India’s new FAL?
Since 1960, India’s state-owned Ordnance Factories Board has produced a domestic variant of the British L1A1 inch-pattern semi-auto-only FN FAL, dubbed the Ishapore 1A1. Keep in mind most of the other Commonwealth countries at the time to include Australia, Canada, and New Zealand ran the L1A1 as well.
With as many as 1 million of these 7.62 NATO battle rifles produced, the OFB slowed production in the 1980s and finally closed down the line in 2012 in favor of imported AKM variants from around the globe and locally-made FAL-like INSAS 5.56 NATO rifles, the latter of which had a poor reputation.
However, with India increasingly facing Pakistan and China on its borders in mountainous regions that favor longer-ranged rifles, the country has been looking for a modern 7.62 NATO battle rifle and seems to have found it in the SIG 716. Like the FAL, it is a short-stroke gas piston gun. Unlike the old “Right Arm of the Free World,” however, it is slathered in M-LOK accessory slots, has an adjustable Magpul PLS stock, is a flat-top design that readily supports optics and, most importantly, is in standard production.
India ordered 72,000 last year and just announced plans to pick up another 72,000 this year.
More in my column at Guns.com