IWI prepping Galil ACE for U.S. shores (VIDEO)

IWI-US is on the verge of releasing what we expect is going to be a highly sought-after new product, its Galil ACE, starting early next year.

The company plans to have the ACE 31, the pistol version, here in February 2015 and the ACE 32, the carbine, in March. Both are chambered for 7.62x39mm and use AK-pattern magazines.

If you think the Galil ACE looks like a heavily-modified AK-pattern rifle, it’s because the Galil draws heavily from the AK design, and even shares some parts, most importantly the mags. However, the design is pretty far removed and even uses a two-part machined steel and polymer receiver.

They have a lot of features you won’t find in your average AK, either. While we can’t say for sure if all the ACE features, like the tritium-powered night sights, will be included with the American packages, some things we know will be standard, including the ambidextrous safety selector.

The Galil ACE uses a more traditional safety switch that can be flipped using a thumb without having to move your dominant hand away from the pistol grip like most people do when switching the regular AK safety selector.

Another change to the fire control group is an updated trigger that’s supposed to be a real step up from a factory AK set-up. We definitely look forward to finding how how much improvement the new parts provide.

galil ace

The Galil ACE rifles, with a 16- and 8.5-inch barrel, side by side. The 8.5-inch model will be sold in the US as a pistol with a folding SIG SB 15 brace, not a stock.

The changes to the safety selector mean that the switch no longer does double-duty as a dust cover for the charging handle. To make up for this the ACE has a separate reciprocating dust cover on the left side that rocks open and closed automatically when the bolt cycles. The bolt handle has also been moved to the left side for easier manipulation by right-handed shooters.

The fore-end and sight system have been hugely upgraded with Picatinny rails everywhere, on the gas tube all the way to the rear sight, integrated with the dust cover, as well as tucked under the handguards at three-, six- and nine-o’clock for use with accessories.

The 12-o’clock rails are obviously designed for use with optics. While dust cover rails aren’t ideal for this the section of rail forward of that should be good to go. It’s also possible that IWI has tightened the clearances enough that the dust cover is still good enough to be “minute of bad guy”-accurate.

There’s plenty we’ll have to wait and see when production models hit store shelves to know for sure, including the price. The folks over at the Military Arms Channel are quick to point out that the Galil ACE family will be priced less than the IWI Tavor, which is expected, but how much less will be key.

On the one hand these guns are proven to be as reliable if not more reliable than your standard AK, not to mention, clock most of them when it comes to features. On the other hand the AK market is less tolerant of high prices — IWI fans will probably see this as a must-buy, but depending on the price Arsenal fans might pass.

In any case the wait to find out is will be short and we’ll get all the details as soon as possible. SHOT Show 2015 is just around the corner, after all.