This is the second part of my review of the differences I saw between a 7.62×51 IWI Galil Ace pistol and a typical AKM-type rifle. [Click here if you would like to open the first post in a separate window.] The following round out my observations:
AK handguards have evolved from wood to bakelite to elaborate affairs made of polymers or aluminum. In the case of the Ace, no rhyme intended, an aluminum handguard with Picatinny rail is covered by sculpted rail covers.
So, two differences to note – a unique railed handguard and it is held in position with screws vs. the traditional AK front handguard retainer.
As a personal comment, I stopped buying tri-railed handguards some time ago because they feel too fat for me once you add on rail covers. The Ace handguards aren’t too terrible but they are fat and shorter than I would like. The stock unit will be replaced by one of the excellent handguards from RS!Regulate – the GAR-9M-N model to be exact and that will be in a future post.
The Gas tube has tabs and a rail but no locking lever
This is a unique little item right here. The gas tube slides into place via tabs on the unit that mate with slots on the rear base. It does not have a locking lever like an AK does.
The top has a Picatinny rail and the whole unit is locked into place when the dust cover is installed, which pushes the gas tube forward into position. The fitment is so well done that the Picatinny rail is level all the way across the top.
Integral lower plastic assembly – grip, magazine guide
Part of the revisions from the IMI Galil to the IWI Ace was changing 12 parts from steel to plastic. To be honest, I did not hunt down all 12 and itemize each. What I did readily see was the plastic lower assembly that connects with the steel forged receiver. It has the following:
- An integral grip that has a hollow storage area
- Ambidextrous magazine releases
- An enlarged integral trigger guard
- A natural hand hold curve just forward of the magazine
Folding Brace Assembly
IWI makes two models of the 7.62×51 pistol – the GAP51 without a brace and the GAP51SB with the brace. I really just needed the GAP51 but went with the GAP51SB because the price was so good from Palmetto State Armory at the time.
What you get with the GAP51SB is an IWI designed integral folder with a 1.25″ diameter pistol tube and an SB Tactical SOB brace. The SOB part makes me smile every time I write it. So, it does give you a well designed fixed length brace and a rock solid folder.
No AK ever used Magpul magazines so I think this counts as a difference 🙂 The 7.62×51 Ace uses Magpul’s 7.62×51 PMags. You can get them in a number of sizes as well as a drum if you really want to rock and roll. I bought some 20s, 25s and one of the D50 drums. I’ve not tested the pistol yet but expect it will work great with all of them. Note, both PSA and Gun Mag Warehouse have a variety of mags and drums that will fit.
I can’t say that I’ve ever read a very good AK manual that has tons of illustrations and covers a lot of topics – operating, cleaning, trouble shooting, and a detailed parts breakdown. The IWI Ace manual really is exceptional. The PDF copy is 88 pages long!
IWI puts all of their operator manuals online – click here to visit their site.
That’s it for differences I’ve noted thus far. In the next post, I’ll share a number of reviews and videos that I watched before I purchased the unit. By the way, this pistol is amazingly well made. It’s the most impressive firearm in terms of design and execution that I’ve seen in a long time. If you get a deal on one, buy it.
- Gun Digest IWI Galil Ace Review
- Guns America Digest IWI Galil Ace Review
- Guns.com History of the AK-47
- IWI US Galil Ace Product Page
- IWI How The Galil Became The Galil Ace
- IWI USA has all of their product manuals online
- Modern Firearms AK-47 By Maxim Popenker – Max is a weapons scholar and is well worth reading or watching if you have a chance
- Shooting Illustrated Galil Ace Rifle Review
- The Truth About Guns IWI Galil Ace Review
- Wikipedia article on AK-47 rifles
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