Reviews

King Arms Galil SAR Electric BlowBack (EBB) Rifle

OptimusPrime

When news about King Arms releasing their own version of the Galil SAR (Short Assault Rifle) broke out, airsoft forums went abuzz. The airsoft market has been clamoring for a mass-produced Galil replica, prompting many manufacturers/suppliers to venture into the Galil-bandwagon. Inokatsu came out with a conversion kit for the AK-47; US-based TSI Armories offered Galils, albeit as a limited edition only; while Unicorn-Gunner Airsoft has their own version already in the pipeline.

So far, only King Arms, when this review was made, has successfully deployed something that can be made widely available. Now, those Israel Defense Forces (IDF) geardos, not to mention the Metal Gear aficionados, will now have an alternative to the much-used and abused M4 replicas. The Galil SAR is also used in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel video game, the first Metal Gear game developed for handheld video games, specifically the Nintendo Gameboy. But then, we are not going to discuss the video game here.

IN THE REAL WORLD

The Galil is a cousin of the AK-47, but is actually based more on the Finnish RK-62/M62, which of course derives itself from the AK-47, and was developed to address some problems attributed to the FAL rifles during the 6-day war in which Israel won amidst overwhelming odds against its neighbours, and established herself as a military power in the Middle East. The FAL rifles were heavy and the Israelis coveted the AK-47 used by Soviet-equipped Egyptians and Syrians, which they deem to be superior for desert warfare. The IDF wanted a rifle that performs like the AK-47, and can use the 5.56 rounds.

Designed by Israel Galili and made by the Israel Military Industries Limited (IMI), the Galil was initially distributed
to Israeli soldiers in 1974. The Galil’s deployment was actually delayed by the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the 20-day war started by a surprise attack by Egyptian forces in coordination with Syria and some limited involvement of Iraq and other Arab countries, who were armed with the latest Soviet technology during those years, especially the night-vision equipped T-54/55 and T-62 tanks.

The Galil SAR is the carbine version of the Galil AR, and the standard issue rifle to IDF soldiers. Many say it was a mistake since its short barrel is inadequate in desert battles as there were wide open spaces in desert warfare and range mattered in these conditions. But then it has the same range as the AK-47, which just evens out the odds for the IDF in terms of rifles, but also the IDF had huge advantages over tactics, leadership, and technology, to the detriment of the Arab armies that went to war against Israel. Though nowadays, the Galil is not much widely distributed due to the preference for the US-made M16/CAR-15, as it was offered at a cheaper cost, mainly through the billions of dollars of US military aid for its ally in the Middle East. There are two models of the Galil SAR, one is the 5.56mm, and the other for 7.62mm which is also the export version. South Africa has licensed this to develop their own R5 rifle with improvements in the magazine and folding stock.

THE KING ARMS GALIL

The King Arms Galil SAR AEG arrived in the usual sturdy King Arms box, which is basically a generic box that does not indicate the actual product contained in the package. As expected, the packaging, as we have experienced when receiving samples from King Arms, remains the same. However, if you look at the cut-out of the packaging, you’ll notice that it’s been readied for other planned King Arms Galil variants, such as the Galil AR, ARM, and the MAR (Micro-Galil).



The package comes only with the AEG and a 130-round magazine. King Arms will be releasing high-capacity magazines for it soon. Overall, the AEG is made of steel, aluminium, and nylon-fibre, making it a well-built replica at 3.2kg and a muzzle velocity of 308fps, just a little bit over the claim of King Arms of 300fps.




The design of the Galil is basically ambidextrous, which King Arms attempts to faithfully follow. But then, not all will seem to be as you think they are. While the AK fire selector switch on the right side works alright, the fire selector switch on the left side, just above the pistol grip does not, and just serves as a dummy to go along with the real steel design. We could have appreciated more if the dummy switch actually works, since it’s easier and faster to control the switch with the thumb. We consider it to be superior than the fire selector switches on most of the rifles we have handled.




