Weapons: FN FAL Meets Its Match

Argentina has finally decided to replace its Cold War era FN FAL 7.62x51mm automatic rifles with the recently developed Beretta ARX-200. The FAL was one of the most widely used rifles used during the Cold War, with over two million of them built since 1953 for use by military and police forces in 90 countries. These days the FAL is used, with automatic fire disabled, mainly by hunters and police (as sniper rifles). The American M-14 was similar in design and technology to the FN rifle but not nearly as widely used.

Argentina selected the Italian ARX-200 because it was a modern design, terms for licensed local manufacturing were good and the ARX-200 was lighter and shorter than the FAL and easier to use. While the FN was 112cm (44 inches) long and weighed 5.7 kg (12.5 pounds) unloaded the ARX-200 is 94cm (37 inches) long and weighs 3.9 kg (8.6 pounds) unloaded. Lighter weight comes from extensive use of polymers, even with the addition of accessories like the full-length Picatinny top rail. While there have been many upgrades and modifications available for older rifles like the FAL, since the 1950s many new rifle design developments work best in a newly built rifle, not on upgrade.

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