Category Archives: Israel

Videos: Three Good Documentaries on The History of the Israeli Uzi – 2024 Edition

2024 edition prologue: I had to revise my list of Uzi videos to reflect one that had been removed from Youtube and two that were added.

As part of my research into the iconic Israeli Uzi, I found these videos that do a very nice job providing background on the political climate driving the need for the Uzi.  For fans of the Uzi, these may give you some appreciation for the forces that shaped it.

The second video is a great one from Ian of Forgotten Weapons:

And one more video:

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The Best Reference Book On Uzis

I recently wrapped up building a semi-auto Israeli Uzi in 9mm.  At the start, I researched about this iconic submachine gun and guys kept mentioning that I should get the book “The Uzi Submachine Gun Examined” by David Gaboury.  I ordered a copy from Amazon and must say I was very impressed. [Click here for Amazon’s page for the book].

Mr. Gaboury does an exceptional job giving the reader the historical context of what was going on in Israel with its fight for independence, the plethora of firearms they were using and then search for a new submachine gun.  Of course, this culminated in the creation and evolution of the Uzi design by Uzi Gal.

From there he covers the evolution of the weapon with the Mini Uzi, the Uzi Carbine, Uzi Pistol/Micro Uzi, Ruger MP9 and the Uzi Pro.  The book was published in 2017 and its coverage is very current.

One thing I did not know was how widespread the adoption of the Uzi was and Mr. Gaboury provides coverage of its use in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, China and other countries.

He then covers a number of other topics in the book that I’ll skip for the sake of brevity.  For me, the last section of the book was very, very helpful where he provides significant detail on the weapon including:

  • Operation, Disassembly and Specifications
  • Parts Identification
  • Magazines
  • Accessories

Being new to Uzis, his coverage of the firing cycle, fire control group and how it all comes together in the grip frame (what some call the “grip stick”) was worth the price of the book all by itself.  For me, it was really the history and this last section the detailing of the operation and assembly that were hugely worthwhile.  I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the iconic Uzi.

Click here for the order page on Amazon to learn more and/or order the book. It has 68 ratings and is 4.8 starts – it’s very good!

Also, click here for a page that links to all of my Uzi posts for easier naviation.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

My Galil Ace .308 DMR

Okay, I wrote about Galil Ace .308 Pistol some years back and it got sold at some point to fund other projects. However, when I sell firearms it’s not that there was any problem – like tons of other projects, I finished it, learned from it, got bored of it and sold it … that’s my usual progression for 99% of the firearms I buy. At any rate, some time last year it really dawned on me that the hands down best factory manufactured rifle that you can buy in the US today are the Galil Aces. I’m sure someone will argue with me but the evolution of the design that they did is remarkable regardless.

This is the original 308 Galil Ace before updates. I took the photo right as the sun was going down so everything had a bit of an orange hue to it.

RS Regulate Handguards

So, I bought a .308 Galil Ace rifle knowing I would get rid of the handguard. Yes, the factory one is functional but it is way too fat for me I prefer a long narrow one aluminum handguard. Even before I bought the rifle, I knew I would get one of RS Regulate’s GAR-14M-N handguards. The biggest problem you will run into with an RS Regulate product is finding one – his scope mounts are the best out there and the handguards are excellent as well. As a result, you may have to hunt around. I found one in grey thinking I would refinish it but the contrast actually looks pretty cool so I am running with it.

The original handguards do have rails under those covers but the combination is too fat for my taste.
This is the RS Regulate GAR-14M-N handguard in Desolation Grey. Installation is very straight forward and instructions are provided.
The two short screws and spacers are for attaching the handguard to the barrel. The long screw is for the rear. Install the rear end cap before you install the rear screw. Use blue Loc-tite on all. Use needle nose pliers to hold the spacers in place when you side the side screws into the handguard and on to the barrel.
The end cap goes to the bottom rear of the handguard and sits on the inside. Two additional short screws are in another bag for it. See the long needle nose pliers at the top? Something like them will enable you to install the spaces very easily.
This is the end cap right before I installed the screws.

Vortex PST II Scope

Because of the accuracy reports (1 MOA-ish) I also planned on getting a decent scope to make the Ace a designated marksman’s rifle (DMR). To explain, a DMR is a supporting rifle that usually has better accuracy and/or reach than the rest of the squad but it typically doesn’t have the accuracy of a true sniper rifle. From what I read, the Galil Ace would fill a DMR role no problem so I wanted a scope with a decent range starting with a low value so I would have a decent field of view (FOV). What I bought was a Vortex PST II 3-15×44 — first off, Vortex is my favorite scope maker and second, the second generation PST scopes are very clear and have good light transmission. I purposefully did not go with a 50mm objective because while it does pull in more light all things being equal, I didn’t want an topic standing up a mile above the receiver either.

