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 – but they are only $59.99. 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.

Done

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.

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