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Rearming West Germany: The G1 FAL

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Today we are taking a look at a German G1 pattern FAL. The initial purchased of the G1 were actual made by the German Border Guard (the Bundesgrenschutz). In the aftermath of World War Two, the western Allies decided to perpetually disarm Germany, and German security was provided by French, British, and American forces. As the Iron Curtain fell across Europe, that attitude softened – West Germany was on the front lines of the Cold War, and could be a valuable ally against Communism in the East. Thus in 1951, the West German Bundesgrenzschutz (Border Guards) were formed and armed – basically with all WW2 Wehrmacht equipment. Looking to improve its small arms in 1955/56, the BGS tested a number of modern rifles and decided to adopt the FAL.

The BGS initially ordered 2,000 FAL rifles from FN, with wooden hand guards and a fixed flash hider (essentially a standard Belgian FAL) – these are known as the “A” pattern. A second BGS order for 4,800 more rifles followed, this time of the “B” pattern with a metal handguard and folding bipod. This was the first use of an integral bipod on the FAL, and would go on to be a popular option for other buyers.

In 1955, the German Army is reinstated as the Bundeswehr. Looking over the BGS rifle testing, the Bundeswehr also decides to adopt the FAL, and places and order for 100,000 rifles – the “C” pattern. These include sights lowered 3mm by specific German request, as well as a set of swappable muzzle devices (flash hider and blank-firing adapter).

Ultimately, FN was unwilling to license FAL production to West Germany, and this drove the Germans to adopt the Spanish CETME as the G3 rifle, which it was able to license. The Bundeswehr G1 rifles were eventually transferred to the BGS and later sold to other allies as surplus.

Special thanks to Bear Arms in Scottsdale, AZ for providing access to this rifle for video!

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