American Defense Scope Mount

I’ve become a scope mount snob over the years after having a ton of problems with cheap ones – screws stripping out, moving on the rail, letting the scope move, quick release levers that bend on break off, crappy finishes, etc. To be honest, I am done with the cheap ones. My go to for scope mounts is American Defense – I also use the offset Vortex mounts that are also made by American Defense.

Why American Defense? They are solid quality all the way through – they are everything the cheap ones are not and have never let me down. So, yes, I will pay a premium for them and be happy about it. For this build and the smaller objective, I used a AD-Recon-X-30-STD.

This is an American Defense AD-Recon-X-30-STD scope mount with quick release levers. Excellent quality.

In Case You Are Wondering – Why .308?

Well, I am done adding yet another caliber and had a good selection of range and match .308 ammo that I can try out. When I do take this to a range, I’d like to find out what this particular rifle likes and buy more. By the way – for folks relatively new to firearms – you will find out that some ammo works great in one firearm and horrible in another so always experiment and find out what load your rifle likes. Handloaders spend hours agonizing over every possible details to find the round that works best at a given range and situation.

The Result

It came out pretty cool – I thought I would refinish the grey but it grew on me.

In Closing

The .308 Galil Ace is pretty slick. I really like the components I picked and now need to find time to go to the range. I will be adding a Magpul bipod before then as well.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

How to Replace An IMI Galil Recoil Spring

I have written a number of posts now about my purchase of a James River Armory Gallant, which is a Galil ARM. During function testing, I noticed that the surplus recoil spring that JRA used was on the weak side. I would pull the bolt carrier back just a bit and the spring couldn’t push it all the way closed.

Other ways you may find out your spring is weak is if it is ejecting brass a mile away, the recoil feels different or the back of the carrier is showing signs of hitting the rear of the receiver. I always function test new rifles or kit builds that I have done and would recommend you do the same.

What to do?

The fix is real simple – replace the old surplus spring with a new one. Now there is some confusion about the recoil spring because the Galil AR, ARM and SAR rifles are chambered in 5.56 NATO. They do, in fact, use a standard AKM recoil spring even though those rifles are chambered for 7.62×39. This means you have a ton of options – surplus, new old stock (meaning old but unused usually), plus new springs from ALG, Wolff, etc. In my case, I had spare ALG recoil springs on-hand used one

The Galil recoil assembly is above and the brand new ALG spring is below, still in it’s packaging.
The recoil spring assembly may look challenging to take apart but it is actually very simple. The rod is two pieces, the spring and then the retaining end cap. If you remove the spring pressure from the end cap, it slides right off the rod and everything comes apart. NOTE – the spring is under tension so keep everything under control or you will be chasing parts and you do not want to lose that little retaining end cap.
I usually hold the rear of the assembly in a vise, use one hand to compress the spring and then the other to remove the retainer. You can the release the tension in the spring in a controller manner. If you don’t use a vise, you’ll wish you had three hands. Note, some guys will use small vise grip pliers with rubber tube or electrical tape on the jaws to clamp down on the rod with the spring slightly pushed back. They then remove the retainer and control the release of the spring as they remove the vise grips. Whatever works for you is fine. I go with the vise route and not the pliers because I don’t want to risk deforming/marring the surface of the rod.
This is a photo of the retaining end cap and the end of the guide rod. See how the rod is notched? The end cap just slides right on and the spring sits on the retainer holding it in place. It’s elegant in its simplicity.
At the top is the original spring. The lower spring is the ALG unit. Note the interesting “dead” center with the spring coils that are right next to each other. ALG says “The 2 to 3 dead coils in the center change the natural frequency of the spring, which prevents harmonics from damaging the spring and reducing its free length.” It’s interesting – we’ll see how it holds up.
The Galil’s use a tube recoil rod that I really like. The older milled AKs used them until switching to a cheaper and easier to make linkage of two bent wires. Many RPKs still use the tube style. I tend to think it creates a more consistent return but not everyone agrees with me and that’s fine. I don’t have a mountain of collected data from experiments to support my hunch. Regardless, to re-assemble the recoil rod assembly, I use this long center punch to support the inner rod as I compress the wire. Any object small enough to fit in the rear tube to support the front rod would work.
So you push or pull the wire back as you apply pressure to keep the inner rod slid out forward.
Here I have the spring easily held back and have placed the retaining cap back on. I then just guided the spring back into position and ensured it was sitting square on the end cap.
Here the end result. The newly assembled unit is to the top. A recoil spring assembly from a Galil SAR kit is under it for comparison and the old original spring is at the bottom.

In Summary

It’s easy to swap out the recoil spring and the rifle functions great with the ALG unit. Definitely function test your rifles before going to the range the first time to avoid surprises.

