Greetings My Fellow FALophiles,
Recently, I completed the 3 day E.A.G. Carbine Operators course taught by Pat Rogers. The course is very fast paced, and is focused on fighting with the carbine from 50 yards to bad breath distances. According to Pat, the average engagement distance in Iraq is 30 meters and closer. The course required 1,000 rounds of rifle ammo and 250 pistol rounds. The point of this post is primarily how the FAL rifle performs, and operating issues in a carbine class. I am a hick Indiana factory worker not an articulate writer so bear with me.
I recommend all to read Pat's articles in the 12/01 & 7/02 editions of SWAT. These issues are available as .pdf files for $5 each. Trust me spend the scratch and read the articles.
I was the only student to use a .308 rifle. The other 23 student used AR-15/M-4s (one student used an AK for the first day then completed the course with a Bushmaster AR-15). Almost, all of the students used optics. Most were Aimpoints, a few EoTechs, a single C-more and Trijicon reflex. AFAIK, the only optic to have major problems was the reflex. The reticle became unusable in the rain. To everyone's surprise, the lone C-More survived. An EoTech had some issue, but I never found out what it was.
I used a self-built FAL.
Here's some of the details of the rifle:
DSA type I receiver
DSA lightweight alloy lower and trigger guard
18" Argentine barrel w/ silver soldered thread protector
Ergo rubber G3 pistol grip
Schnieder Machine & Tool Sling Thingy
Para rear sight
DSA Extended Selector
G1 bolt, pins, charging handle, various springs and parts
Para bolt carrier and recoil springs
ARMS #4 scope mount
A self-built 11.75" LOP buttstock
KAC verticle foregrip
LaRue Tactical Aimpoint M2 mount
Used 20 rd. Aluminum magazines
I also used a Wilderness Single Point Sling, CQB Solutions Chest Rig, Reece Gear Dump Pouch, HSG Suspenders, and a Camelbak. I was shooting Aussie '89.
The first day consists of a lecture, zeroing, carbine manipulation, and drills.
The fighting stance was used. This stance requires the feet to be pointed at the target, body square to target, elbows down at side (no chicken winging) towards the body's centerline. Both arms pull rifle back into the body. Support hand holds VFG or mag well, and dominant hand uses pistol grip. The stance works very well to control recoil. The fighting stance is based on the concept firing multiple rounds into targets quickly.
I modified my FAL to work with the fighting stance prior to the class. My FAL had an 11.75" LOP and a VFG. The fighting stance Pat teaches works extremely well at controlling recoil while delivery rapid and accurate fire at multiple targets. Pat demonstarted the stance while shooting a full auto 10" barrled M4 into the torso of a target. All shots were well placed and the rifle barely moved while being shot.
When I used the stance properly I kept up with th 5.56 shooters w/o much effort. I put slightly more lean into the rifle to manage the .308 recoil.
I ran into to a couple of problems with my FAL. First, while a short LOP works great for the fighting stance the rear sight of my FAL bashed into my glasses. Pretty much destroying the right lens of my glasses. It became so much of a problem during shooting prone I had to remove the rear iron sight from the rifle.
I am going to try a GG&G Flip-up rear sight and an extended length rubber recoil pad to overcome this problem. The FAL needs a shorter length of pull than is standard, even the Isreali buttstock is too long. I am guessing a 12.5" LOP will be far better LOP. DSA told me that if the AWB sunsets they will be making a lower receiver that accepts M4 collaspable stocks.
Second, it seems a VFG can not be placed close enough to the rear of the rifle to be useful. The VFG caused me to pull shots off to the left. I was better off gripping the mag well. I had to to wear gloves because this area of the receiver becomes very hot during rapid fire.
The second day consisted of learning to shoot from 3 kneeling stances and prone. Shooting on the move was also worked on. The fighting stance really provides a stable platform for the rifle while moving. With practice you can almost shoot as well moving as one can shooting while stationary.