The flash hider can be unscrewed counter-clockwise and there’s a bayonet mount that can accommodate the KCB-77 M77 Bayonet—use mostly by NATO forces (we haven’t tried attaching the bayonet though). Don’t expect a bolt cutter and bottle opener included, as these are mainly featured in the bi-pod of the ARM version. Front slide sling mount is also included. The handguard is comfortable and we suspect that it is based on the Golani Sporter, which is a hollow U-shape inside that does not touch the barrel. The purpose for this is to allow air to circulate inside and cool the barrel, especially for prolonged use. Another point earned by King Arms is the heat shield inside the hollow area, which for the real deal version, can keep the handguard cool to hold.



The receiver contains the trades you would want as King Arms have licensed the markings from IMI, so you’ll find the proper English markings for the rifle. IDF loadout purists may be disappointed though, that it does not have Hebrew markings, which the Galil replicas of TSI Armories definitely have.



The skeletal buttstock can be folded by swinging it to the right, where it locks properly, and when you shake the rifle while the stock is folded, it’s firmly secured. When back into its place, the stock is comfortable to use, much better than the folding stocks of some AKs, and gives you a steady shooting platform.


The 130-round midcap curved magazine included is well-made, and it’s actually sturdy as I have accidentally dropped it when I was fumbling for some stuff in my pockets. The magazine design is for the 5.56mm calibre round and not the 7.62mm. King Arms will release a 300-round magazine as soon as there’s a growing demand for this. TM-compatible AK magazines (not the new TM-compatible magazines), will not fit, so be prepared to be stuck with King Arms when looking for magazines for their Galil replica.



Unlike the AK, in which the rear sight is forward of the receiver, the Galil has the rear sight housing at the rear of the receiver and on top of the housing. The rear sight sports the L-type flip up aperture sight for 300m to 500m zero, though these sight ranges they provide don’t actually matter in airsoft since actual airsoft range is lesser than those. Nevertheless they’re easy to flip. The front sight can be adjusted with any AK sight tool. The night sights are there alright, but they do not have the luminous tritium to provide you effective sighting during dark or low light conditions, so that’s one lost point for King Arms. The rear night sight is housed in front of the rear sight while the front night sight post can be flipped just right behind the front sight. In order to use the night sights, you’ll have to adjust the rear flip-up sight that it does not stand between your eyes at the night sight.



Now, the operating handle also allows ambidextrous operation as it’s easier to operate with its vertical feature with the left hand as compared to the horizontal handle of the AK, which we assume takes its inspiration from HK. The bolt-carrier mechanism also provides the blowback effect for this rifle. Another surprising feature is the HOPup adjustment tool, which we were expecting it to be a TM-knob/ dial type. Upon opening the mechanism, we found it to be a slide-type HOP-up adjustment. You’ll just need to slide the HOP-up from left to right until you’re satisfied.



The overall length of the Galil SAR is 86 centimetres, and when put side by side with another shortened AK variant, the AKS74U, it is longer by 12.1 centimetres as the short AK is 73.9 centimetres in a fully extended position. We made the comparison as both types of rifles are in use mainly by tank and artillery crews (as the M16s and later on M4s replaced the Galil as the standard issue) which require shorter, manoeuvrable but powerful defence weapons. The outer barrel length of the King Arms version is 30 centimetres.



Installation of the battery is typical in TM-compatible AK AEGs with skeletal or folding stocks, which usually require a stick type battery to be inserted on top of the receiver area. For the case of the King Arms Galil, it can accommodate up to 12 volt stick type batteries as you can insert the longer battery inside the gas tube.

Now, when you remove receiver cover and retract the bolt cover, you’ll find out that the gas tube easily falls off, that you might think that King Arms may have been flimsy in its quality control, which they are not, since it was intended to be that way. The real steel Galil also exhibits this feature as it is not locked down like the AK. Insert the stick battery to the desired depth within the gas tube, then slide the gas tube to the along the hollow of the handguard to mate with the gas block, and slide in the dove tail to fully complete the mating to the gas tube. Put the connectors together, then slide in the receiver cover to lock with the a small recess of the tube. While doing this please ensure the dust cover/bolt mechanism is slid all the way back until you place back to cover. You may find this a little bit tedious, but you’ll get used to it. This is actually the same procedure (though batteries not included) for the real Galil. Thus, another big point for King Arms for keeping the faith.



Please notice the good wiring King Arms has done in the photos below.




