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The American FAL: Harrington & Richardson T48 (w/ Larry Vickers)

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Today I am joined by Larry Vickers to take a look at his original H&R T48 FAL. The Harrington & Richardson company was awarded a contract to produce a pre-production series of 500 of these rifles in the mid 1950s when the United States was conduction trials to choose a new combat rifle. The Belgian-designed FAL (built by H&R with technical assistance from Canada, who was the first to formally adopt the FAL) was designated the Rifle, T48. By this time, it’s only competition was the Springfield-designed Rifle, T44 – which would eventually become the M14.

Both rifles were put through a wide array of testing and trials, and in the end they were so close in performance as to be both deemed acceptable by the testing officials. The decision went up the chain of command to almost the very top before a decision was made in favor of the M14, on the basis of it being slightly lighter in weight and capable of being produced on existing M1 Garand tooling. This would prove to be a mistaken expectation, and the process of developing the tooling and production lines for the M14 would be one of the major problems with its adoption. Interestingly, the Belgians at FN had offered the FAL design to the United States royalty-free, but this was not enough to sway US brass to adopt a non-American design.

Only a handful of T48 FAL rifles exist in private hands today, and this one actually came out of the H&R company museum. Thanks to Mr. Vickers for sharing this fantastic piece of Cold War rifle history with us!

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