I hope this helps you out.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Cleaning and Tuning IMI Galil 5.56 Magazines

I have written a number of posts now about my purchase of a James River Armory Gallant, which is a Galil ARM wherein they provided a new US made receiver, barrel and pistol grip. They wanted to keep their costs down so the remaining three parts they needed for 922r compliance was to use a US-made Tapco Galil Magazine that is polymer and looks nothing like the original not to mention they are no longer being made!

The top mag is a polymer Tapco and the bottom is an original IMI surplus 35 round mag.

I wanted to use IMI surplus steel 35-round magazines that not only are the authentic ones to use but they are abundantly available. That meant I had to replace three more parts on the Gallant and the easiest is to swap the original Galil fire control group (the hammer, trigger and disconnector) with a US made group. The ALG AKT-EL is perfect for the job so I ordered one from PSA and installed it (click here for the big blog post I did about it). Next up was to source, clean and tune some original IMI Galil Mags, which is what this post will be about.

Finding the Mags

You can find surplus steel 35 round IMI Galil mags all over the place at websites that deal with surplus and gun parts. I bought all of mine from Numrich and they are in great shape at a fair price but you can also find them at Apex Gun Parts, Robert RTG, Aim Surplus and other places.

Numrich is a good firm to deal with. A few days after I ordered, a box showed up with my mags. Keep reading through because you do need to do some work.

Cleaning and Lubricating

Ok, these are surplus and they have been moved all over. Most feel like they have something on them for corrosion and are sticky. Some have a slightly dirty feel as dust and what not have stuck to the surfaces.

Do NOT try to use the magazines as-is. Take a few minutes to clean and lubricate them.

The bottom piece of sheet metal is the floor plate. Put a small blade screwdriver in the right end and pry while pushing down the locking tab you see sticking out in the middle. With the tab out of the way the base plate will come off and then the spring loaded internals are going to come flying out. To avoid this, pull the floor plate off about half way and then use your free hand to secure the internals as you remove the floor plate the rest of the way.
Once you have them all apart. you’re going to have a table like this.
I cleaned everything with brake cleaner and let it dry.
The parkerized finish did not let the follower slide as easy as I would like so I coated the inside of the magazine, follower, and spring with Super Lube Dri-Film Lubricant. Basically it is a PTFE (Teflon) in a solvent. So, you spray it on, the solvent evaporates and a film of PTFE remains. I like this because it lubricates without attracting dirt.
The white are the PTFE particles left after evaporation. All you need to care about is the inside. This is just extra that leaked out and I thought it would help to show what it looks like. Super Lube sounds like an infomercial brand but their lubricants are really good. The PTFE made a remarkable difference in how smooth the follower moved. Parkerized surfaces are rough and either they need to wear in or have something like PTFE to help.
To clean them up and make them look nice, I apply silicone spray and then wipe it off with a towel. I then let them evaporate for a while.

Fitting the Mags

Out of the eight mags I bought, three of them needed some help as they would not seat fully. In these cases, modify the magazine. If you told me none fit, I would look at the mag catch but in this case most fit so the issue was the mags.

I did not have a problem with any feed lips. The problems were all with the strip of sheet metal that is holding the mag catch tab. If you look close, it’s the strip hitting the receiver that is blocking seating the mag fully.
To resolve the issue, I used a small flap sander on my Dremel and put a beveled edge on the strip where it was hitting. Problem solved.

To do any testing with dummy rounds – not live rounds. I use A-Zoom brand dummy rounds, just FYI and I also was using my surplus steel Galil mags at this point because my 922r parts count was being met thanks to the new fire control group.

To test, I loaded up 10 of the blue A-Zoom snap caps and made sure they would cycle. In terms of hand feeding and extracting, I have to say JRA nailed it. The action was smooth and the Gallant fed from the surplus mags just as smoothly as the Tapco mag.

The mags look and function great as a result. Some of the mags did require some fitting so let me explain that next.

In Summary:

I can now use surplus mags like I wanted thanks to the ALG fire control group and these cleaned up mags. I hope this post helps you out.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Function Testing an IMI Galil / JRA Gallant

Let me open with this comment:

ALWAYS Function Test Before You Go To The Range With a New or Modified Galil or AK Rifle or Pistol!!

Seriously – don’t wait to go to the range to do this. You can find out a lot of things at home with all your tools and supplies on hand vs. being somewhere wishing you were home.

Before function testing, I clean and lube the rifle. I like to use Super Lube grease during break in on all sliding surfaces and a few drops of Super Lube liquid lubricant on anything that rotates.

Use whatever your favorite bore cleaner is to clean out the barrel and the chamber. You will be surprised to see all of the dirt / dust / junk that comes out of a new barrel. Just because a given weapon is “new” does not mean it is clean.

