The Galil Ace–7.62 x 39 Perfected


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The Galil started life in the late 60s as an Israeli evolution of the AK47 and Valmet 62. It was more or less a milled AK with a handful of features that made it (even more) battle-ready, and significantly more modern. In the last 40+ years, the Galil has been used and abused in some pretty harsh climates and has proven itself worthy. But they’ve remained seriously scarce here in the States.

Ambidextrous controls make offhand shooting more efficient.

Ambidextrous controls make offhand shooting more efficient.

But the charging handle is only on the left side.

But the charging handle is only on the left side.

IWI’s new Galil Ace is a new spin on the old workhorse that keeps true to the old Galil’s reputation. For this review, we tested the Galil Ace pistol. Designed to be slung, braced or SBR’d, the Ace pistol is a featherweight freight train. Chambered in 7.62×39 and feeding from AK magazines, the Ace is comparable to an AK pistol. However when you look at the quality of the Ace, it quickly becomes clear there is really not much else on the market like it.

Features and Specifications

  • Caliber – 7.62x39mm
  • Operating System – Closed rotating bolt, long stroke gas piston
  • Magazine Type – AK/AKM
  • Barrel Material – Cold hammer forged chrome lined
  • Barrel Length – 8.3″
  • Overall Length – 18″
  • Weight – 6 lbs. with out Magazine
  • Sights – Adjustable tritium front and rear
  • MSRP – $1,749
The gun breaks down easily and is easily maintained in the field.

The gun breaks down easily and is easily maintained in the field.

How Does It Perform?

I’m just going to come out and say that working the controls of the Galil Ace makes running any other AK type weapon feel archaic. The ambidextrous safeties, left side charging handle, over-sized magazine well, and crisp trigger all make for a shooting experience that is second to flat-out smokes the old Kalashnikov. The Galil Ace feels good in your hands, and (no surprise) it shoots nearly as good as it feels.

The bolt moves much more gracefully than that of an AK.

The bolt moves much more gracefully than that of an AK.

The bolt carrier’s travel is unexpectedly smooth. These guns are built with generous tolerances to increase reliability in the field, but somehow they still feel rigid. I’d compare it to a Swiss firearm, or a West German Sig.

There are still some peculiarities. At the end of each magazine, the bolt slams forward and the trigger falls on an empty chamber. I’m surprised that AK feature was left on the Galil and the Ace. And AR-15 aficionados will still bitch about mag changes.  Even with the over-sized magazine well of the Galil, some magazines require a bit more force to fall free from the gun.

But there are obvious improvements. The Ace has a modular forend. Designed with a built in Tri-rail, it is capable of going slick sided or with rails exposed for more traction. Adding accessories such as lights, switches, and grips is much easier than it is on the AK. And during high volumes of fire, the forend remains cool even as smoke flows off of the gun.

The trigger has a wide face. It has a clean 5 pound break with no creep. It is probably one of the best triggers I’ve felt on a military grade weapon. The reset is short and the tiger has no slap as the shot breaks. I can’t say enough about how nice this is to see.

The sights? The Ace has an elevation-adjustable tritium front post and a AR-15 style rear sight that is adjustable for windage.   The rear sight has two apertures and the large objective has two tritium inserts that allow for a handgun-like 3-dot sight picture at night.  They are also shielded with ears on the front in the back and are very reminiscent of an UZI.

The controls are very easily accessed and much easier to learn than those of the AK.

The controls are very easily accessed and much easier to learn than those of the AK.

Handling

The Galil Ace pistol is a bit too large to run as a standard handgun. You will need a stock, arm brace, or sling. I  strapped on a two-point sling which made the Ace easy enough to shoot. I can’t lie and say that it is as easy to shoot as it would be with a stock, but a brace or sling will make things much easier. As with all of the guns in this category, it is a compromise. You give up some control in order to keep from having the SBR hassle and tax stamp.

The main hangup you’ll experience without a sling is that the gun is much slower. Not the gun, really–you will be slower. The gun’s recoil energy causes it to do the wave. Regaining a sight picture takes time when a gun bounces off target. The Ace needs something on its rear end for it to function effectively.

With a sling, the tension of the tether acts a lot like a stock and keeps the gun under control. You push out against the strap, hard. The gun stays on target, and your hands have plenty of gripping surfaces to hold onto.

