The FN FAL (Fusil Automatique Leger – Light Automatic Rifle) was designed in Belgium in 1953 by Diedonne Saive and produced by FN Herstal. The rifle is known all around the world and is often nicknamed “The Right Arm of the Freeworld” This was one of the first successful NATO standarized variants. The FAL was used throughout the Cold War and was NATOs answer to the AK-47. The English and Commonwealth countries adopted a licensed version of the FAL known as the L1A1 however commonwealth rifles used “inch pattern” measurements instead of metric.
Brazil was one of the largest adopters of the FN FAL. Imbel would be one of the largest producers of the rifle and still produces some FAL variants and parts today. Imbel has been retiring their FAL variants for their new FAL based IAD rifle.
Imbel being the sole producer of licensed FAL’s in South America meant they were also the largest seller of these variants in South America. Imbel also had some influence in the Southern Africa region. For a short period Imbel produced rifles for Chile. Chile used the 7.62×51 NATO FALs until they adopted a rifle licensed from SIG, the SG 542. This would be produced locally by FAMAE and they would phase out their FAL reserves.