Function Testing

First, I just test the mechanism without mags or dummy rounds. You can find out a lot by doing this and I do it without the dust cover on so I can see what is going on:

  1. Pull the bolt bolt carrier back and let it go. It should slam home without binding or sticking. If it does, try cycling the action 10-20 times and see if it smooths out. Some guys will cycle their AK a couple of hundred times before the range to smooth things out. I tend to find they are okay after a few dozen cyclings with lubrication or I need to take it apart and fix something such as a burr or rough surface.
  2. Pull the trigger, you should see it be released and it should firmly whack the firing pin. If it seems lame, the spring may be worn out or broken. I would recommend converting over to an ALG fire control group (PSA sells a custom version of the ALG-EKT that will work fine in any Galil or AK rifle – they are in stock and at a great price) and replace both the hammer and disconnector springs (the ALG will come with the disconnector spring but not the main hammer spring. ALG sells them and that’s what I use but I prefer the double wound spring model vs. the single spring unit they also sell. The Russians went with a double or “spiral wound” spring to increase the fault tolerance risk of a single spring breaking).
  3. Something unique to Galils is that they have a spring loaded firing pin whereas regular AKs just have a floating firing pin in the bolt body. You can get into arguments about this one. AKs work fine without a spring but you do have a risk of a pin sticking out or slamming home with enough force to cause a sensitive primer to detonate and cause a misfire. Thus some like putting a spring in the bolt that forces the firing pin backwards to reduce the odds of a misfire. Others will argue there is more risk of debris causing the spring to jam or the spring itself breaking and jamming the pin. Folks, this is like arguing Chevy vs. Ford – you aren’t going to convince a staunch believer of one side or the other that you are right and he is wrong. The Galil is not the only firearm design to do this and they work just fine. At any rate, just make sure the pin does not stay stuck out on a Galil. You should be able to push the exposed firing pin at the back of the bolt and both see and feel it freely move.
  4. Next, cycle the bolt carrier to cock the hammer, engage the safety lever next to block the trigger and try to squeeze the trigger – you should not be able to pull the trigger and have it fire. If you can then you will need to adjust the gap between the trigger and safety bar. With the ALG, this means you trimmed off too much, need to remove the first roll pin and start over with the second. If you don’t have an ALG, you will need to decide if you want to weld on some material onto the trigger leg or safety bar and then trim to fit.
  5. This next one tests the disconnector – with the trigger pulled back, cycle the action and you should see the hammer get caught/captured by the disconnector. When you let go of the trigger, the hammer should switch from the disconnector to the front hammer hooks on the trigger. This is a fascinating display of geometry. Now, if the disconnector does not catch the hammer or release it, you may need a new disconnector spring or have forgotten to install the spring.

Photos of the Bolt

This is the rear of the unique Galil spring loaded firing pin. Other AK variants do not have this. Put a drop or two of oil on the back side and let the lubricant run in. When you push on this button, it should depress and return smoothly and easily. If it sticks, it needs to be disassembled, inspected and cleaned to be safe. The reason I bring this up is that if the other end of the pin is sticking out of the bolt face, it will fire a primer when the bolt slams into a cartridge at some point of the feeding process.
I make sure the extractor at the top can move freely in and out. It has a fairly stiff spring in there so a cartridge’s rim slides against the ramped face of the extractor pushing it out of way until it snaps back into the slot of the extractor slot of the 5.56 NATO cartridge. Note the brass coloring. The Galil ARM parts kit that JRA used to assemble this Gallant saw a lot of use. I did headspace it also just to be safe and it was properly headspaced by JRA.

Next, do the above with magazines and with dummy rounds – not live rounds. I use A-Zoom brand dummy rounds, just FYI and I also was using my surplus steel Galil mags at this point because my 922r parts count was being met thanks to the new fire control group.

Comments about the above:

  • When it comes to step one above, I want to see the dummy round get stripped from the magazine and be fed up into the chamber nice and smooth. I will do this 10-20x to make sure it looks good. Things that can mess this up are: magazine not seating fully, bent magazine feed lips, no bullet guide installed, needing a slight radius at the start of the chamber to help line up cartridges, or if you bent the receiver while building or using the rifle (I’ve done both over the years so it happens.
  • When I am cycling the rifle, does it stall/slow down at any point during the feeding of the ammo? Guess what? The Gallant failed this – the old surplus spring was too weak and I replaced it with an ALG spring – (Any AKM spring will work even though the Galil is 5.56 NATO and the AKMs are 7.6×39).

I then Install the dust cover and make sure that nothing is binding. At this point, your rifle should be good for testing at the range. Always, always, always test combinations of ammo and magazines on a given weapon before you rely on them. Do the function testing and take them to the range.