On the third day, we shot a lot of NSRs. A NSR is a Non-Standard response. A NSR consists of more than 2 shots to a target w/o pause. This drill gets the shooter out of the double tap assess mindset. See Pat's article in the 9/03 edition of SWAT. We had a light to moderate rain most of the day. Within a hour or so I was soaked. We continued to shoot standing-kneeling-prone drills, assault drills, and the MEU-SOC drill. I believe due to the rain and the rapid shooting my FAL began to experince several horizontal stove pipe malfunctions. My rifle normally runs fine on the #3 gas setting (set according to the FAL manual). I lowed the setting down to #2. This did not keep the rifle from stove piping.
These were the only malfunctions I had. Of course, I jinxed myself by telling Pat on the previous day that I had never had a malfunction in the rifle, which was true. He of course just smiled.
Pat had me re-lube the rifle, and the rifle finished the day w/o anymore problems.
The FAL needs updated badly. This unfortunately is not going to happen. The AR-15 is the path of least resistance for the shooter. The AR-15 is evolving for the better.
When shooting hundreds of rounds rapid fire keep the rifle well lubricated. TWB25 works great. The oil marketed by Mpro-7 sucks.
Check the screws of your optic mount frequently. I had applied loc-tite to the screws of my LaRue mount, but a screw or two would still managed to loosen. I also had the buttstock screw loosen by day 3.
Aimpoints work very well. I didn't have any problems with my Aimpoint at all. The days were hot, humid, and it rained. No fogging in the Aimpoint. Even with a few spots of grease and a rear lens full of rain water the dot was still very usable. Shooting is just so much easier with a red dot. Use a LaRue mount.
Dump pouches are a must have for rifle classes.
Make sure your optic is properly zeroed before class. Re-confirm zero before the class. Check it again. Oh yeah did I mention to check the mount screws often? On the first day, I thought I had my optic zeroed before class and spent much of the time blaming my shooting stances for badly placed groups. It turned out I had not zero my optic correctly, and the mount screws had loosened under recoil.
The ARMS #4 mount has a serious wear issue. The ejected cases are chewing deeply into the ARMS mount. Flakes of aluminum are finding their way into the rifle action.
I would recommend .308 shooters have the ability to carry 4 magazines plus one in the rifle. I had 3 in my chest rig and 1 in the rifle. This was just barely enough. Also, I prefer to wear my chest rig low on the body to reduce interference with the single point sling and camelbak straps.
Use your gear and get it squared away before class. Get the straps taped up, and make sure straps don't follow your pistol into it's holster. Make sure you can access your gear. Don't put unnecessary BS stuff on your gear just cause you have room for it. Keep life simple.
Use a camelbak. Drink a lot of water to improve your attitude and mental focus.
Wear a bandana around your neck and use wrap around glasses blistering hot rifle brass down your shirt or next to your eye. Is not conducive to great marksmanship.
Try to improve your physical condition before class. Get used to carrying all that extra gear on you. The chest rig, camelbak, pistol, pistol mags, and rifle hanging off you. The weight wears you down. The better physical condition you are in allows you to mentally stay in the game.
If you get a chance, take a Pat Rogers class. You will learn to stay alive in a fight. The weaknesses in you and your gear can be brought to your attention now and addressed before you need it.
Special thanks to Captain Ken Campbell of the Boone County Sheriffs Department for his assistance and for making the class happen. Great job!
that's not so long
Is he ok?
Sorry hit the submit button prematurely, and I don't know how to delete a message.
excellent post G3, thanks!
sure would be interested in seeing pics of your stock (&the rest of that bada$$ rifle). i assume since you went with the para b/c you shortened the recoil tube & a standard stock? been thinking of working up a cropped-stock&tube lower with an adjustable buttplate to mate w/ my para build as as CQB lower.
i hope the CAR stock adaptor DSA is working on looks better than the VLOPSI one that's floating around.
AFA the scope mount issue goes: yes it sucks to watch your mount getting thrashed little by little and like you said you know those displaced bits have to go somewhere.......
there's been some heated discussions over on the Falfiles regarding adjusting ejector angles to alleviate those kisses and concurrent dings. haven't tried the mod yet myself, but found it interesting reading.
I agree that that the AR is nearly the total package. Lightweight, upgradeable, great platform for optics, doesn't heat up too much, compact in the CAR versions, great ergos, and pretty cheap to boot.
I love my FAL as well though. Yes, it's too long, and slightly too heavy, and the grip angle is wrong, and it heats up quite a bit, and the iron sights could be better...
