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Which came first? HK 91 or FN FAL?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Lakedaemonian, Aug 13, 2011.

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  1. Lakedaemonian

    Lakedaemonian Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    South Dakota
    I have been doing some digging and cant come up with an answer. :banghead: Both weapons are quite similar. :uhoh: Like comparing the AK-47 to the Galil. They are too similar to just be a fluke. Who here is an Assult Rifle nut with a good thick answer? :confused:
  2. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    First, neither is really a assault rifle as neither fires a intermediate class cartridge.
    Second, they aren't that closely related. Kinda like how bats and birds both have wings and both fly but they ain't the same type of animal.

    If I recall correctly, the FAL is based on designs that FN had pre-WWII. See the FN49 for the immediate predecessor.

    The G3 series of roller delayed blowback operated rifles came from experience the Germans had during WWII.

    Wikipedia has a service date for the FAL of '54. They list the G3 as being in service in '59.




  3. Driftertank

    Driftertank Member

    Mar 22, 2010
    Yakima WA
    The FAL was developed shortly after WW2 and entered service With several countries.

    As I recall, the germans wanted them, but the Belgians weren't too keen on selling them. Something about giving their latest gun to the guys who'd recently driven panzers over their tulips didn't sit well, as I recall. They gave over a few test samples (designated G1 - Gewehr-1 by the Germans) but wouldn't license them for production.

    I can't recall what the G2 was based on.

    The Germans eventually got a hold of the Spaniards, who were developing the new CETME rifle with a Roller-delayed blowback mechanism (the FAL uses a gas-piston system). H&K tested, then refined the design, and tooled up to produce them for the German army. This was the G3.

    The HK91 was developed later as a sporting version on the military G3.

    So the FAL was around first, to answer the OP question...
  4. Don357

    Don357 Member

    May 30, 2007
    Semmes Alabama
    Actually, the HKG3 came from a Spanish design called the CETME which was designed by German engineers who carried the design for the STG44 (which was designed and built by H&K and saw lots of use in WWII), to Spain and improved on it.
  5. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

    Aug 1, 2005

    1) HK is a post WWII company. They never made StG44s because they were not in existence during WWII.
    2) The numbers of StG44s manufactured during WWII pale in comparison to the number of K98k rifles, MG34s, and MG42s.
    3) The G3 isn't really that closely related to the StG44. The mechanism functions totally differently and the G3's caliber is a step back from the StG's assault rifle round. The G3 is a battle rifle while the StG44 is a assault rifle.

  6. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    Considering the '03 is nothing more than a Mauser, saying the SSTG44 was the first of the HK type weapons is close enough. It doesn't change the fact that FN fielded the FAL earlier.

    What is arguable is why decision makers wanted to keep the main battle rifle caliber and stuff it in the assault rifle package. Looking over the history of use, it was a short lived experiment and a fundamental fail. They all were superceded by other designs as their life cycle of service expired.

    In contrast, the M16 is entering trials for it's 4th generation of service, against many competitors simply copying most of its features in a new style. The only one the public pays any attention to is where the piston is located - but the controls, overall layout, magazine, and barrel extension are all there in some form.

    Even putting aside the concept of DI, Stoner's "Folly" is the most influential design in the last one hundred years.
  7. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

    May 27, 2006
    North Coast of OHIO
    Lots of close to right info on the cetme/HK...
    The original Vorgrimmler design, which looks much like the final Cetme was chambered for the German stg cartridge. This rifle was called the stg45m...only about 30 test rifles were made before the end of the war. The french also developed a prototype rifle which looks much like a cetme/HK chambered for 30 carbine, with the help of mauser engineers.As the Spanish developed it, the cetme was designed for a cartridge with the same dimensions as the 7.62 NATO round, but loaded to lower, intermediate levels.
    As far as the 7.62 NATO rifle being a fail, I have shot a cetme quite a bit, and also the AK and AR15. They are all great rifles, but I have a feeling that if the Russians had ever attacked west Germany during the cold war era, the FN FAL and HK G3 armed western troops may have given the AK armed Warsaw Pact troops a very hard time.
    Personally, I believe the best option is a mixture of weapons...AR's, 7.62 NATO semi auto's...the mixture of weapons we fielded in WWII was very effective, each filling an effective role. The one round, one weapon theory has proven to be the fail in Afghanistan.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  8. PercyShelley

    PercyShelley Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    The FAL came before the G3 proper, but the early model G3s were extremely similar to CETMEs (featuring a good amount of parts intercompatibility, which was gradually lost), and the CETME vs. the FAL... I'm not sure which is first.