I hope this helps you out.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Replacing the IMI Galil / JRA Gallant’s Fire Control Group with a New ALG AKT-EL set

The AR, ARM and SAR IMI Galil rifles use an AK-style fire control group. I didn’t include the little Micro Galil as I am not sure about them. For the others though, this means you can swap out the IMI-designed group for the AK group of your choice.

I needed to do this because my JRA Gallant (which is a kit assembled rifle using an IMI Galil ARM kit) came with a single Tapco plastic Galil magazine and I wanted to use steel surplus magazines. Now, there is a regulation known as 922r that requires a foreign rifle not approved for importation into the US (read that as military style weapons typically like AKs, Uzis, etc.) certain number of American made parts to be legal based on a list the ATF came up with. In the case of the Galils, you need to replace 6 parts.

The Gallant has American made: receiver, barrel, and pistol grip. The Tapco magazine gave it the other three. To use the surplus mags, I needed to replace another three – the trigger, disconnector and hammer. I like ALG triggers and while I prefer the Ultra, the Enhanced trigger is still really good. Let me give you a tip – you can get a great deal on enhanced ALG triggers from Palmetto (PSA).

The Thumb Selector

There are two unique parts to the Galil design that you need to bear in mind. First, the thumb selector lever is actually connected to the selector lever inside the receiver. This leads us to the second item – because of the thumb lever, the very popular fire control group plates can’t be used to secure the hammer and trigger pins so don’t lose whatever wire retainer comes with your weapon. If you do lose/need one, get a Dissident Arms AK retaining wire.

Starting from the right edge of the receiver, you can see the grip nut on the bottom. The selector lever and thumb extension are two parts located above it. You can then see selector, and the hammer retained by the twin hooks of the trigger. Note the two part springs IMI used – in an AK, there is a single fire control spring that does double duty to both handle the hammer and the trigger. With the Galil, the hammer spring is a twisted wire design but there is a unique dedicated trigger spring. Purely from a redundancy perspective, I prefer the braided AK spring the handles both. I am not too sure how the Galil design would fair if the trigger spring failed on one side. It is secured on both trigger forks independently so…. not sure how well it would work if one side failed.

Remove the IMI Group

First off, remove the dust cover. Next, remove the recoil spring and bolt assembly. You can then look down right at the innards of the rifle.

The dust cover is off and you can see the recoil spring assembly and the back of the bolt carrier. Both of these plus the pistol grip will need to be removed so you can then remove the selector lever, thumb selector and, finally, the fire control group.

Remove the pistol grip by unscrewing the grip screw on the bottom. You can then have enough room to swing the selector lever so the notch in the receiver will allow you to remove the lever from the left side.

To remove the hammer and trigger pins, you must first remove whatever retaining wire the builder used. JRA used this really elegantly simple retaining wire where you push it up off the hammer pin and then can push it back and remove it from the trigger pin.

The retaining clip’s front edge is just to the right of the braided hammer spring. I inserted a small screw drive and pried upward and the clip came right off. Now not all builds use this same type of clip but it is wonderfully simple.
This is a close up of the retaining wire and one of the fire control group pins. The pins are the same for the hammer and the trigger. The rear of the retainer that looks like a semi-circle goes into the trigger pin’s groove and then the wire is rotated down and pressed onto the hammer. The small lip on that part allows the pin to flex and snap into place into the groove of the hammer pin. It’s really quite elegant. Yes, I realize my bench cover is messy.
Last photo of the retaining wire. It also gives you a good look at the really beefy double hook trigger that the Galil uses. If it weren’t for 922r, I would have left it in. Note the orientation of the hammer spring.

You can either remove the hammer first and then the trigger or vice versa because the springs are independent. I removed the hammer first .

Here’s the hammer. Note the short dedicated spring. If installed, the legs would be rotated clockwise 180 degrees.
The hammer face is polished smooth allowing for the bolt carrier to pass over it very easily. I suspect the JRA builder did this because it is uniform. When forearms “wear in” and the parts get to know each other, you see a polishing of sorts. If this was done by wear then it is surprisingly uniform. Again, if it weren’t for 922r and my wanting to use surplus mags, I would have run with it.
After having a few “where did that part go?” moments over the years, I now use magnetic trays and put small parts in them. I have a variety of sizes that I’ve picked up over the years and they really make keeping track of parts easier.
For whatever reason, IMI opted to use a single strand wire for the trigger. It’s fairly fault tolerant – if one side breaks the other would still provide some function but I do find it an interesting departure from the typical AK where the legs of the hammer spring provide the pressure to reset the trigger. At any rate, the spring shown goes into a small hole in the trigger on each side.
To remove the spring, use a small blade screwdriver. Insert the head between the wire and trigger and twist to remove the spring from the hole. Do this on each side and then the trigger pin can be pushed out. The pin will be under tension so don’t try beating on it before you release the spring.
Here’s a good look at the trigger group. Top left is the trigger. It is a double hook design (meaning it has a hook on each front side to grab the hammer). You can see one of the unique holes drilled in the hook to hold the trigger spring. To the right of it is the unique IMI Galil trigger spring – single wound. In the middle is the disconnector and the spring is still in the body – those can weaken over time. At the bottom is the trigger axis pin.