But, it hits hard out to longer ranges than the AR. Also is a good optics platform with the clearly superior DSA mount, and expecially with the ACOG modified version with the ACOG...is rugged, reliable, WAAAAY easier to clean then the AR...(did I mention that it's easier to clean?) and still has pretty good ergos with a SAW grip added.
I belive that the FAL is the best of the .308 "battle rifles."
If the AR had more ooopmh it would damn near be perfect and maybe the 6.8mm will do that. Perhaps the only other addition would be an HK-type piston system.
I'm really ready for the AWB sunset so I can get back into an AR with a proper flash hider, collapsible stock, and bayonet lug.
I heard from a reliable source the 6.8mm spc is going nowhere with the military. 77 gr 5.56 is the future.
This is really unfortunate. Since, the 1930's the fighting rifle has been off the mark. .308 is too powerful and heavy for modern infantry combat. The 5.56 is too light. The 6.8 spc in a M4 sized rifle was a step forward. The reality is the 5.56 is working.
I love the FAL, but fighting at less than 50 m under is reality, 100 m rare, 300 m is fantasty. .308 is a waste of power and slows the operator down.
I have heard the DSA scope mount is superior to the ARMS, but the DSA mount looks heavy. This issue is what I meant about the FAL needing an upgrade. There is next to no invovations taking place with the FAL compared to the M4. For example, shooters need a better rail integrated hanguards and scope mounts than DSA's. There is no improvement in sight. I would like to see a totally revamped iron sight systm on the FAL, but that is never going to happen. I would like to see LaRue make a hand rail system and back-up iron sight.
What improvements would you like to see w/ the FAL?
Just my $.02
Improvements? That's a tough one. Mine is a DSA built STG58 carbine with X furniture and saw grip and DSA scope mount, bipod removed.
I would guess I'd like to see it a couple of pounds lighter, and I'd like to put a folding stock on it -next month which will also give it a para rear sight.
Excellent post, lots great info! Thanks for sharing!
Did you do many drills using your FAL with only one hand? If so how difficult was it to control your FAL?
BTW, do you have any pics of the FAL that you modified to use in this class?
A DSA tactical carbine is just slightly longer than an AR and feels much lighter than the std. length model. Std. models are indeed too long, and too heavy, especially with optics.
As for changes to the FAL, most are available now.
Grip with a better angle--SAW grip.
RIS handguards--DSA has them right now.
AR type rear sight--DSA has them--not sure how well they work though
VTLOR type stock would be nice.
Forward assist--Isreali charging handle and bolt carrier
Rail optics mount--the DSA mount is really good. It is heavy, but REALLY good. I have ~1500 rounds through my STG-58 equipped DSA ACOG mount w/TA-11 and it's not loosened one bit. It doesn't affect ejection and the only downside is the weight. My a Ti version? ($$$)
I really like the FAL platform. Mag insertion can be just as fast as the AR with practice (I regularly beat my AR equipped freinds in fast reload contests).
The DSA tactical carbine addreses most of the size and weight issues--perhaps an 18" barreled version of the carbine would be the ideal combinaton of MV and lighter weight/"handiness."
The .308 round IS heavy. No doubt. But using AL mags can help (a LOT as I've learned) as well as taking a good hard look at all of that "extra" crap you tend to carry when you aren't concerned about weight while carrying the AR.
An AL lowered, short gas system, 18" barreled, SAW gripped, VTLOR type stocked, rail uppered, AL magged, short flash hidered, FAL would be nearly the equivalent of the AR in terms of functionality and ergos, but with the heavier, larger bullet of the .308.
Even though 50-150 meters is the reality of modern warfare (but not so in "the Stan", so that's even not always true), those bullets still need to be effective against more than soft targets.
.223 does a pretty good job there, especially with M855, but AP .308 is even better. The difference of the impact crater on a steel taget for .308 v. .223(for any type of military ammo, not just AP) is apparent to anyone who sees it.
All due respect, but there are some good reasons why Pat teaches this, not the least of which is armor. If you blade your stance, you're negating the protection offered by a rifle plate. Also, the bladed stance is great for rifle competition, but for fast-moving combat shooting, squaring up to the target with your toes pointed toward the threat is far superior for agility and flexibility. If you blade up like a Highpower shooter and a target appears on your extreme left, you're fucked.
