IWI-US has announced the release of the Galil ACE Gen II guns. For now, it seems like the 7.62×51 ACE isn’t being upgraded, but the 5.45×39 version is getting a bump to full-production status.
As you can see from the picture, there’s been some changes:
The buttstock is AR compatible.
The trigger has supposedly been upgraded.
The handguard is MLOK, and free-floated. It also looks moderately longer, but that may be a scaling trick.
No more built-in iron sights.
Upgraded safety lever.
My personal take is that this was probably a manufacturing optimization as much as an upgrade, but it is an upgrade nonetheless. Keen readers would be advised to keep their eyes open for closeout Gen I ACEs at the usual suspects.
On a similar note, IWI also recently released a minor update to the Uzi Pro, giving it a threaded barrel.
On the recent Primary & Secondary modcast 187, Matt was discussing his new DSA FAL and the general concept of taking what was an obsolete battle rifle and making it new again. I thought this was a cool idea, and decided to embark on a similar project. I have a number of relatively obsolete guns in my safe, but a fair number of them are in “mil-spec” configuration, and thus I don’t want to alter them. But I do have a Sig 556 SBR and a Sig 556R Gen2 that are basically just old “cool guy” guns from a decade ago, and thus fair game.
I took a long look at them, and what I thought needed to be improved… and did it.
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.
According to IWI-US on Facebook, the second-generation 7.62×39 Galil ACE pistol (aka, “GAP-II”) is now shipping to dealers in both standard and “brace” versions. Presumably, this model won’t have the “third pin” feature that got IWI in so much trouble last time. No word on the pistol version of the 7.62×51 ACE yet.
IWI-US has consistently promised that the ACE stock assemblies will be made available to the public by the end of the year, so your chance to build that sweet, sweet Galil ACE SBR may be coming up soon.
Speaking of upcoming releases, IWI-US also promised in the comments that we’d be seeing the 5.56×45 ACEs in early 2017. These could be a big hit, albeit the Zastava M90NP is pretty popular in the market right now…
The newest AK on the market is the “Alfa” from CAA and was revealed at SHOT 2016. GHG has an amazing article on it. It appears to be a CAA design, and has some rather radical changes from the standard AK design. It was supposedly designed with IDF personnel input, which makes sense – you can see how the stock is now inline and higher for compatibility with AR optics, and all the controls seem to be ambidextrous. It looks like a two-piece receiver design, ala the M+M M10X, but you can see that the recoil spring is still behind the bolt (unlike the Sig 556 or M10X, where it’s up front by the piston).
My only quibble is that the weight is on the heavy side – 7.7lbs. This makes me suspect it’s a chassis on top of a traditional steel AK receiver, rather than a truly re-engineered steel-reinforced polymer receiver like the SCAR-16S (7.25lbs). But it’s still lighter than a Sig 556 Classic (8.2lbs), albeit not quite as svelte as the Galil ACE (7.5lbs). Some of that additional weight might be from the huge AK-74-esque muzzle attachment, too.
There’s also a Galil-mag 5.56×45 version, which is a bit of an odd choice. As evinced by the popularity of the Zastava M85NP, the AK market prefers AR magazines when it comes to 5.56×45, and the gun itself clearly has a chassis that would lend itself to modification for AR mag use.
In any event, it’ll make an interesting competitor to the ACE, and is another Israeli rifle for “the list”.
So, some interesting news from Full30: IWI-US has quietly sent a letter to dealers asking them to send back their Galil ACE pistols, and to give them information on who they sold them to:
To whom it may concern:
Following our email of yesterday, we are instituting a recall of all GAP39 pistols.
Please pack up and return all GAP39 firearms in your inventory to IWI US. You can ship freight collect (YRC preferred).
Additionally, we will need you to provide us with the names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of all FFL Dealers and/or individuals that you sold to. We will contact them with instructions on returning guns in their inventory to IWI US along with enlisting their support in contacting all consumers for return of the guns to IWI US.
Full credit will be given for your returns while dealers and consumers will receive a full refund with submission of receipt copies.
It would be in everyone’s best interest to contact these dealers ASAP.
FYI, this is not a safety related recall, but a possible NFA violation that must be corrected.
We appreciate your support and understanding in assisting us with all facets of this recall.
EDIT: official consumer-level recall notice here. Still doesn’t say it’s a BATFE required recall.
The Galil ACE 32 pistol was recently released into the wild, with the sort of reviews you’d expect in conjunction with a 6lb rifle-caliber pistol. I am going to guess sales have not been brisk, because I’m already seeing them advertised in the ~$1425 range – which is pretty much as low as I think they’ll go without IWI reducing the MSRP. This street price is relatively competitive with the Arsenal SAM7K – the Arsenal is somewhat cheaper, but the Galil ACE 32 is a much better value when you consider the whole package.
The point here is not “go out and buy a Galil ACE 32 pistol”. I mean, sure, if you’re in the market for one, go buy one. They’ll eventually be a good SBR platform, and the price isn’t going to fall much further soon. But it also means that my guess about Galil ACE 32 rifles being around $1550 on the street is looking pretty solid. I imagine the rifles will be more popular than the pistols, but the competition is so heavy now (M+M M10X, Sig 556xi, PTR-32 Gen II, the various Zastava rifles, etc.) that I think they’ll need those heavy discounts to sell.
I guess I missed this because of high holidays, but FAB Defense has announced their 30rd AR-15 and AK magazines under the brand name of “Ultimag”. I’ve heard they’ve been in the wild for a few months, but expect a US appearance soon.
The AR mag is your standard windowed polymer magazine. I assume it is meant for export to non-US countries, given the complete market dominance of the Magpul “pmag” in the USA. FAB Defense might also try to sell them to the IDF domestically – they bought 10k CAA mags a few years back, and I suspect there’s a lot more aluminum magazines to replace given how often they become unusable due to dents.
The AK magazine is similar to Magpul’s MOE AK magazine, which is to say it doesn’t have steel-reinforced locking lugs. On the other hand, it does have a window, which makes it unique. I have had some evolution on my views of the necessity of a window on a magazine, but I admit that it’s a feature which can be construed as reasonably helpful. I am skeptical it will see much take-up in the USA, but I could see buying one for testing.
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 7.62 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.