Install the ALG Group

Despite the unique springs in the Galil, any AKM (AK Modern) fire control group will work in there – Tapco, Fime, ALG, etc. Right now, my favorite AK triggers are from ALG.

As a bit of background, ALG is the sister company of Geissele Automatics who make my favorite AR triggers. ALG are the initials of Amy Lynn Geissele (the wife of Bill Geissele who founded Geiselle Automatics). ALG was founded in 2012.

At any rate, ALG makes two AK triggers and both count towards three 922r parts (hammer, disconnector and the trigger each get one point). The AK Trigger Ultimate with Lightning Bow (AKT-UL) is hands down my favorite. It’s light, crisp and my preferred trigger for a designated marksman’s rifle (DMR) build.

When I can’t find or afford the AKT-UL, I use the AK Trigger Enhanced with Lightning Bow (AKT-EL). It’s still far, far better than the typical OEM AK trigger and works just great for normal AK builds. Normally you can find these triggers very easily but not right now – at least not from most normal suppliers who carry them unless you are willing to sign up for in stock notifications and wait.

COVID-19 variants, democrats handing out free money incentivizing people not to work and continued panic buying have just snarled supply chains everywhere. Trying to find some parts can just be a bear an ALG triggers for an AK are a good example but I am going to let you in on a little secret.

As I mentioned earlier, Palmetto State Armory (PSA) buys tons of modified ALG triggers for use in their various AK pattern rifles plus they make the triggers available for sale on their website (click here to go to the PSA page). These triggers work just fine in other AKs and in Galils. Not only are they almost always in stock – I can’t think of a time they were not when I needed them. Folks, you can’t beat that. Bottom line, that is what I am running in my JRA Gallant and it ought to work in any Galil build.

This is the PSA version of the EKT-UL. It runs just fine in a Galil/Gallant.
To help smooth things out, I always put a rubberized polishing bit in my Dremel and polish all surfaces that will make contact – the area on the hammer where the hooks and disconnector grab, the bottom of the hooks and the bottom of the disconnector. I can’t stress this enough – you just want to lightly polish. You absolutely do NOT want to remove material or you will likely mess up the functioning of the trigger. Never use sand paper. I like rubber polishing bits but felt bobs with polishing compound work also.
The fastest lowest stress way to install an AK trigger is to use a slave pin during assembly. You put the spring in the disconnector, position the disconnector in the trigger and then push in the slave pin told hold it all together. Then, when you install the actual trigger pin with the assembly in the rifle, the slave pin exits the other wise as it is pushed out by the trigger pin being inserted. It just so happens that we make and sell them. Click here to go to our store’s page.
In case you aren’t familiar with AKs, note the orientation of the hammer spring. It can be a bear to install due to the torque the spring is generating. The legs of the spring set on the back legs/bars of the trigger.
By the way, here’s a little trick for you when you do install a hammer – use a small zip tie to secure the legs of the spring in the proper orientation. Get the hammer in place with the pin installed and then cut the zip tie. Note the positioning of the spring in the photo above so you can zip tie it accordingly.
One thing with the ALG triggers, they supply you two roll pins in case you need to adjust the gap between the back leg of the trigger and the selector/safety lever. The hole you see above and to the left of the disconnector is where the roll pin goes if you need it. I installed the hammer and trigger and tried testing. Without the pin, like you see it right now, the safety does not sufficiently block the trigger and it will fire. In other words, it needs the pin or there will be no safety mechanism.
The fastest way I have found to install that roll pin is to tap it far enough to start and then fully seat it with a vise. You can do whatever you’d like. It will need trimming from here.
You can use a file, sanding drum or whatever to remove enough material so the height of the pin allows the safety bar to move into position easily but also no longer allows the trigger to move enough to release the hammer. The ALG trigger comes with two pins just in case but my recommendation is to just take your time, remove a little and test over and over until it fits just right. You can’t tell from the photos but I think it took me around six tries to get it to fit right. Don’t rush is the message.
I like the design of the Gallan’t fire control pin retaining wire clip so I used that. Normally with AKs, I use plates but the big Galil does have a unique non-operating/left-side to accommodate the thumb lever so a normal plate will not work. Again, I like the clip JRA made and used it (I still use it actually).

Now, there is one gotcha and I want you to know right now very clearly before you pull your hair out. The ALG trigger is slightly wider so the leading edge of the original IMI Galil grip will cause it to bind. I did all the testing without the grip and then when I installed it, the trigger no longer worked right. Seriously, I had a WTF moment because this does not happen on AKs … then I remembered the long part of the Galil grip and sure enough it was preventing the trigger from rotating freely.