Edit: I was in Gewehr3's class, and in the next one, so I'm not talking out my ass.
Glad to see you survived back-to-back classes. I took the ITOG class last year and Tarani's portion wasted me. I'm glad Tarani is on our side. Scary man.
It's telling that men like Tarani and Rogers are some of the nicest guys I've met, and don't wear their egos on their sleeve like other instructors with speck of their qualifications.
The one reason I stick with the FAL as my primary long gun is the versatility of the .308 round. I use Hornady's TAP 155 gr. as my defensive ammo. There is 110 gr. TAP available for more indoor scenarios which fragment on construction materials and has significantly less follow up times. To a lesser degree the performance of 5.56 at the 1986 Miami Shootout colored my decision to stay with a .30. Several 5.56 rounds were stopped by limbs and did not continue into the torso. Although, in this case this was a blessing for the good guys. Mireles was struck with in the arm with 5.56 and was able to survve and end the fight.
Although, at first glance the FAL is a mismatch for a carbine class. From what I understand, these carbine ranges make-up a vast majority of real fighting. I wouldn't have the luxury of know what ranges I may have to defend myself. I needed to know how to run this rifle in the most likely ranges and conditions I would have to fight at.
When I put the rifle together I was trying to make it more ergonomic and better suited for realistic fighting. I don't believe the modifications detracts from the longer range ability of the round. Where I live a 300-400 yard shot across a corn field would be unrealistic, but I can't see it being necessary unless society really goes down the drain.
I really have to credit Dr. Gary Roberts for the FAL set-up. Go to Tactical Forums and look-up his posts concerning the M-14 and FAL.
Here's a M1A of his:
Its really simple.
If you need more ammo at closer ranges (<400yrds) use the 5.56 (223).
If you need more range >400yrds use the 308
In Somolia I would rather have an M4(223) with 500 rds of ammo
In Afganistan I would consider an M14 (308) with 200 rds
Overall, I would still take the M4 (223) because for those long range shots you can change the ammo (ie. 77g rounds). BTW in warfare you need to carry more ammo IMHO. Just think of how many rounds shot in Viet Nam actually hit the enemy. I think I heard somewhere that it was 10,000 rds to every hit. Im sure its less these days with the better training our boys get but still if you ask those guys in Somolia they would probibly agree. Anyway, at least one person in a squad should have a 308.
If you were really set on a 308 I would recommend the M14/M1A with 16 inch bbl, an Aimpoint Red dot and collapsible/folding stock and not the FAL or AR10 or HK91.
I was very interested to read your combination of Para setup and self-made stock with 11" LOP. Any pics you can show us?
I would also like to see some sort of indentation milled into the bolt carrier like on HK UMPs and the HK 33 as an alternative to a full fledged forward assist. Doing a chamber check with a FAL has to be done via the magazine.
If one just pulls the bolt back to perform a chamber check, there is a good possiblity the bolt will fail to fully close, which results in a failure to fire. The HK 91 has the same problem. If the bolt had an indentation in the bolt carrier, the operator could perform a chamber check and nudge the bolt and carrier full closed with there thumb.
I am using a Para recoil system. I removed a 3" section of the recoil spring tube and welded the two end pieces together. Using the proper angle I cut a 3" section out of an Imbel buttstock, and used fiberglass and bondo to re-join the buttstock. I don't have any pics of the set-up. I might in the near future. The LOP is 11.75" which is approxiamtes what is the popular LOP for the M4. I found this LOP too short for prone positions. I now think a 12.5" LOP would be more appropriate for a .308.
You are missing the point. My post is not addressing military usage at all. The 7.62 vs. 5.56 gunrag framed responses is why I dropped my post from the training forums. It's about using the FAL, that's it. That is why I posted in the FAL forum. Have you even read my posts?
People wonder why folks like Pat , Jeff Gonzalez, and Doc Roberts stopped posting here....
Great post & well-written (for a hick)!
Mag99 - where can an Isreali charging handle & BC be had? DSA used to have them, but not anymore.
