Galil accessories are more widely-available than the platform’s popularity might suggest, but one of the accessories that’s always been a bit of a unicorn to me is the Galil Ultra kit. It was made for Galil SARs (the ones with a 13″ barrel), and used what appears to be IWI-branded CAA products to produce a product-improved Galil with more modern features (collapsible stock, accessory rails, ergonomic pistol grip). You could build one yourself by tracking down the appropriate components, but it would be missing the IWI branding (which, IMHO, is what takes it from “home-build” to “authentic”).
From a historical perspective, the Galil Ultra is more important than it might seem, as it’s one of the forebears of the current Galil ACE. The ACE is essentially a mash-up of the Galil MAR (left-hand charging handle system), the Galil Ultra (furniture), and the Magal (polymer lower piece). It is certainly interesting to see how IWI combined the best parts of these guns to create the ACE, much like they did with the Tavor and X95 to create the Tavor 7.
However, I did manage to track down the “manual” for installing the kit. It’s a simple sheet with fairly obvious instructions, but does show how relatively mature the product was. I’ve uploaded it here as a PDF for your viewing pleasure.
galil ultra side 1
galil ultra side 2
I was poking around on Gunbroker and noticed that McKay Enterprises has imported the Silver Shadow Gilboa M43 rifle to the US, and it is now available for sale at an MSRP of $1749. The Gilboa M43 is an AR-15-style rifle that takes AK mags, much like the CMMG Mk47 or RRA LAR-47. To my knowledge, this is the first AR-15 rifle ever imported from Israel to the United States. I am not sure how they deal with the 922r parts count – presumably the stock. pistol grip, and muzzle device are US made, and maybe the FCG (given that the magazine in the picture looks foreign).
The price, unfortunately, is going to be a real hindrance to sales. When I did a quick check online, the CMMG Mk47 was going for $1200, and the Mk47 has a very good reputation for the smart engineering behind it (like using the AR-308 platform as a base to enable a much beefier bolt). There’s also some stiff competition at the $1600 price range from the IWI Galil ACE 32. Without a serious price drop to $1200 to match the Mk47, I just don’t think the M43 is going to sell in any significant numbers. Good if you want a collector’s item, but probably not what Silver Shadow and McKay Enterprises are hoping for.
When I discovered that my Elbit Falcon MkII optical sight was incompatible with the M4 handguard I had on my IDF Colt Commando clone build, I decided that it would be easiest to simply buy a new CAR-15-style handguard. As this is a blog devoted to Israeli small arms and accessories, my first thought was “let’s see how the FAB Defense handguard works”. It was cheap-ish (about $25), and I liked the idea of using a handguard that an IDF soldier might think of replacing a broken handguard with. So, I bought one.
The FAB Defense HG-S carbine-length handguard is well-constructed, and has top and bottom heat shields. It looks remarkably similar to a USGI CAR-15 handguard, Unfortunately, and this will be the shortest review I’ve ever done on this blog, they didn’t actually fit on my gun. The total length of the handguard was too long, and the delta ring simply would not slide down far enough to accommodate it. Keep in mind, the upper on this gun is a genuine Colt LE6933 upper which has never had handguard fitment issues before (M4, CAR-15, Magpul MOE, etc.). I could theoretically have sanded the handguard ends down to make it fit, but bluntly, this is not acceptable as a solution. So, here’s my review: don’t buy the FAB Defense HG-S. It looks nice, but will probably have trouble fitting in-spec AR-15s.
On their Facebook page, IWI has posted an image of an X95 chambered in 7.62×51. We’ve heard rumors about the development of this rifle, but this is the first image I’ve seen of it. It appears to use SR-25 magazines, and is an interesting cross between a Tavor and an X95. The charging handle and pistol grip seem to be of the X95 type, where as the rear of the gun and the handguard seem to be from the origina Tavor. In my opinion, it’s a lot prettier than the 5.56×45 X95, and I’m looking forward to it!
UPDATE: it’s called the Tavor 7. Specs from IWI-US’ Facebook page after the jump.
Continue reading IWI-US teases 7.62×51 X95 (UPDATE: Tavor 7!)
TFB has a great blurb on the new version of the polymer Jericho that IWI just released. It apparently has an improved grip texture, no finger grooves, upgraded accessory rail, and a replaceable backstrap. None of that is revolutionary, but the replaceable backstrap is actually somewhat uncommon on CZ-75 derivatives. I assume IWI-US will be importing this new Jericho version in the future.
Speaking of IWI-US, they announced last month that the Galil ACE in 5.56 was shipping to their distributors. Fascinatingly, I have not seen any on Gunbroker, which makes me wonder exactly what happened there.
(Sorry for not having posted for a while – new job, less range time, kids, Passover, etc. I have some great content lined up, and just need to get it up online.)
If you’re in a state that allows SBRs AND you’re an X95 owner, your ship has come in.
IWI-US has announced on Facebook that the X95 short foregrip and thin buttplate are now available. The 13.5″ barrel is still on the way, but a 3″ chop from 16.5″ is unlikely to require much in the way of gas system changes. The resulting gun will not look exactly like a mil-spec X95, but it’ll definitely be a lot closer. Be warned that putting the thin buttplate on a stock 16.5″ X95 will turn it into an SBR, as it will no longer make the 26″ OAL limit.
Now, where’s the Galil ACE and Uzi Pro SBR kits? 🙂
Yes, it’s true: IWI is releasing the DAN in 338 Lapua this year, and it’ll be featured at SHOT 2017. The DAN was designed by Nehemiah Sirkis, who I like to think of as the Gene Stoner of Israel.
The press release makes it clear that IWI is offering is a premium package, coming with everything shown above besides the optic. It will be expensive: to put it in perspective, the Remington M2010 has an MSRP of $17,000 sans scope and suppressor. Street price is considerably lower, though; I’ve seen them as low as $8k on Gunbroker. The DAN doesn’t have much in the way of operational history, so I don’t think IWI will try to price it as high… still, expect street prices to be pretty stunning, and probably around $7k-$10k. It’s a beast of a gun, and weighs in at 15lbs naked, so the civilian market for this is probably pretty small, even without considering the price.
EDIT (3/10/2017): MSRP is $9,000. If street price is 82.5% of that, expect to pay about $7,500 for the rifle. With that pricing, I’m not sure who they’re going to sell to besides collectors – police snipers don’t need 338 LM performance, and the military is unlikely to use this when the Remington M2010 is already in the system. This is unfortunately going to be one of those rifles that sits new-in-box in a vault, waiting for the day it gets sold for some absurd multiple of its retail value due to rarity. Still, kudos to IWI-US for even making this available at all.