“The New Rifle”

I came across this British newsreel from 1954. It talks about the replacement of the SMLE bolt action rifle used by the British Army in the Great War (WWI), World War II, and the Korean Way. The replacement was the British variant (L1A1) of the Belgian FAL and obviously it was big news if it made the newsreels of the day.

You do have to wonder if the US Army had adopted the FAL or its British variant, would they have kept it in service longer than the M14. As it was, the “not invented here” syndrome was still strong in the Army’s Ordnance branch in the late 1940s and early 50s.

3 thoughts on ““The New Rifle””

  1. The M-14 was in service until just recently, so that’s about 60 years.

    The British, as you mentioned, redesigned the FAL into the L1A1 by changing the metric to imperial, also making many of the parts non-interchangeable, so there’s presumably a bit of “not invented here”-ism from the British.

    As far as it’s replacement with the M-16 it is my understanding that this was a philosophical change. The M-14 was (and is) a fine battle rifle, the powers-that-be wanted a lighter, smaller caliber rifle for the troops.

    PS Hot button issue for me cause I love the M-14 and its civilian variants. Have four, three of which I built myself and they are great to shoot and very accurate. I’ve shot a couple FALs and that experience cured me of wanting one. They are clunky and not fun to shoot.

    1. Whereas I have a FAL made from an Imbel parts kit with a DSA receiver. I have always been tempted to get the HK/PTR-91 for the sole reason I have a ton of magazines for it. I think I picked up 100 of them for 99 cents each when there was talk of CMMG putting out an AR-10 that could take those mags.

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