TAKE DOWN

While most of you may have some experience in taking down an AK-47, the King Arms Galil, even with its AK-47 roots, requires a different approach.

1. Remove the battery and upper receiver cover. This is the first step in AK-47 takedown, especially with those with folding stocks. In this case, ensure that you remove the dove tail of the gas tube too.



2. Next step is to remove the pistol grip.

3. Remove the trigger guard and the motor housing.  Disconnect the wires from the electric motor.



4. Before actual gearbox removal, you’ll need to remove the operating handle and dust cover. Remove the screw at the right side near the end of the receiver that secures these in place.

5. Then remove the upper receiver. Remove the screw on the left side near the forward area of the receiver and lift the upper receiver out. This is where you will notice the blowback mechanism whose spring is attached to the piston area of the gearbox.



6. Just like the AK-47 takedown, you’ll need to remove the screw securing the fire selector switch on the right side. But this time, you don’t need any screw driver to pop-out the cover and unscrew. You’ll just need to turn the screw counterclockwise to remove it.

7. Pull the gearbox out. Pay attention to the wires of the gearbox when pulling it out. Then remove the internal selector switch. Notice the gears and levers positions before you remove them so you’ll know how to put these back later on.

8. Remove the screws to disassemble the front area, removing the HOPup, inner barrel, outer  barrel, handguard. The gearbox is adequately greased, which is not surprising, as King Arms always has good quality control.





Further findings:

  • The piston is polycarbonate black
  • Plastic tappet plate
  • Plastic spring guide
  • Metal sector gear with plastic sector chip
  • Metal cylinder
  • Plastic HOP-up
  • Metal anti-reverse latch
  • 6.04mm inner barrel with a length of 360mm
  • Unmarked but well-made gears
  • 7mm bearings


Overall the gearbox is good, and will need the 12v stick battery to properly operate the gearbox and blowback mechanism for a longer period.

ACCURACY AND PERFORMANCE

Before we went through opening the gearbox, we fired a total of 2,500 rounds through it. The 130-round magazine did well as there were no misfeeds. To load it fast, we tried using the BB loader of the TM AKS74U for mid and low cap mags, and it does the job well. Range is also good and we deem it accurate after putting five rounds at a paper target at 20 meters, with a grouping of not more than 5in from each other.



The blowback mechanism, while we can say it’s better than the G&G L85 or the Army R85, or a little bit better, the King Arms L1A1 blowback, we noticed that after firing, the operating handle did not properly go back to its proper position. Here is a video of the King Arms Galil SAR blowback mechanism in action and compared to the Tokyo Marui AKS74U which properly returned the operating handle all the time.



A suggestion is to install a MOSFET with an Active Breaking System (ABS) to make this work properly and ensure consistent action with the blowback. This increases the amount of power to the motor by reducing the resistance of the trigger switches by redirecting the power to the MOSFET and motor rather than through the trigger switch. With the ABS, the motor does not over spin when you release the trigger as it stops the motor trigger immediately. This of course minimises the wear and tear of the various gearbox parts, plus the added benefit that the operating handle of the Galil stays in its proper position after the motor stops. Well, this is only a suggestion and we’ll need to find out if this actually works.

DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN

We’re not really sure if Zohan was a member of the Sayeret Golani (Golani Brigade), though we saw him pulling out a SAR in one of the scenes of the movie. But the Golani Brigade did some extensive tests with the Galil prior to its selection as the official rifle of the IDF. Even if it is not much in use anymore in the IDF, there are fans out there who want it for its accuracy and robustness comparable to the AK-47.

The King Arms Galil, to the uninitiated with the real steel Galil, may look somewhat flimsy with the gas tube cum battery holder, but that’s how it really works. We give high marks to the way King Arms replicated the Galil, down to some of the exacting details in the externals and handguard area. It’s sturdy, no creaks and wobbles, just watch out for the screw of the fire-selector switch on the right as it may have a tendency to get loose after constant fire selections, screw it back in with your fingers while in the field, no tools necessary.

Let’s just hope a version 2 of this can have the working fire selector on the left side. Some are already anticipating either the AR or the MAR to be released by King Arms.


So move over Zohan, here comes a Galil from the Land of Chao-Fan!


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