It’s an odd angle but you can clearly see where the grip was causing the ALG to bind. I just removed a bit of material from that leading edge and it was good to go. In hindsight, I could have used a drum sander on a Dremel and just removed material from the inside edge where the problem was. I used my belt sander and that’s the only reason I removed material all the way across. I’ll go the Dremel route next time.


So that’s an overview of installing the ALG fire control group in a Galil. It’s really straight forward and other than few small unique features of the Galil, it’s a straight forward swap just like any AK.

Up next, I will go over cleaning the surplus Galil mags and getting them ready.

Note, I will do a function testing post also – always clean, lube and function test a Galil or AK before you take it to the range to avoid surprises.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

My First IMI Galil Kind Of – First Impressions of My New James River Arms Gallant

I have wanted to build an IMI Galil from a kit for years and just never got around to it.  One thing that kept me from jumping in was that I had never really dug into the design deeply by taking one apart and looking at everything.

In 2006, like a lot of guys, I read the late Steve Matthews great article in Firearm News about building your own AK rifle or pistol.  For whatever reason, the AK building bug bit me hard and I wound up with a number of barreled Romy-G kits along with flats, rivets and tools from AK-Builder.

I read everything I could and guys kept telling me you “just gotta dig in, do it and learn”. Well sir, I did. I trashed my first flat or two – I think I messed up the bend on one and the other I ruined the top rails as I didn’t cut them right. Yes, back in those days we had to put Dykem Blue on the top rails and scribe a line to cut to using a layout jig AK-Builder eventually came out with.  I messed up a lot and I learned a lot. 

A fair amount of the mistakes were caused because I had never really studied AKs prior to trying to build my first one. Over the years I have learned a ton more but one lesson sure has stuck with me – it’s way easier to build something if you have first had experience with the design including disassembly.

Fast Forward To December 2020

Everyone was in a panic buying everything firearm oriented in sight and I was trying to figure out whether to make the slightly sideways leap from AK designs that I knew to a Galil that was based on the Finnish RK.62 and had a screw in barrel (not pressed and had to be headspaced, the extractor cut and barrel populated later), some wierd looking thumb selector (no idea what that linkage was going to look like) plus I was sure I would run into other little unque surprises.

So I took a rather odd gamble.  Other than custom shops, like the amazing Jeff Miller at Hillbilly Arms, there are two shops cranking out IMI Galil clones using original Galil ARM and AR kits married to new US barrels and receivers.  ATI and their Galeio and James River Armory (JRA) and their Gallant, which uses Galil ARM kits.  Note, they are using new receivers and appear to have corrected issues they had with their earlier 2019-ish models.

The JRA seemed to get good reviews and was affordable around $1,000.  Now, a receiver will run you $400-500 once you include S&H plus your FFL’s transfer fee.  A barrel will run you $99-199 depending on what you get and then you will spend another $300-400 for a kit.  All of a sudden, looking at that JRA rifle as a parts kit became really attractive plus they use an 18″ 1:9 twist that can stabilize up to 62 grain M855 “green tip” bullets – actually it can go up to 72 in theory but I wanted to be able to shoot M855.  The original Galil’s had 1:12 twists that could stabilize the older M193 55 grain rounds but not M855 – when you see targets where guys fired M855 rounds through a 1:12 Galil barrel, the bullets often “keyhole” or hit sideways.  So, the 1:9 twist rate really appealed to me.

Apparently JRA has an exclusive distribution agreement with Classic Firearms. It’s interesting really – Classic has a number of Gallant models and their description is actually quite thorough in hindsight – Classic was sold out but I turned on notify for the Gallant models I was interested in and maybe 2-3 weeks later I got a notice that one was back in stock so I jumped and ordered one – this is the link for the one I bought.

I wish I could say it went smooth but FedEx’s Ground Service (the old RPS group they bought years ago) threw a big monkey wrench in things. Classic shipped promptly but FedEx Ground’s South Bend office has been having huge problems due to lack of staff.  It took maybe 2-3 weeks from when they got it until they actually delivered it to my FFL.

Scott Igert, the owner of Michigan Gun Exchange is a good friend of mine and I use him for all of my FFL needs plus he has the best gun store in Southwest Michigan in my honest opinion. At any rate, Scott sent me a photo of an AK and told me my Galil was in. Leave it to Scott to pull a prank and I knew full well he knew what a Galil looked like so he didn’t get me as good this time … unlike other times 🙂 That’s what friends are for.

At any rate, I went and snagged the Gallant, took it home and promptly took it apart.  I didn’t really care about the warranty because short of some huge problem with the receiver or a bent barrel, it wasn’t going back.

