I saw on Facebook that IWI-US is now shipping the 7.62×51 Galil ACE rifle to dealers. Their website currently only lists the GAR 1651 model, which comes with a 16″ barrel and takes SR25 magazines. Curiously, there is no mention of the 18″, 20″, or pistol variants. I would have expected the pistol variant to have beat the rifle out the gate due to import restrictions.
I suspect that the 7.62×51 version of the rifle is going to meet with much more success than the 7.62×39 version. The 7.62×39 version suffered quite a lot from comparisons to cheap Zastava and slightly-less expensive Arsenal AK rifles, and was somewhat overshadowed by the PSA KS-47 and CMMG Mutant Mk-47 rifles. Other than the VEPR-308 and Zastava PAP M77 rifles, there’s not a whole lot of competition in the 7.62×51 AK rifle market, and there’s certainly nothing that takes SR25 magazines. I also think that the market for higher-end 7.62×51 rifles is somewhat more robust (as evinced by the SCAR-17’s continued sales at $2600). If the street price lands at $1700-$1750, it will be competitive with higher-end 7.62×51 modern sporting rifles.
Personally speaking, it’s certainly the most appealing ACE to me, but I’d prefer it with a 20″ barrel.
According to a Facebook post by IWI-US, the Galil ACE release has been delayed:
As all of you know, we have been seriously delayed in bringing the Galil ACE to market. Suffice to say that we believe it is better to delay deliveries if a problem is discovered, rather than bring the product to market prematurely. (Most of the issues encountered were in converting full auto to semi-auto configuration.) In any case, here is our revised delivery schedule (which could still be modified if necessary):
Galil ACE pistol in 7.62x39mm – September, 2015
Galil ACE pistol w/Stabilizing Brace, 7.62x39mm – October, 2015
Galil ACE rifle, 7.62x39mm – late October/early November, 2015
Galil ACE pistol in 7.62 NATO – January, 2016
Galil ACE pistol w/Stabilizing Brace, 7.62 NATO – February, 2016
Galil ACE rifle, 7.62 NATO – March, 2016
Galil ACE 5.56 NATO – 2nd Quarter 2016
We apologize for these delays, but again, we want to make sure that what we bring to market meets our standards and your expectations.
I am not surprised, given the delays the Tavor and Uzi Pro had. I am also slightly skeptical of the reasons given, too – converting AK platforms to semi-auto is a well-known problem that is easily solved by widely-available parts. The parts diagram of the Galil ACE that I’ve seen doesn’t really seem to suggest that the FCG is any different than the Galil’s, either. Personally, I would theorize some sort of import-related issue, especially with the suggested uncertainty of even this revised delivery schedule.
On the other hand, this is good news in the sense that the pistol version is going to be out in 2-3 months, in time for the holiday buying season. That should be good news for the IWI-US bottom line.
While I would probably take any review from a national defense industry publication with a grain of salt, I just found an older article from Israel Defense that reviewed the new-ish 7.62×51 Negev NG7. Spoiler alert: they liked it a lot.
But, in fairness, the NG7 sounds like a hell of a gun. The NG7 is lighter than an M249 SAW, while packing a significantly bigger punch (7.62×51, instead of 5.56×45) and being far more comfortable to carry and hold.