FN-FAL/L1A1 Quad Rail & Picatinny Rail System – Leapers UTG

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Big, heavy, lanky, and tricked out! This FAL went from plain Jane to smokin hot in about ten minutes with accessories from Leapers/UTG.

A lean, mean, battle rifle machine. In this configuration we put the laser in the front of the forend and routed the activator wire under the UTG rubber rail covers that come with the kit.

The quad-rail in the front replaces the front hand guard with one screw.

The quad rail system comes assembled with rail covers on in this simple package. You remove some rail covers and unscrew six bolts to assemble it, then mount your accessories and fill in the empty spaces with rail covers.

Click this for the larger full sized version to see detail instructions.

The rear Picatinny rail slides right into the bolt cover slot with no tools at all.

This project started with a Century Arms kit gun made from inch (English L1A1) parts. This is the old style SAW buttstock. If you can find one, the newer models made by Tapco are much nicer looking and will only add to the tricked out look with your rail systems aboard.

This is an alternate setup for the laser with the activator in the rear grip.


FAL Quad-Rail – Leapers/UTG

http://leapers.com/

Buy it Online:
Quad-Rail
Rear Picattiny
Grip Flashlight
Red Laser

The FN-FAL, also known as the L1A1, is perhaps the most misunderstood battle rifle of all time Designed in 1947, the same year as the venerable AK, the .308 (7.62 x 51 NATO) FAL almost became the battle rifle of the United States after the Korean war, but it was beat out by the M1A for a number of reasons, similar to the story of the AR-10. But unlike the AR-10, the FAL went on to be the main battle rifle for England, Austria, Australia, Canada and a number of other NATO countries. At one point the FAL was called “the right arm of the free world,” but it has been replaced worldwide by smaller and lighter guns, including the AR-15/M4.

The FAL is a big heavy and awkward gun, even a pound heavier than the M1A/M14. You don’t see talk of them much outside of enthusiast groups online, and there are very few companies that make aftermarket parts for them. Most of the guns you see in the market have been re-assembled as a kit from de-milled imported rifles coupled with an aftermarket US or Brazilian made receiver. Century Arms re-manufactured a good deal of the rifles in the late 80s right through the ban era and all of those guns are still in the market today, plus they are apparently still making some. Parts kit guns, built on receivers made in the US and Brazil pop up on GunsAmerica and at gun shows here and there. This weekend I saw one in a gunshop in Holden for $750. A current production Century FAL sold on GunsAmerica yesterday for $775. Both guns appear to use a Tapco SAW buttstock and hand grip. The guns coming out right now have bipods build it.

All of these guns fall into what you have to call “parts kit guns.” There is a US company, DS Arms, that makes a professional quality FAL out of modern parts and alloys. It is much lighter than a standard FAL, and they offer their own lines of accessories for those guns. They are generally at least twice the price of the guns we are talking about here and they are considered among the best .308 battle rifles available. Before the jump in popularity of the black rifles after the 2008 election, you could pick up one of the guns we are talking about here for around $500. I have four of them and didn’t pay more than $550 for any of them. Even back then the DS Arms guns were in the $1,500 range, to give you an idea of the difference. One of these days we hope to get a DS Arms gun in for testing to compare the differences.

If you can handle the FAL, and it is heavy and awkward, the history of the gun has shown it to be a reliable and formidable battle rifle. Tricking it out with accessory rails is extremely easy and affordable. UTG (Leapers) seems to be the only company actually making a quad rail for the FAL. It isn’t expensive, MSRP $79.95, and, except for its own 6 bolts, the whole system installs with one screw. This is the same screw that holds on the regular hand guards. The rear Picatinny top rail shown here in the pictures, MSRP $69.95, slides into the slots for the bolt cover. Both parts are what is now called “fourth generation” from Leapers. The concept of tricking out a traditional battle rifle with rails and accessories isn’t new. The rear slide in scope mount rail for the FAL has been available for many years. The quad-rail is fairly new, though it did have its predecessors, but none of the old FAL stuff was all that stable. It worked, and as an initial idea, that was good enough, but in today’s mature accessory market consumers want failsafe reliable platforms that hold zero, and that is what these were made to do.