The Gallant ships in a hard case to protect the rifle. I snapped this photo literally when I got home and opened the case to take a serious look at the rifle.

So let me itemize my observations

They tell you right up front it is supposed to look battle worn. The skeptic in me thinks it was a way to cut costs but another side of me likes the look – the receiver and barrel are black, parts with the original finish have the grey/green parkerized finish on them and the wood has a look that only a ton of grease oil and God knows what can achieve.  I actually found myself liking it.

I’ve not done the battle worn look before and like it. I originally thought I would refinish the rifle but am now leaning towards leaving it the way it is  including the wood handguard.  For me, that blocking handguard is one of the iconic “signs” that tells you that you’re looking at a Galil ARM.

For 922r compliance, they have a US 1:9 barrel, a US receiver, a US Galil-Ultra looking grip made my Phoenix Technologies here in the US and a US Tapco magazine.  Now that last one gets a bit of a groan – the Tapco magazines are plastic, they work, but there are a ton of nice steel surplus 35 round mags out there that would make the rifle no longer 922r compliant if inserted.  As best as I can tell, they used an original Galil fire control group with it’s forged trigger hooks and two part spring setup – one spring for the trigger and one for the hammer – if it is aftermarket, it is not marked.

Note, I emailed JRA and asked them about the compliance parts. So far, they have not responded. Classic says on their web page that surplus mags fit (and they do by the way) but there is no mention of compliance.

Now, there are a two primary mindsets out there when it comes to 922r compliance: Some worry about it because they want to be legal. Some don’t care for whatever reason and that is their decsion. As for myself, I ensure that anything I build or modify is 922r compliant.  So, I wanted to use steel surplus Israeli mags so I decided to swap out the original IMI hammer, trigger and disconnect with a new ALG enhanced fire control group (FCG).  Yes, an AK FCG will work in an IMI Galil. If Classic tells me they actually sourced a US made IMI-style FCG, I will update this. I’m writing this post after already making the change to the ALG.

Heresa quick snapshot of the FCG that came with the JRA. Note that there hammer and trigger springs are independent. Also note that the person assembling the rifle took the time to polish the hammer face so the bolt carrier would cycle smoother. On the negative side, those are metal chips in the receiver from machining — I cleaned everything out. I’ll post more details as I do posts for each change I made.

The buttstock made me groan. It had a giant splash of yellow paint on the very butt of the stock for some reason.  The color was hideous, the horizontal tube had a few small nicks, and the finish was a bit more beat up than I preferred so decided I would swap it out for one in better shape from a SAR kit I had.

I am sure there is some meaning behind these colors but … yuck.

The rifle did come with an ARM bipod but it had a bunch of rust in the mechanism. It worked but definitely need cleaning and refinishing.

The Classic Firearms listing is straight up and honest – they bought a bunch of the detachable ARM bipods in the surplus market that were in good shape but not great. Mine had most of the finish gone from the legs and some rusting in the mechanism but it was fully operational. It would be an easy refinishing job some day when I have time. The ARM already weighs quite a bit empty so having a bipod installed was not on my high priority list *but* I did want a bipod to be complete.

The handguard was way, way to loose. This was pointed out in the ad so I expected some – but not what I felt. I don’t like it when they shake and rattle so that needed to be tightened up. The wood was in good shape though and I really liked the coloring.

Note how the rear forged retainer is canted with the top forward. There are two coil tensioning springs – one on each side – of the bottom. Because the handguard was so loose, they were causing the retainer to cant. Definitely fixable.

The barrel looked good – it was not bent and the components were installed right — other than the notch for the handguard not being close enough as mentioned previously. The bore was also nice and shiney with nice sharp rifling.

The barrel looked good inside and out. I was happy that they picked a 1:9 twist rate as I tend to shoot M855 62 grain ammo the most.

The top cover is still driving me nuts when it comes to installation. It is a delicate balancing act to get the recoil spring assembly to stay in the receiver groove and go into the dust cover vs. going out of the groove and falling into the receiver. I  have some Galil receiver stubs and I want to see if the receiver that JRA used is too short or if the IMI suffered from the same headache. I haven’t decided yet if I just want to live with it or cut the tab down about 1/8th-3/16th of an inch shorter, cut new grooves in it and the refinish the whole rod assembly.

Getting the recoil rod to stay in the right place and pop out of the dust cover during assembly is more of adventure than I care for. Honestly, that tab/button does not need to stick out that far sheesh.

Happily the rifle was properly headspaced and it fed rounds nicely. For a kit built rifle, it cycled and the FCG operated smoothly – surprisingly smoothly.  Okay, it looked like I had a solid foundation to build on. So far, so good.

At this point, I knew I was going to keep it so it was time to start making changes. I put the rifle back together and started thinking about what I was going to do.  I’ll detail what I did in subsequent posts.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.