick" thing that can be troublesome
    L1A1 is very difficult to get US made stocks or pistol grips
    L1A1 has folding cocking handle that some folks don't like
    L1A1 top covers won't fit metric - but metric will fit L1A1

    I remain confused about whether L1A1 bolt parts interchange with metric.
    I do know the extractors will not interchange.

    You can exchange entire assembled bolts L1A1 to metric and vice-versa

    All FAL bolt carriers interchange.
    There are some other minor differences

    Aftermarket scope-mount topcovers fit L1A1 or metric

    Its all good.




  7. mikec

    mikec Well-Known Member

    LiA1 is the British military designation for their Inch pattern FAL.

    BTW, the Inch guns came first.
  8. Bwana John

    Bwana John Well-Known Member

    The only thing "metric" I can find on my "metric" FALs is that the short combo device has 18 mm wrench flats.:evil:
  9. DougW

    DougW Well-Known Member

    My L1A1


    Type 1 Entreprise Inch pattern reciever, Aussie Lithgow kit, everything is inch pattern, barrel was cut and crowned to comply with the slime bill.
  10. Odnar

    Odnar Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses. I bought a Century L1A1, which I thought looked a lot like a FAL and wondered what the difference was. Not much, it seems.

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