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[Review+Video] Galil ACE: Hebrew Hammer Time

Designed in Israel and made in America…the Galil ACE is one tough beast of a rifle, or in this case, pistol.

Galil ACE pew pew
Galil ACE pew pew

Using an AK style long-stroke gas piston and when chambered in 5.56 uses AR-15 magazines.

This might be Johnny’s new favorite rifle, but to find out why you’ll just have to read on or check out his video review over on the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube channel!

By the end you’ll see if it’s the right new rifle for you!

Table of Contents


Where It Came From

As with many rifles today, the story of the Galil ACE starts with the AK-47. In the early 1960s, the AK was well-proven but starting to feel a little dated and had some room for improvement. Especially for the nations that didn’t have access to the AKM.

Type 2 AK-47
Type 2 AK-47

Yisrael Galil and Yaacov Lior took on the task of tackling a legend and making it better. They were the men behind designing the Galil.

IMI Galil - Rock Island
IMI Galil – Rock Island Auction Company

Technically speaking, the rifle that would become known as the Galil was based on the Finnish Valmet RK-62 — itself an attempt at taking the AK-47 and improving it. In fact, many of the first prototype Galils were built using RK-62 receivers.

Finnish RK62
Finnish Valmet RK 62

Fast forward another few decades and we find the IWI Galil ACE — a modernized version of the IMI Galil… who was an improved version of the Finnish Valmet Rk 62, who was an improved version of the Soviet AK-47.

Galil ACE a little wet
Galil ACE in the wild

Using a mix of steel parts and polymer parts, going through the rifle and sealing it better from the ingress of outside crud, improving the accuracy, and a couple dozen more improvements and the Galil ACE is a lean, mean, modern combat rifle.

at Kentucky Gun Co.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Range Report

The Galil ACE produced by IWI is offered in three chamberings in both rifle and pistol formats, 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm, and 7.62x51mm. Our focus is on the 5.56 NATO version since this is America.

Using a similar long-stroke piston as the AK, recoil is minimal, shots are on target, and it’s just a blast to shoot!

Straight from the box with a touch of lube, the Galil ACE just ran. No fuss, no failures, just hits. That says a lot about a firearm when it can go from the packaging to the range with no downtime in between.


One of the huge improvements of the Galil over its forefathers is the addition of ambidextrous controls. From the mag release to the safety, you have a fully ambi rifle with no weird switching of parts.

Galil ACE controls
Galil ACE left side magazine release and safety

However, not all of the controls are symmetrical. The safety on the right is kind of like a really short AK arm, while the safety on the left is more of a switch.

If this is a plinking or range gun, that isn’t a problem. But it is a training issue if you want to use this defensively.

Galil ACE right side safety
Galil ACE right side safety and mag release

With the folding stock and super compact nature of the Galil ACE pistol — it makes for a great truck or backpack gun. But you’ll want to put in the training time to get used to the little quirks.


This is one of the highlights right here. No upgrade needed, this shooter comes with Tridium night sights!

Galil ACE front nightsight
Galil ACE front nightsight

A simple aperture sight with two range settings gives you a basic and usable rear sight while a Tridium adjustable front sight post gives you reasonable capabilities in low light without the need for any upgrades.

The top rail is Picatinny so that you have the option of attaching your favorite red dot or scope. In this case, the Vortex SPARC.


Hidden under the slick handguard protectors are Picatinny sections at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. A little dated by some standards, but perfectly serviceable.

Galil ACE foregrip and rails
Galil ACE foregrip and hidden rails

Every good gun needs the option of attaching lights or front grips and the Galil ACE is no different.

Just keep in mind, if you get the pistol version — no VFG.


It shoots. While it isn’t a competition trigger by any means, it works and is reasonably crisp.

The takeup isn’t large but is felt, but the reset is fairly short making follow-up shots simple and quick.

Galil ACE pew pew

Remember that this design is a combat rifle based on a combat rifle (the Galil) that was based on a combat rifle (the Valmet) that was based on a combat rifle (the AK-47).

So a great trigger isn’t the highest thing on their priorities.

Dust Cover

Okay, I know no one ever gets excited about a dust cover — but this one is a little different and kind of cool.

Galil ACE onna wood
Galil ACE with its right side reciprocating charging handle and dust cover.

The Galil ACE uses a reciprocating charging handle and on other rifles that often means a large slot is left open in the upper receiver. Not so with the ACE!

Basically a thin sheet of metal and some springs, the Galil’s dust cover moves down out of the way as the charging handle comes back and moves back up to seal the receiver when the charging handle is in the forward position.