This is the first in a series of research articles on tricking out traditional battle rifles, and by and large, the series was inspired by Leapers. As we cover other guns, the AK47, the AR-15, the AR-10, the SKS and even the CEME/HK91 , as well as bolt guns like the Mosin-Nagant and some tactical shotguns, there are a lot of companies that have come up with great ideas and options for accessory rails. Leapers/UTG, covers pretty much all of them, and they seem to be great quality. These days you can’t click around online much without seeing some kind of advertisement for accessories for the every battle rifle known to man, but our questions are:

  1. Do they actually fit without gunsmithing?
  2. How easy are they to install?
  3. Is the gun comfortable and more versatile with them?
  4. Are they a stable platform for optics, lights and lasers?
  5. Is the price within reason?

This FAL system is pretty simple. The hard guard comes apart with one screw and the quad-rail installs with that same screw. It comes with 19 rubber rail cover sections, so you can fill a partial rail at the front and still have a firm grip on the rifle. The system is nice and tight and stable, but it does add weight, over 15 ounces, so it is really up to you how much that extra weight is worth. As you can see from the pictures, we elected to add a UTG lighted handgrip, and a red dot laser. The rubber rail covers also provide a great covered pathway for pressure switch wires by the way, and it makes for a very useable and even slick setup. This project FAL is the biggest and baddest FAL I have ever seen, but it is also the heaviest, coming in at over 10 pounds. Being that the FAL starts out as a heavy, lanky, awkward gun, the rubberized rails, a forward handgrip, and a laser to make it hip-shootable are all welcome additions. If you have the arm strength to shoulder such a heavy weapon, the weight is worth it.

As for the holding zero, only time will tell. This gun is going to stay tricked out like this and it will be shot. So far it is solid as a rock, both the front and the back, and the zeros hold perfectly. We also banged the gun around some (it has a rubber buttpad) and it also held zero just fine. You won’t get better than about 2.5MOA out of an FAL on its best day, but they will generally outshoot an AK and at least keep up with most AR-10 variants out there. As a close quarters battle rifle the FAL is a bit lanky and if you like the design and firepower you may want to consider the DS Arms for maneuverability. If you already have an FAL though, and you have wanted to make it more versatile, albeit for a little more weight, these Leapers/UTG products are fantastic, and we’ll be looking at others soon for other battle rifle designs.

I was not able to test this kit with the new guns coming out that have integral bipods. I think you probably won’t be able to use the rail covers on the side rails if you need to fold the bipod back, so if you are thinking about one of these guns, you may want to get the quad rail first to see how it fits in the store. Because the hand guard is one screw it shouldn’t be an issue to try the kit out on it before purchase. Other than that, all FAL/L1A1/STG58 guns are pretty much the same as regards this kit. Some FALs are built with metric threads and some are built with the English/American inch measurements. Most stuff is still interchangeable between the guns in groups, but this is where much of the confusing with FALs originates. The quad kit should fit both inch and metric guns just fine. If you have an FAL and felt left out at the range next to all the tricked out ARs, these two components should give your FAL the flexibility to host any number of accessories. For not a lot of money, you can in fact trick out your FAL.

{ 26 comments }

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • kurt hucker May 13, 2012, 9:39 pm

    All i can say is a awsome! I would love to have one for my collection & some thing to build . thank you MR.HUCKER

  • scott May 14, 2012, 4:14 am

    looks like ya need 3 hands to assemble it lol

    • Administrator May 14, 2012, 7:58 am

      Yea had to break out my third hand for the picture.

  • flyinbryan May 14, 2012, 7:06 am

    Looks great, but like you said, most variants from Century Arms have the bipod, as mine does, will there be a quad rail that can still utilize the bipod since it folds into the handguard as originally designed?

  • josef May 14, 2012, 8:08 am

    Served with the British Army in the 70.s, carried this beauty around N IRELAND for 2 tours and was my best friend, loved it was heavy but it was good at it.s job and it was just made for parade ground marches!

  • vet4freedom May 14, 2012, 8:15 am

    sweet …. going to have to look at the bank account . and log on to Centure Arms . i want one !