Great post Gewehr 3. I have several questions. Did any body in your class use plan old iron sites? I know that a red dot is faster but it seems the irons would work very well. What kind of problems did the AK user have. Why did he finish with a AR, slow reloads, poor sights? Sounds like you had fun. I know that I could learn alot from such a class.
The military may have lost interest in the 6.8. After the AWB sunsets I think 6.8 will be going places. Rem is making the good stuff maybe Wolf will start making the cheap ammo. If it does take off then we will have one rifle for all occasions. That is if the 6.8 will do everything that the 308 will do?
With that said, I love the FAL/L1A1. They are just plan fun to shoot. And a good project to build. I used a STG 58 for deer hunting last season. I was hunting from a stand in thick brush and woods, close range shooting. My friend ask me if I wanted to barrow his 30-30 or shot gun since I would not be shooting very far and not need a 308. I had to remind him that 308 works well up close not just far away.
good read, Thanks!
Very interesting post.
So the next time you take one of these classes are you gonna leave the Fal at home?
I'd also love to see a pic of your Fal, sounds like a pretty good setup.
Really super interesting info in this thread.
Would really like to see the XM8 on that course compared to the M4 types.
I would still put money on the AR...
how was the vertical grip mounted to the rifle?
Gewehr3 I have to admit I'm coming in late on this thread. I was in you're class, the cop from Illinois, a couple of shooters down, on the same relay. I just finished a training cycle for my agency, and used a lot of what I learned from Pat, in my classes. I have to say that running a 308
that you built you're self in that class, I was Impressed. DVC
My DSA Carbine's rear sight scratched my shooting glasses too. This problem went away when I installed an Imbel Para sight and a long R1 stock (about 2" longer than the factory original stock). Here is what it looks like now:
I also have a comment on shooting stance; use what works for YOU rather than blindly following the doctrine promoted by "experts". For most of us, modifying our technique to accomodate body armour is pointless as we don't wear body armour ! IPSC/3-gun is an excellent forum for finding out what stance works best for you.
I shoot an L1A1 extensively in local matches. I haven't attended any 1000 round classes, but I can concur w/ the evals. Most of my shoots are 2oo-count. The FAL is robust, but it is not an M4. It'll run all day on good maintnenace, but MilSurp ammo of early vintage is not the right choice if you're betting your @$$.
I use iron (Hythe) and/or Comp ML2. I actually haven't seen a significant difference in spped w/ either. I use a 'winged' stance, so I may need to go look at that for improving my speed on the fast-breakers.
ZERO is critical, as is knowing your PBR (point-blank-range). I finally traced a bowling pin onto a target and then ran it at 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards. I KNOW where the rounds go. I know my POA for EVERY range out there, w/o worrying about what elevation choice to use
Good gear is critcal. Whatver you use is better than any pocket. FOlks show and run-n-gun, but good LBE or LBV (I use an Arktis) is critical to keeping up w/ the Jones (ARs). Just do it!
There's a guy over at The Files who says "Train Like You Fight". I concur.
Good to hear from you streetdog!
The "fighting stance" is the only stance I have seen that will allow you run a .308 at full speed, which is important at 50 yards and in. If the shooter doesn't really stay on top of the rifle, the recoil will walk you back and your stance will fall apart on multiples. Give it a chance it may work for you. I am a student of the Art. So I am always trying to find a better way.
The VFG was mounted on a Pic rail attached via T-nuts between the handguards. I may re-mount the VFG to rifle because it is more comfortable than using the mag well. A flashlight can be mounted to the rail. I just have to find a mount and light I think is light enough. I'll probably use an Insight M3.
I'll probably post some pics when I paint the rifle dark earth, and if the AWB sunsets I have Smith Vortex to stick on the muzzle. The rifle is not really not much to look at, lots of dings and scratches. The bondo and fiberglass on the buttstock is cracked and coming apart due to use. I really can't wait to see what DSA has up it's sleeve for an adjustable LOP stock. Hopefully, DSA will copy the folding AND collapsing stock I have seen on SIG rifles.
Also, I noticed when the aluminum magazines hit the deck a few rounds would jump the feed lips and eject them selves out of the magazine. I don't know if this normal for alloy mags or not. I never had this happen with steel mags.