At the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade show (SHOT) 2013, I first met the team at IWI (Israel Weapons Industries) U.S. At that time, IWI’s headquarters in Pennsylvania was relatively new and it was still trying to sort out supply chain issues with demand for their product being at an all-time high. IWI’s parent company in Israel has been around since the 1930s, but the only gun I had shot of IWI’s before 2013 was the UZI (and an early U.S. import of the Galil 5.56).
The Tavor was one of the first guns I officially reviewed, so basically have IWI to thank for getting me involved in a business that requires me to buy a new gun safe every two years. In 2018, I reconnected with IWI to try out the Tavor X95 (loved it). However, I also wanted to try out the Galil ACE in 7.62×39 (AKA the AK round) in the rifle and pistol with arm brace version. IWI’s Galil design is of marriage of the AK-47 with the Finnish Valmet RK 62.
Asking me which is a better gun between the AR and AK is like asking me which of my children I like the best. It just depends on the day (kidding, I love you all the same). Seriously, I do love 5.56 and 7.62×39. The Galil just adds to my love of the 7.62×39 round. In my youth, back when you could buy a SKS for $79.95 at a gun show, I shot more steel-case 7.62×39 than I can remember. I do recall getting those SKSs glowing orange at the end of the barrel (after we converted them to accept AK-style mags).
Those SKSs of yesteryear don’t even come close to being the quality of what IWI offers today in the 7.62×39 Galil. As with all IWI weapons, they are extremely well-built. Especially when it comes to incorporating polymer with steel, IWI has this down to a science.
I couldn’t wait to take these to the range as soon as they arrived at the shop. Again, if you follow my reviews you know I really don’t get into what brand of ammo does the best group at 200 years in August on a 100+ degree day in Ohio. All the guns I review are accurate. If they aren’t, I’ll tell you. For my review, I tested each of them with 500 rounds of Wolf steel-case FMJ 7.62×39 and had zero malfunctions.
Whether it’s the cold hammer forged or chrome-lined barrel, or glowing Tritium sights, these are quality guns made by people from a country that understand the need for a firearm to be reliable at every pull of the trigger. I will admit that I liked the pistol version with the arm brace slightly more than the rifle version. It handles like a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR), but doesn’t require the NFA paperwork. With the folding brace, this would make a great gun to take on your next camping trip. It is also a pistol, so maybe it could even be your new CCW? So, what would I change about the ACE Galil (7.62×39)?
The folding stock is not the easiest to close. I’m more accustomed to a single push button, or two finger pinch, to close a folding stock. With the Galil you have to push the pistol grip down on a hard surface while folding the stock to the right. It’s not the easiest, but also not a deal breaker for me.
The only other thing I’d change is the handguard. In the U.S., we’ve become accustom to M-Lok or KeyMod rail systems. The rest of the globe primarily uses quad-rails. The Galil incorporates Quad rails, but since they can be abrasive during rapid fire situations, IWI created inserts that slide over the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock rails when they are not in use. Although the bulky handguard does help protect your hand from heat buildup, it also visually distracts from the guns other phenomenal attributes.
A sleeker handguard would definitely be an accessory this gun deserves. Except for those two small points, I really enjoyed these guns and they will be staying as part of my collection (full disclosure, I do have to buy these, I don’t get them for free). At over $1,800 MSRP, these are not cheap, but they are well worth it.
Are you an IWI fan? Have you fired the Galil? What about the Tavor X95? Share your answers in the comment section.
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