Right side view of FN CAL assault rifle.
Source: Unknown author - © Copyright lies with original owner
The FN CAL is an assault rifle of Belgian origin. It was the first 5.56mm rifle produced by FN, introduced shortly after the USA started to use the M16 rifle in Vietnam.
The CAL is based on the earlier FN FAL battle rifle and both rifles look very similar at first sight. The gas system of the CAL is quite similar to the FAL, but instead of a tilting bolt a rotating bolt is used. The design of the CAL is optimized to use less expensive castings and stampings in order to keep prices low. On the other hand more complex features were introduced, such as the three round burst option. Except for the option for a folding stock there were no variants of the CAL.
The CAL is a select-fire rifle that fires the 5.56x45mm M193 round. The trigger group allows for semi-automatic, 3 round burst and automatic fire. Proprietary 20 and 30 round detachable box magazines are used. Apparently 25 round magazines were produced as well. The cyclic rate of fire is rather high at about 850 rpm. Maximum effective range is about 400 meters. The CAL can launch NATO standard rifle grenades. Reportely the M203 under barrel grenade launcher can be fitted.
The CAL did not prove to be a major export success. Various nations in South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East acquired relatively small quantities. Nowadays the CAL can be considered obsolete. The CAL was replaced on the production line in the late 1970's by the FNC. The newer FN FNC proved to be a far more capable and reliable firearm. It was produced in much larger numbers than the CAL.
The FN CAL is based on the design of the very successful FN FAL. Internally there are some differences. For instance, the CAL uses a rotating bolt instead of the tilting bolt on the FAL.
The FNC is the successor of the FN CAL, proving to be a far more successful design. Both CAL and FNC have a rather similar stamped metal barrel shroud.
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