  • 1LTLos May 14, 2012, 8:46 am

    I really cannot get used to all the extraneous stuff that some of you avid shooters and collectors install on your rifle platforms. The vertical hand grip amid the fore grip on either the FN_FAL, M4, 308 or 223 battle type rifles is to me just uncomfortable — Sure sure I am certain that one gets used to it but if we are talking about weight to begin with, all the accoutrements that adorn rifles these days —- is this truly combat configuration we are looking at or just tricked out “cool” concept guns?
    I used the M-14, M-16-A2 and still enjoy the Colt AR-15 version and Springfield’s SOCOM 16 each stock with nothing sticking out nothing attached — and a 1911
    thanks

    • jim May 14, 2012, 2:09 pm

      “…is this truly combat configuration we are looking at or just tricked out “cool” concept guns?”

      Well said.

  • Ken Kalaf May 14, 2012, 10:21 am

    Excellent article!!
    I am a FAL enthusiast.

    I have a Century Arms FAL bought back in ’99.
    Many of these rifles had breech blocks incorrectly installed which resulted in feeding malfunctions
    rendering the gun unfunctional.
    I repaired these using DSA breech blocks when I was a gunsmith.
    Century Arms was never known to have very good quality control.
    In the end I tricked out this FAL with DSA parts. Intrigal bi-pod, last shot hold open, synthetic forgrip, rear Picatinny rail , peep sight nearly 10 years ago.
    Flawless operation now.

    Ken
    Tuffsteel MFG, LLC

    • Randy May 15, 2012, 11:24 am

      Bought my Century L1A1 right after ban with Imbel receiver with mag well cut for metric mags and assembled in Canada. It has shot anything I put in it from 110 hornady hand loads to the old 500 rounds for 75$ from india in a ammo can. It is excellent and I will add this stuff to it as it is just fun to shoot. No flash hider as it is really old and it came with a thumb hole stock. I have replaced stock and with no flash hider i loaded and shot 55 grain sabots through it like a semi -auto 22-250. Flawless and love it.
      Cheers!

  • Chase May 14, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Hi,

    I love the article! I also got an email saying how well your articles have been doing lately, that’s awesome! Can I talk to someone about doing a review of one of our products? Who can I email?

    Best Regards,

    Chase

  • Mario Ortega May 14, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Thank you, thank you people! I take all credit for mentioning the FAL (in my case the L1A1) to Ken at Leapers while querying him about fitment of a UTG part for my AR. I remember him exclaim “Oh ya, the FAL” when I mentioned possibilities of options from his company. this was about two years ago. I must say I loved the personal attention he gave to a nobody enquirer at the time. Leapers is lead by a first class gentleman.

    • Administrator May 14, 2012, 2:06 pm

      Yes I agree they could have made a far inferior product just to have something to self when nobody else did. Instead this product is truly world class. We are going to pick through the whole Leapers catalog for the next several months. The value seems to be very high priority for them as a company and they are looking to bring as much manufacturing as they can do the United States. If Romney Guess again and actually implement some of the fair trade policies with china that he is speaking about Leapers will be will positioned to move all of their manufacturing here and be one of the dominating companies in the accessory market.

  • Joachim May 14, 2012, 8:11 pm

    “If you can handle the FAL, and it is heavy and awkward,” yeah its heavy and awkward when you pile all that ridiculous mall ninja garbage on it, otherwise its one of the most ergonomic, comfortable to shoot military arms ever made.

    • John Russell May 15, 2012, 12:20 pm

      Amen brother!

  • Chad May 14, 2012, 8:56 pm

    Excuse me, Based on your pictures your FAL doesn’t have a single British or inch (L1A1) part on it. It is a South African metric FAL out of Rhodesia of which the grenade sight gasplug is a dead give away. That is also not a SAW stock on it.

    So you added a bunch of weight and do dads to a rifle that isn’t going to make it shoot any better. What’s the point?

    • Chad May 14, 2012, 8:58 pm

      Actually a few Brazilian Imbel parts on it as well. A mix master, still not an inch or Brit though.

  • Chuck May 15, 2012, 12:22 am

    WARNING! An FN FAL in good working order is highly addictive! They will ruin your life. Your wife will leave you. Forget retirement. I started with one. Now my kids aren’t going to college. The poster who identified the Rhodesian parts from a single photo and the next who ID’d Imbel parts are for real. Falaholics can do that. Some can name the boot size of every soldier who carried that particular rifle. Please do not buy an FAL and drive the prices up farther. They suck. Really. Who needs a battle rifle that shoots 1.5 MOA at 600 meters in a heavy cross wind, with girlish felt recoil? Stamped and aluminum parts are way better.

