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A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL / L1A1 Civilian Versions

In this article, you will learn about cleaning and assembling FN FAL semi-automatic civilian versions. We will provide step-by-step instructions along with a helpful video that will guide you through the process. Additionally, we will provide some historical context to give you a better understanding of these firearms. By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge and skills to properly clean and assemble FN FAL civilian versions.

A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL Civilian Versions


The FN FAL, or Fusil Automatique Léger, is a renowned rifle that has gained popularity among firearms enthusiasts and collectors. Its semi-automatic civilian versions have become reliable companions for shooting and sporting activities. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the FN FAL, including its historical context, design, variations, and most importantly, how to properly clean and assemble these firearms.

Historical context of the FN FAL

The FN FAL was first developed in the late 1940s by Belgian arms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale (FN). It was designed to replace the aging bolt-action rifles used by military forces around the world. The FN FAL quickly gained recognition for its reliability, accuracy, and innovative features. It became one of the most widely adopted rifles during the Cold War and saw extensive use in conflicts across the globe.

Overview of the FN FAL

Design and features of the FN FAL

The FN FAL is a gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle that fires the powerful 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. It utilizes a tilting breechblock and a piston-driven gas system, ensuring smooth operation and reduced recoil. The rifle features an adjustable gas regulator, allowing shooters to fine-tune the gas system for optimal performance. Additionally, the FN FAL is equipped with a robust folding stock, which enhances maneuverability in various shooting positions.

Different variants of FN FAL civilian versions

There are several civilian versions of the FN FAL available on the market. These variants often differ in terms of barrel length, furniture, and overall configuration. Some popular models include the FN FAL 50.00, FN FAL 50.61, and the FN FAL 50.63. Each variant caters to specific shooting preferences and requirements, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of the FN FAL platform in civilian applications.

A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL Civilian Versions

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Safety Precautions

Importance of safety while cleaning and assembling

Before diving into the details of cleaning and assembling the FN FAL, it is crucial to address the paramount importance of firearm safety. Always treat firearms as if they are loaded, never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy, and keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. When cleaning or assembling the FN FAL, ensure the firearm is unloaded and follow all recommended safety procedures to prevent accidents or injuries.

Proper handling of firearms

When cleaning or assembling the FN FAL, it is essential to handle the firearm with care and respect. Familiarize yourself with the specific safety features of the FN FAL variant you are working with, such as the location of the safety selector and the handling characteristics. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never force any components during disassembly or assembly.

Disassembly of the FN FAL

Step-by-step instructions for disassembling the FN FAL

  1. Begin by ensuring the firearm is unloaded. Remove the magazine and visually inspect the chamber to verify it is clear.
  2. With the firearm in a safe direction, pull the charging handle to the rear to expose the bolt carrier group.
  3. Rotate the handguard retaining ring counterclockwise to unlock it from the front sight base.
  4. Slide the handguard forward and separate it from the rifle.
  5. Depress the front takedown lever located on the lower receiver and pivot the upper receiver assembly upwards until it stops.
  6. Push the rear takedown pin located above the pistol grip from the left side of the rifle and separate the upper receiver assembly from the lower receiver assembly.
  7. Separate the bolt carrier group from the upper receiver by pulling it to the rear and lifting it out.
  8. Remove the piston and spring assembly from the gas block by unscrewing it counterclockwise.
  9. The FN FAL is now disassembled into its main components and can be further cleaned and inspected.

Tools required for disassembly

To properly disassemble the FN FAL, you will need a few tools, including:

  • Screwdriver (typically flathead or Phillips head depending on the specific model)
  • Armorer’s wrench or spanner tool (for removing the gas block)
  • Cleaning rod and brushes (for cleaning the barrel)

A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL Civilian Versions

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Cleaning the FN FAL

Importance of cleaning firearms regularly

Regular cleaning and maintenance of firearms, including the FN FAL, are essential for their proper functioning and longevity. Residue buildup, such as carbon fouling and debris, can negatively impact the rifle’s reliability and accuracy. Additionally, a clean firearm is safer to handle and minimizes the risk of malfunctions.

