Most of this blog’s readers are probably familiar with IWI and IMI. Some may even be acquainted with BUL Transmark. But less known is another Israeli arms producer: Israel Arms / KSN Industries.
KSN Industries made the Kareen MkII/III line, the KSN Golan (on Yugoslavian equipment), and the KSN GAL. The KSN GAL 1911 is the subject of this blog post, as it appears to have the least available information on it.
The relationship between JO Arms and Israel Arms International is rather complex. M1carbinesinc.com lays it out, and it seems like they’ve got the full scoop:
- JO Arms was the original importing company started by Richard Nahman in 1984.
- JO Israel Arms was the exporting entity in Israel.
- KSN Industries was the manufacturer in Israel.
- Israel Arms, Ltd. was another exporting entity in Israel that seems to have succeeded JO Israel Arms.
- Israel Arms International was the successor importer in the US to JO Arms, and was incorporated in 1996.
JO Arms and IAI sold the entire KSN line as described above. Later on, IAI sold Philippine-made guns, some of them under the same model number as the Israeli versions, which is rather confusing to say the least. IAI ceased advertising (and, presumably, importing) guns from KSN in 1999. I am unsure as to what direct relationship IAI and KSN really had – it seems as if KSN Industries didn’t sell guns to anyone else, so perhaps they were operating directly under Nahman’s control.
Using the Internet Archive, you can peruse the Israel Arms International website as it existed in 1998. Israel Arms website lists three variants of the KSN GAL:
- M-5000: “It is based on a forged steel frame and slide with a blue and satin finish. The slide is grooved across the top to complete this masterpiece. The M5000 comes standard with a competition trigger, hammer and slide stop. It also features wrap around rubber combat style grips. The sights are a low profile fixed three dot configuration.”
- M-6000: “Forged slide & frame, 5″ stainless steel barrel with beveled feed ramp, extended slide stop, extended safety, beavertail grip safety, extended magazine release, fixed sights, combat style hammer, rubber grips, beveled magazine well, light weight steel trigger, non-glare ribbed surface on top of slide, one 7rds magazine, and hard carrying case with a lock. Finish: blue or 2-tone.”
- M-7000: “Double Stack – Forged slide & frame, 5″ stainless steel barrel with beveled feed ramp, extended slide stop, extended safety, beavertail grip safety, extended magazine release, fixed sights, combat style hammer, rubber grips, beveled magazine well, light weight steel trigger, non-glare ribbed surface on top of slide, one 10 W/B rds magazine, and hard carrying case with a lock. Finish: blue or 2-tone.”
In reality, every example of a KSN GAL I’ve seen has the same feature set, and is only differentiated by being commander length (M-5000) or government length (M-6000). Well, that’s not entirely true – it looks like the M-6000 doesn’t have front slide serrations. The double stack M-7000 does not seem to have ever been imported, if it was ever manufactured in the first place. JO Arms also imported the M-5000 and correctly labeled it as “KSN GAL”. I am unsure if JO Arms ever imported the M-6000.
The KSN GAL comes with a relatively modern feature set for a 1911 made in the mid to late 90s. It has an extended beavertail grip safety, skeleton hammer, extended mag release, extended slide stop, extended (but not ambi) frame safety, square trigger guard, rubber grips, and an anti-glare rib. You could certainly do a lot worse for a 1911 out of the box. The only oddity I noticed was that the frame’s dust cover was a quarter of an inch or so shorter than usual. This isn’t a problem in normal operation, but did expose the spring and guide rod of the 22lr conversion I was using with the GAL.
My gun was used and had after-market grips – I’ve heard the factory grips were nothing special and have degraded over time, so I’m not too disappointed. I may eventually put some Pearce Grips on so that I’m closer to the original factory grips. Mine has a better-than-average finish, albeit I have no idea how well it would hold up to wear over time – I am a little wary of hard chrome finishes, having seen them go bad (scratches, pitting, etc.) earlier than they should.
As I mentioned above, not all of the IAI 1911s were made in Israel. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting a true Israeli-made gun is to field strip the gun and check under the slide for a Star of David. There will also be a Star of David on the barrel. You should also see a Star of David on the bottom of the frame once the grips are removed. Finally, and don’t rely on this for verification because I am not 100% certain of it, but the Israeli-made guns were the only ones with a squared-off trigger guard – the Philippines-made guns are rounded.
I’ve heard rumors that the frames were made by Norinco, based on similarities to the Norinco NP27. I guess this is possible, but the GAL was being imported long after the Chinese import ban went into effect, so this couldn’t be a matter of just using finished frames. On the other hand, there was a Norinco NP30 double stack that also looked similar to the KSN GAL, which lends some credence to the idea that IAI’s original plan was to use Norinco frames somehow.
On the range, it’s like any other modernized single-stack 1911. I am not really a .45ACP guy, but recoil and accuracy seemed acceptable. The trigger pull was good, but not exceptional. I tested it using Magtech and Speer Gold Dots, and neither had any issue feeding out of the 8rd and 10rd mags I tried.
As with KSN’s other guns, there’s nothing special here other than the Israeli connection. It’s a modernized 1911, a product which is made by roughly a zillion manufacturers these days. Quality is high, but it’s really no better than the in-production BUL 1911s you can buy from BRI or MR. But, as ever, those Star of David proofmarks add significance and meaning to what would otherwise be an unremarkable firearm.