Galil ACE controls and dust cover
Super simple dust cover keeps the gun sealed up.

Effective, simple, and different.

Accessories, Magazines, Ammo

Chambered in 5.56 NATO the Galil ACE takes standard AR-15 magazines and after testing a huge range of them we can safely say that it really does take the whole range.

Galil ACE all of the mags
Shockingly, ALL of these magazines worked in the Galil ACE.

Our favorite for any application is the PMAG, gen 3 if you’re looking for the best but gen 2 is often cheaper and more in-stock.

With a full rail of Picatinny on top, this gat begs for a good red dot on top. The Vortex SPARC served that role perfectly and did a great job throughout the review.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Running cheap plinking ammo, there was zero issues or failures. American Eagle 55gr is inexpensive, easy to find, and runs great in most rifles.

Best 5.56 XM193 55 gr
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you really want to pinch pennies though, Barnaul Steel Cased 55gr ammo is for you. The Galil ran it without a problem, it’s always good to see a rifle eat even lower-tier ammo.

Barnaul can be a little harder to find though, so grab yourself some Wolf Steel Cased and run it with confidence!

at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

Besides having a weird name, the Galil Ace is known for its reliability. Shoutout to Mikhail Kalashnikov. 

Ergonomics: 4/5

Love the ambi fire selector and grip angle, but the giant round handguard and the mag release are nothing more than OK. 

Galil ACE innawoods
Galil ACE innawoods

Accuracy: 4/5

For what it is, a foldable pistol, the accuracy is just fine. 

Customization: 3.5/5

The quad rails around the forend and the full rail up top give you lots of options for customization, but after that your options get thin. 

Value: 4.5/5

No way around it, the Galil ACE is expensive. But you do get what you pay for: a rugged and dependable platform that needs no upgrades.

at Kentucky Gun Co.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 4/5

It’s not quite an AK, and not quite and AR…maybe the best of both worlds. A lot of value for the price. Fun at the range. And you can’t make it stop. To quote Tarantino, the Galil Ace is Death Proof


The Galil ACE is ultra-reliable and with great accuracy and ergonomics. Plus it takes PMAGs. Sadly, the price tag and lack of customization might push it away from many people’s grasp — but if you have the budget and the will, this is a sweet shooter to own.

If you really want to go big though, consider getting the Galil in 7.62×51. It doesn’t make as compact or handy of a gun as the 5.56 NATO pistol does, but it’s a beast and a half to shoot!

Do you have a flavor of Galil? What kind? Is the Galil ACE the final frontier for the AK platform or does a truly modernized AK like the AK-12 reign supreme? Let us know in the comments! Need a pistol to go with your Galil, then check out the IWI Masada!

Masada with ammo
IWI Masada

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8 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    I wish the Finnish inspired Israeli-made "Galil" was still in production...

    March 8, 2020 5:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      @ Secundius -- I'm just curious as to why? Like I said, I was issued the old one in the IDF, and now have the new one, and I see nothing but improvements -- it's lighter, charging handle on the weak side so you don't have to do the AK twist, charging handle stays open on an empty mag, Tritium sights out of the box, and plenty of Picatinny rails on all sides so you can add whatever you want. Same awesome reliability as the old one and, sure, there is no bottle opener on the bipods (no bipods at all), but from my perspective, there is very little to miss. Having lugged one of the old ones around for three years, I'm curious as to what the appeal is?

      March 9, 2020 1:47 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Walt Morris

    Also my favorite......first pick to bug out........I had issues with 1 metal mag that came with a sig AR pistol..........feed/ejection.........all else perfect

    March 7, 2020 5:11 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I think with the short barrel, the 7.62x39 round makes more sense. I’ll be picking one up for a truck gun but definitely in the older Soviet cartridge.

    March 4, 2020 10:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really want a classic Galil and the 308 version too. Beautiful guns.

    The ace always looked like a toy version of an AK. Wonder if there are any alternative forends for this.

    March 4, 2020 11:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Walt Morris

      Check Galil owner group on FB

      March 7, 2020 5:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great, and accurate, review! You nailed the details and, as an IDF vet who was issued a version of this back in the day, I love your characterization of the length as 5 matza balls -- #shalom back atcha! I have this as well, and it's also about my favorite gun. One additional positive -- the charging handle stays open on an empty mag, another improvement over the IDF issued version. Thanks for another great review!

    March 4, 2020 1:16 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Thanks! :D

      March 4, 2020 4:57 am
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