Accuracy

8.3” barrels aren’t known for their inherent accuracy. Yes they are stiff, but they lack the length that allows powder to burn. You will also lose 300-400 fps with the shorter barrel. That said, the Ace pistol is more than capable of making clean hits well past 100 meters, especially with the help of a stock, bipod, scope, and some good ammunition.

But that’s hardly the reason why anyone wants an Ace. Inside of 50 meters, combat accurate hits are easy. Moving closer to the 15 meter line, hits are effortless. I punched some paper with the Ace from 7 and 15 meters. At 7 meters the gun produced a clean little 1-inch group (and that’s with me standing with the gun unsupported).

Standing, with the gun braced with the sling, from 7 meters. Iron sights.

Standing, with the gun braced with the sling, from 7 meters. Iron sights.

Standing, with the gun braced with the sling, from 15 meters. Iron sights.

Standing, with the gun braced with the sling, from 15 meters. Iron sights.

Moving out to 15meters, things opened up a bit. I’ll admit that I had a hard time supporting the gun well enough to keep the group as tight as it would be had the gun had a stock. At 15 I was shooting a rough 3.5inch group at best.  After running this gun for this review, I’d confidently say that an SBR version should be able to cut 1.5 inch groups at 100 meters.

Accessories

Magpul Sling: https://www.magpul.com/products/ms4-dual-qd-sling-gen-2

There are a few things you will want to pick up to make your gunning experience a bit more pleasant. A quality sling will help speed up your shooting as well as increase your accuracy. You can run either a two point, or a single point sling off of the gun’s rear. I used a Magpul M3 sling and a 1913 rail QD mount for the front mounting point.

You can run a two-point, or a single-point sling.

You can run a two-point, or a single-point sling.

High Threat Concealment: http://highthreatconcealment.com/

A quality magazine carrier will also help speed up your shooting and your reloads. I have been using a High Threat Concealment magazine carrier for the last few weeks and find it perfect for use on the range or in concealment. This is a prototype at the moment, but the rig will be on the market in the next month.

High Threat Concealment.

High Threat Concealment.

Magpul Mags: https://www.magpul.com/products/pmag-30-ak-akm-gen-m3

The Ace ships with one Magpul MOE AKM magazine and it will do the job. I’ve had the steel reinforced Magpul M3 AKM magazines in testing for the last few weeks and find them to be a worthwhile upgrade. Beyond the improved performance over the MOE, they offer steel reinforced peace of mind.

The new Magpul mags have steel reinforcement.

The new Magpul mags have steel reinforcement.

Conclusion

The Galil Ace pistol is a great firearm. Its smooth, reliable, accurate, and (if nothing else) cool. I don’t think I’ve ever said that in a review before. Is it worth the cost of entry? I’d say yes, all day long. It preforms well on the range, it would do well in the close quarters of home defense, and it will hide nicely in the trunk of your car or under the bench of your truck. And it is this compact size that is the real appeal.

These guns sell for somewhere between $1400-$1700. This is the first week on the market, so the price should be even lower once the supply/demand ratio levels off.

We will be doing up a follow up review once the hardware becomes available for the IWI Galil SB arm brace. We will see if the addition of that hardware will be enough, or if it truly should be candidate for short barreled rifle status.

The AK ancestry is still easy to see.

The AK ancestry is still easy to see.

But the internals are much more polished.

But the internals are much more polished.

The inside of the milled receiver.

The inside of the milled receiver.

The rail sections are easy to add and remove.

The railed gas tube.

One of the easiest, and most noticeable improvements is the railed cover.

One of the easiest, and most noticeable improvements is the railed cover.

The Galil Ace pistol is a great option for a truck gun, or a get-home-gun.

The Galil Ace pistol is a great option for a truck gun, or a get-home-gun.

The gun comes with much more rail than your typical pistol, and a lot more than an AK.

The gun comes with much more rail than your typical pistol, and a lot more than an AK.

Broken down, the Ace is easy to service.

Broken down, the Ace is easy to service.

Rail sections can be covered if you want a smother grip.

Rail sections can be covered if you want a smother grip.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Muchas Mujeres November 26, 2015, 5:13 am

    Does it accept Glock Mags ?

  • SeekingAnswers November 23, 2015, 5:13 pm

    Yeah…7.62×39 inside your house? Not a good choice, I’m thinking. That round will go through multiple walls and endanger your own family members. And as someone else mentioned…shooting a 7-9 lb firearm one-handed while dealing with the adrenaline rush of the moment? Again, not a good choice. A short barreled 20 gauge pump or auto loaded with your choice of loads…much better. Oh yes, “muzzle flash seen from Mars”. That’s just too funny…true…but funny.