Step-by-step instructions for cleaning the FN FAL

  1. Ensure the firearm is unloaded and follow all safety precautions.
  2. Separate the upper and lower receiver assemblies of the FN FAL following the previously mentioned disassembly instructions.
  3. Clean the barrel by running a cleaning rod with a bronze brush through the bore. Use a cleaning solvent to remove any fouling or debris.
  4. After brushing, run clean patches through the bore until they come out clean. This indicates that the barrel is free from residue.
  5. Clean the bolt carrier group, gas piston, and other components using a cleaning solvent and a brush. Pay particular attention to areas with heavy carbon buildup.
  6. Wipe down all cleaned parts with a clean cloth or rag to remove excess solvent and debris.
  7. Lubricate all relevant moving parts of the FN FAL with an appropriate firearm lubricant to ensure smooth operation and protect against corrosion.
  8. Reassemble the upper and lower receiver assemblies according to the disassembly instructions in reverse order.
  9. Perform a proper function check to ensure the FN FAL is operating correctly before storing or using it.

Maintenance and Lubrication

Importance of regular maintenance and lubrication

Regular maintenance and lubrication are crucial for maintaining the long-term performance and reliability of the FN FAL. This includes proper cleaning, periodic inspection of critical components, and applying lubricants as necessary. By following a routine maintenance schedule, shooters can minimize the risk of malfunctions and extend the lifespan of their firearm.

Recommended lubricants for the FN FAL

It is essential to use lubricants specifically designed for firearms when maintaining the FN FAL. Some recommended lubricants include:

  • CLP (cleaner, lubricant, and preservative) oils
  • Synthetic firearm grease for sliding surfaces and contact points
  • Anti-seize compound for threaded components

Each lubricant should be applied sparingly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid excessive buildup and attracting dirt and debris.

A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL Civilian Versions

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Assembly of the FN FAL

Step-by-step instructions for assembling the FN FAL

  1. Begin by ensuring the firearm is unloaded and following all safety precautions.
  2. Insert the bolt carrier group into the upper receiver, aligning the rails and guiding it in until it fully seats.
  3. Insert the piston and spring assembly into the gas block, threading it clockwise until tight.
  4. Reassemble the upper and lower receiver assemblies by aligning the front and rear takedown pins and pushing them in until they lock into place.
  5. Rotate the handguard retaining ring clockwise to secure it onto the front sight base.
  6. Perform a function check to ensure all components are properly assembled and the rifle operates smoothly.

Tools required for assembly

To assemble the FN FAL, you may need the following tools:

  • Armorer’s wrench or spanner tool (for securing the gas block)
  • Punch tool (for better control when aligning the takedown pins)
  • Rubber or nylon mallet (optional, for solidifying the takedown pins)

Function Check and Test Firing

Importance of function check after assembly

After assembling the FN FAL, it is vital to perform a function check to confirm that all components are properly installed and the rifle operates safely. This ensures that the firearm functions as intended and minimizes the risk of malfunctions or accidents during use.

Proper procedure for test firing the FN FAL

When test firing the FN FAL, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure you are in a safe and controlled shooting environment.
  2. Load a magazine with the appropriate ammunition and insert it into the rifle.
  3. With the muzzle pointed downrange and your finger off the trigger, carefully charge the rifle by pulling the charging handle to the rear and releasing it.
  4. Aim at a safe target and engage the safety if necessary.
  5. Take proper shooting stance and squeeze the trigger, observing the rifle’s function and the accuracy of your shots.
  6. If any issues or malfunctions occur during test firing, immediately stop shooting and consult a qualified firearms technician or gunsmith.

A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL Civilian Versions

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Storage and Transport

Proper storage and transportation guidelines for the FN FAL

When storing the FN FAL, it is important to consider the following guidelines:

  • Store the rifle in a secure and locked location, such as a gun safe or lockable gun case, to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Keep the rifle and ammunition separate to further enhance safety and security.
  • If storing for an extended period, apply a light coat of protective oil or rust inhibitor to prevent corrosion.

During transportation, follow these guidelines:

  • Always transport the FN FAL in a locked case or container to comply with local laws and regulations.
  • Ensure the firearm is unloaded and the magazine is not inserted during transport.
  • Avoid leaving the firearm unattended in a vehicle, even if it is locked, to minimize the risk of theft or misuse.

Importance of securing firearms during transport

Securing firearms during transport is crucial to prevent accidents, theft, or unauthorized use. By properly storing firearms in locked cases or containers and adhering to local laws and regulations, firearm owners can help ensure the safety and security of themselves and others.


In conclusion, the FN FAL semi-automatic civilian versions offer shooter-friendly features and historical significance. Proper cleaning and assembly are essential for maintaining the reliability, accuracy, and longevity of these firearms. By following the outlined steps and safety precautions, firearm owners can confidently clean, assemble, and care for their FN FAL, ensuring safe and enjoyable shooting experiences for years to come. Remember, always prioritize safety and follow local laws and regulations when handling firearms.

A Guide to Cleaning and Assembling FN FAL Civilian Versions

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