As regular readers will know, I have been collecting South African Defence Force uniforms and equipment for some time now and producing a number of different impressions. Whilst the SADF of the 1970s is fairly easy to approximate with my SLR, which although Australian is very similar to the rifles used by South Africa, the 1980s and beyond has been more problematic as the SADF updated their weapons to a license made version of the Israeli Galil, called the R4. These are virtually unobtainable as a deactivated weapon in the UK, so instead I have picked up the very similar Galil rifle used by Israel, specifically the short barreled SAR version which is very close in design and appearance to the R5 used by the South African Navy and Air Force:
The Galil was developed in Israel in the 1960s and is heavily based on the Finnish RK62 rifle, which in turn is based on the AK47 pattern design. The rifle is produced in 5.56mm, which necessitates a differently shaped magazine to the original AK platform, with a much shallower curve to it and holding 35 rounds:
This particular rifle has a tubular stock with a large textured butt pad:
Although very secure when extended, by depressing the very strong spring in the latch, the butt can be folded forward to lie down one side of the rifle, dramatically reducing its length:
The distinguishing feature of the SAR is the short barrel, which is 5 1/2″ shorter than that of a standard Galil. The end of the barrel has a flash hider which can also be used to launch rifle grenades. Note the bayonet lug beneath the barrel:
The forward hand guard is made of heavy duty black plastic and covers the barrel preventing the rifle becoming too hot to hold. Note also the vertical charging handle that allows the user to easily put his hand on the top of the rifle and cock it quickly and easily:
The rifle retains many AK-like features, such as the paddle magazine release and the selector lever on the side of the rifle:
Internally however, the selector is linked through to a switch on the opposite side of the rifle which a right handed user can operate with his thumb without having to adjust his grip on the rifle. This side of the receiver also has the rifle’s markings in Hebrew and a large IDF crest stamped into the metal:
The Galil has a two position iron sight on the rear of the rifle, one aperture set for 0-300m and the other for 300-500m:
Low light sights with tritium vials were originally fitted in front of these sights, however on the batch that has come into the UK these have all been removed.
Although not exactly perfect for an SADF rifle, this is close enough for now and expect it to appear in some new impressions later in the year.