  • Jake November 23, 2015, 1:02 pm

    They used the receiver of the Finnish Valmet 62, a third model Kalashnikov variant, and mated it with an M-16 barrel and a number of other refinements and additions. The Galil is considered a third model Kalashnikov variant.
    Once again, a stunad has taken an excellent weapon and turned it into a stupid toy. You will be able to see the muzzle flash from Mars while degrading the M43 AK round to less than .30 Carbine performance. Almost as silly as turning your AR into an M1 Carbine using the .300 Blackout round.

  • Chris Pyle November 23, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Been looking at these for a few months now and was super excited until I noticed the safety location. It appears that it would dig into the trigger finger of a left handed shooter in a way that would make the gun really unpleasant to shoot. This is a bummer as I find the standard AK ergos very lefty-friendly. Can you hold it left handed and comment on how much the safety gets in the way? Thanks!

  • Ian November 23, 2015, 11:07 am

    A 7.62×39 for home defense”? NO! A rifle is a poor choice for home defense. A semi-auto 12 GA loaded with #4 buckshot (or even bird) for home defense.

  • Random November 23, 2015, 8:25 am

    ” It would do well in close quarters of home defense”…..dude you might want to rethink recommending anything in 7.62×39 for home defense. Study up on what the Soviets designed this cartridge for in the first place ( to shoot through walls so that they did not have to enter rooms to clear them). Homes often contain families , do not use this caliber indoors.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude November 23, 2015, 7:50 am

    Well, I’ll be doing my own ‘testing’ of this pistol when an associate of mine who collects aks and never met one he didn’t like–probably because he never used one in real combat–gets his and we try it out.

    And because just by looking at the article pictures i still don’t see the absolute main ‘improvement’ these archaic weapons needed at a minimum to bring them up to acceptable modern CQB requirements, it is doubtful I’ll be impressed.

    So, I will bet that it’s no better or worse for all limited practical applications than the AK pistols going for around $500. or less in SGN.

    As far as recommending it for a personal home defense weapon, for an MSR of 1750. which means over 1800. out the door i think you can do a lot better than just a more ‘trickier’ tricked out ‘remodeling’ job on the same old apartment. You can put all the makeup and lipstick you want on a pig, and even call it ‘Valerie’ but…it’s still a pig. Plus you forgot to mention that a six pound pig and likely over seven with a loaded mag and a flashlight cannot ‘easily’ be handled and wielded with one hand like a regular Glock 22 with a 30 round extended mag, for instance? With your recommended ‘sling’, instead of a stock, that would complicate handling in a midight melee situation, and the so called ‘wave’ effect (accelerated muzzle flip) on trying to shoot something like this off hand without a shoulder stock will severely decrease your hit probability without additional ‘training’ even at close range especially in the dark except maybe for hitting someone else in the house or through a neighbor’s wall. Ak rounds have a pretty well known barrier penetration ability.

    As for its PDF capability, they already had the Krinkov, if you must have an AK-PDF platform, which can be put together for less than this mini tank.

    But if you really like these short “PDF” style ‘pistols’, do yourself a favor, especially if you don’t mind ‘affording’ something like this, and look into the new LCWR Personal Defense AR Platform that the DHS will likely be ordering by the thousands on your tax payments. Time to come out of the AK closet and into the modern world.

  • Chris November 23, 2015, 5:10 am

    That gun would look perfect with the Zhukov stock!

    Wonder if that stock would fit on it?

  • David November 17, 2015, 11:05 am

    “The Galil started life in the late 70s as an Israeli evolution of the AK47 and Valmet 76”
    No, it didn’t. It started life after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and was an Israeli evolution of the AK47 and the Valmet 62.

    Nice review otherwise, though.

    • Kevin November 23, 2015, 9:06 am

      the article says late 60’s not 70’s. Reading comprehension is a lost art.

      • Dave Higginbotham November 23, 2015, 9:17 am

        Actually, no. It has been edited. He was right.

        • Howard Frehsee November 23, 2015, 11:30 pm

          I agree with Dave H. The article was edited to say correctly late 60’s when it originally said late 70’s. But what’s the big deal? It was an honest mistake and the article was nonetheless well written. Cool piece of art. Lots of firepower for a pistol. Accurate too.

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