The L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle is a Commonwealth derivative of the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle, produced under
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licence. It has seen use in the armies of Australia, Canada, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Rhodesia, South Africa and the United Kingdom for the best part of four decades and was the predominant weapon used by Commonwealth forces during the '91 Disaster.


The FAL operates by means of a gas-operated action very similar to that of the Russian SVT-40. The gas system is driven by a short-stroke, spring-loaded piston housed above the barrel, and the locking mechanism is what is known as a tilting breechblock. To lock, it drops down into a solid shoulder of metal in the heavy receiver much like the bolts of the Russian SKS carbine and French MAS-49 series of semi-automatic rifles. The gas system is fitted with a gas regulator behind the front sight base, allowing adjustment of the gas system in
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British troops with L1A1s

response to environmental conditions. The piston system can be bypassed completely, using the gas plug, to allow for the firing of rifle grenades and manual. The FAL's magazine capacity ranges from five to 30 rounds, with most magazines holding 20 rounds. In fixed stock versions of the FAL, the recoil spring is housed in the stock, while in folding-stock versions it is housed in the receiver cover, necessitating a slightly different receiver cover, recoil spring, and bolt carrier, and a modified lower receiver for the stock.
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