    If you do buy one, have a gunsmith check the headspace and don’t shoot steel cased ammo. Good luck fool.

    Warm Regards,

    Addict

  • BRAD May 15, 2012, 12:55 pm

    Is it made here in the states, or in CHINA, like most of leapers stuff?!

    • Administrator May 15, 2012, 1:45 pm

      I believe these are currently made in china.

  • deano May 16, 2012, 11:08 am

    yes i have a SKS more or less same gun, but ive shot it when it was so dirty mud, and dirt is shoulden even shoot, but it was good every time,, neaver failedi think it was one of the best made, i hate saying it just becouse it wasnt made in the usa ,,damm shame they can make a gun almost as good as we can
    deano

  • Dustin May 29, 2012, 7:48 am

    Gives the rifle a more modern look, and allows you to add attachments. Great looking product UTG.

  • Richard October 1, 2013, 6:48 pm

    Yup. It’s big. It’s heavy. It’s awkward. No Question.

    Mine is a plain vanilla RSA kit gun with Imbel rcvr. That being said, I have fired it off sandbags at 560 yards at an 18″ square plate, using the issue rear peep sight set at 600 meters. I can usually knock the plate down after 2 ranging shots, i.e., by the 3rd shot. Try that with your AR. I am truly impressed with the FAL. It is my main gun when travelling back country in the southwest.

  • Tony April 25, 2014, 7:15 am

    Hello,i was thinking if it is possible to install a side rail on the fn fal reciever to mount the PSO-SVD type scopes rather than using the weaver picatinny type mounts.Aslo don’t minde if it is done on any area on the right side of the rifle even if there is drilling holes.
    Thanks in deed…best regards.

  • Andy May 8, 2014, 5:09 pm

    Bought my Century L1A1 back in 1999 or 2000 when they were under $500. Actually, “R1A1″ is how it’s stamped and the receiver’s other markings and features indicate it came from a weapon designed for automatic fire, something the L1A1 never was designed nor equipped to do.

    Could not zero the rifle regardless of what the site adjustment tools could do, so off to the gunsmith it went. He discovered the FAL flash hider had been pinned incorrectly so that the pin actually penetrated the bore in such a way that it’s amazing I didn’t have a stoppage! A .308 rod from a bore sight device would not fit into the barrel with out pounding it with a mallet. Had to remove 3/8 inch off the muzzle to clear the obstruction, then attached an authentic L1Al flash hider. Next, he found the barrel was under-indexed and corrected that. Lucky for me this guy was a good friend of a fellow gun-hoarder and charged me only a leg for the work. Now, the rifle shoots less than 1″ groups at 100 yards. Indexing the barrel correctly makes a present-day FAL/L1A1 into an accurate rifle.

    That is…until I installed one of these Leapers quad rails. I bought the paperweight because I wanted to attach a Harris bipod and I don’t like the idea of attaching a bipod to the barrel of any rifle. Once that was all done, the rifle weighed way over 10 pounds, but I accepted that under the belief I would be shooting from a bench on a pretty day and shooting from the prone position on any other day of reality. Don’t know what this hand guard does to the rifle, but I’m lucky if the beast will cycle one round. In fact, I’ve more than once had to place the charging handle against a post and lean into the stock to force the bolt to open. On top of that, when the rifle DOES fire, I have absolutely no idea where the round has gone. My observer has never seen a hit, splash, dust puff, ping…. SHOT OUT! SHOT OVER!…*crickets*

    Luckily, I have a complete set of the issue Pelican furniture and will be reinstalling it (I have a wood set too, but the plastic Pelican makes the overall weight bearable). For anyone who owns a Century and feels the stock seems to feel and fit…well…poorly, it’s because it’s a Century-made POS that lacks the internal packing of the issue stocks that makes them rigid. Buy a stock-removal tool from TAPCO and order a Pelican stock online. Both are inexpensive and will make the rifle much “gooder.” (WARNING: NEVER use a screw driver to remove the stock unless you have three arms, superhuman strength, no need of sleep, and lack the ability to conjure the emotions of anger and exasperation!!!)

    Oh! Don’t throw away the Century furniture unless you expect to never ever part from your baby. It counts as one of the Socialist-mandated American-made parts that makes the rifle BATF-legal for resale.

  • Arnie Aman July 18, 2014, 12:33 am

    I think the problem with the L1A1 is the hole in the peep sight is to large.

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