    The G1 was indeed a FAL, I am similarly at a loss to recall what the G2 was, the G3 was the modified CETME and the G4 was the AR-10, which came too late in the trials to be a real contender.

    The G3 and CETME are based on the late-war Mauser designs, particularly the STG-45, but there are significant differences such as the cocking tube and the bolt carrier anti-rebound lever, both of which were developed in France during the late 40s and early 50s when the captured Mauser design teams were toiling away there.

    Incidentally, the STG-44 and STG-45 were not designed by the same companies. The STG-44 was a Haenel design, the STG-45 was from Mauser.

    As for the similarities between the G3 and FAL, I think most can be traced to late war German designs.

    -Placing the charging handle on the left side of the receiver was common practice in German WWII designs, as see in the MP40, STG-44 and K43.

    -The safety was a lever by the thumb in both the STG-44 and STG-45, although in the STG-44 the safety and selector are two different controls.

    -The placement of the return spring in the butt is seen in both the STG-44 and STG-45.

    -The attachment of the buttstock to the receiver by load-bearing pin, as in the G3, is also seen in the STG-44 and STG-45.

    -The FAL has a receiver milled from a solid chunk of steel (later castings) while the G3 is stamped. The STG-44 is both, having a sheet steel exterior and a large milled insert inside of the sheet steel which supports the rear locking surface, trunnion, bottom half of the bolt carrier/piston raceway and maybe the magazine well (can't quite recall).

    -The way the FAL receiver "shotguns" open is reminiscent of the STG-44, as is the tilting-bolt action. FN was working on tilting-bolt actions before the war, however, so this may a coincidence.
  9. Kliegl

    Kliegl member

    May 5, 2011
    Plus, the term for those rifles is Battle Rifle, and you can own a field with them. Assault rifles shoot little cartridges and you can own a building with them.

    G3 has a lot of roots in the MG42 action. The delayed roller blowback is a neat action, but it puts the brass into the next county after it stripes it with soot and dings it up well.

    I would not agree that the FAL was a "fundamental fail." I would wager the many countries that used it would also not agree.

    Also, the M1 Garand, the M1 Carbine. and their successor, the M14, were around before the M16, and are still in service, so I would say that it has a longer service life and was more influential than the M16.

    The M16 is a great rifle, but it can't do the ranges the M14 can do, as documented in the recent Arabian wars.
  10. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

    Jul 26, 2004
    I would have to dig out the books to be absolutely certain but I'm thinking the FN/FAL came out as a production weapon in 1955 and the G3 came online in 1959.

    The Germans were testing the FAL and wanted to adopt it but the Belgians would not allow them a production license to build the guns in Germany so Germany went to Spain and upgraded the CETME rifle into the G3.
  11. Kurt_D

    Kurt_D Member

    May 23, 2007
    The FAL and G3 are ABSOLUTLY NOTHING alike, unless you consider they both use .308 a "simlar" enough. They don't even use the same operating system so it can't be "like comparing" an AK and Galil.

    FAL = milled upper reciever and lower?, short stroke gas piston with adjustable gas system, falling block locking mech.

    G3 = stamped and welded upper reciever and stamped lower (later polymer), delayed blow back, roller locking mech, and free floated barrel w/ fluted chamber.

    G3 (HK91) traces it's self back to the spanish CETME which it's self traces back to an orginal German design. Offically the FN FAL came first and was adopted by Germany as the G1, obviously the G3 came later. As far as development, they probably started about the same time if you consider the CETME as the early G3 proto; which is shortly after or during the late years of WWII. Now which was adapted first the FAL or CETME, I haven't a clue.
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