View Full Version : HK 91 vs. FN/FAL

January 19, 1999, 01:02 AM
I have been thinking of a purchase before the iron curtain falls on Kalifornia. I already have an AR & AK. What do you guys think of the above choices. I know the FAL is cheaper(DS arms ~1500$ vs 2200$ for the HK) but what about function? I have no logical reason for the purchase other than I have a credit card that is gathering dust.
"igpay attinlay"


Rich Lucibella
January 19, 1999, 08:38 AM
I favor the FN for it's more comfortable recoil. Haven't had a malfunction wirh my FN's or my HK91 yet.

January 19, 1999, 09:48 PM
Get both! Shoot them side by side. You'll probably find they're both great rifles, and will loath the thought of parting with either. I know I did!

4V50 Gary
January 20, 1999, 12:05 AM
Your question makes me feel young. Back in the late '70s and early '80s, one of the big gun debates (besides the perpetual battle to preserve the 2nd Amendment) was which was a better rifle: the HK91 or the FN-FAL? Both the M14 and .308 Galil were rarely mentioned in these debates. Remember, we're talking pre-SR25 days when the HK91 was $350-$400 apeice.

Function? The HK91 is based on the roller locked delayed (or retarded) blowback action. Brass must be a certain hardness or the barrel fluted for it to function properly (the latter is done). It shares the same operating system as found on the MP-5 SMG. Like Rich says, the HK is a dependable system. HKs are tougher on the brass than the FN-FAL so if you're a reloader, be warned. They are very durable and were known for their accuracy. Gee, they even made a couple sniper versions of it too and because of its operating system, was easier to make into a successful sniper rifle (fewer operating parts). The receiver did have to be stiffened to reduce the twisting on firing. Getting back to the HK91, gun for gun I think they're more accurate than the FN.

The FN-FAL is a gas operated system which, thanks to its four position gas system, may be adjusted to various loads - which makes it less ammunition sensitive than the HK (or the M14). Attempts to make this rifle into a sniper arm was not as successful as for the HK (too many moving parts to contend with).

Handling qualities: The FN feels nice, balanced and very comfortable. the HK, thanks to its bolt carrier, is top heavy (scope it and its worse). The HK jungle handguard is bulky and even worse if you put the bipod on (but it promotes faster barrel cooling than the HK slimline forearm): cocking - handle is on the receiver and closer to the hand on the FN. On the HK, handle is on the tube mounted above the barrel and requires an extension of the arm to cock it. Not that I've ever found it to be a disadvantage. Overall, I'd give the FN the advantage here.

Of course, you should also consider other tangible factors: scope (my guess is about $100 for a scope base for the FN-FAL and about $350 for an ARMS scope base for the HK)?; extra large capacity magazine prices (about the same for both - $20), carrying handle (use to be standard on the FN and option on the HK - which means extra money and if you want the ejection port buffer, I don't think you can put the carrying handle on); Sights - there are a couple of optional iron sights for the FN, but the HK has an optional 1200 meter iron sight which is very nice (and will cost you over $100); Slings - the HK is more versatile especially with the ambidextrious sling swivels and that wonderful multiuse web sling of theirs. Of course, you can always buy a combat sling for the FN; 22 conversion kits - may still be available for the HK but pricey (cheaper to buy a 10/22). HK use to make it for the FN-FAL, but I don't know if any were imported into this country.

Servicing: Well, it's easy to do simple armorer's work on the HK with a few punches. I don't really think you need many screwdrivers except for the sights and maybe for disassembling the stock (why would one ever do that?). Specialized tools are too pricey for even most gunsmiths to consider (receiver tube straightener, jigs to swage in barrels) and that stuff is best left to H&K. There are surplus parts kits, but these are from retired (and probably worn) service rifles. Service manuals - I guess you can find them at gunshows and they use to be around all the time. BTW, the trigger group is not that hard to disassemble, but don't try it with a Set-Trigger of the MSG90 or PSG-1. You have to be a clockmaker to understand their set trigger and even my instructor had to pull a fresh one off the shelf to reassemble one.

FN-FAL requires about a dozen tools for a basic armorer's kit (about $150 I guess) and like the HK, really isn't too hard to work on. Parts are easier to come by for the FN but you should be careful about inch v. metric v. Isahpore. Another advantage is that there's a domestic source for new receivers here in this country. It is unknown whether they obtained blue prints from FN or whether it is a product of reversed engineering. Manuals are out there and an excellant book to supplement it with is Blake Steven's $110 masterpiece, "The FN-FAL Rifle."

I've shot thousands of rounds from both and enjoyed them thoroughly. Don't recall having any problems but this was under range conditions and not field conditions. Mykl made a good point, shoot both side by side and then decide.

P.S. Olazul, I love your logic about using the credit card with regards to guns.

[This message has been edited by 4V50 Gary (edited 01-20-99).]

Info Seeking Guy
February 9, 1999, 04:58 AM
Hopefully this isn't too late. I have an L1A1 and though it is a "mutt gun" I love it!

Don't have much experience with the HK but a friend has one and I shot it a few times. To me it was considerably heavier.

Seems to me that HK mags go for much more than FAL ones.

Whatever you choose, I applaud your thinking towards getting a "full rifle". I also live in "the Republik" and out in the dez, where a "mini" rifle just won't cut it!

God Bless America!

Gun Plumber
February 21, 1999, 07:18 PM
I have a HK 91 and love it, but it is a little heavy. If you have the money you might look at one of the Stoner AR 10's. The ones there putting out now look good.

New 2 H&K's
February 22, 1999, 11:03 AM
I own 3 AR15's & just picked up an H&K SR9 last week. Yesterday was the first time i've had the chance to shoot the H&K. The recoil of the H&K is not really noticeable to me. Feels just like the Ar's with a much deeper sound coming from the shot round. Scope mounts for the H&K can break the bank account, ARMS #1 mounts run about $225 & Factory goes for about $470. Only wish I could find more info on the H&K, that seems to be hard to find on the net.

February 22, 1999, 12:17 PM

4V50 Gary
February 22, 1999, 12:20 PM
I've tried both the HK and the ARMS scope mount and in operation, could not discern the difference. HK made both a non-ring model and one like the ARMS. The non-ring model had a high price scope on it (ouch). One advantage of the HK mount with integral rings is the inherent steadiness of integral rings. Mind you, I'm unaware of failure with the ARMS mount with their factory (MWG rings). That said, I'd go ARMS and save the difference for a scope.

4V50 Gary
February 22, 1999, 12:22 PM
BTW, a friend has the B-square mount and while it works, their easy on-off feature isn't that easy for me. As I've never fired my friend's rifle, I cannot attest to whether it returns to zero with the B-square.

New 2 H&K's
February 23, 1999, 08:07 AM
The B-Square mount can bend the upper if tighten too much. If this happens it can in some cases slow the action of the rifle.

4V50 Gary
February 24, 1999, 12:19 AM
Just saw an ad in the 3rd Jan. issue of Shotgun news (page 144) regarding HK scope mounts. It's very brief and depicts an ARMS type scope mount and weaver (not MWG type) type rings. It reads:

HK91, 93, MP5 & SP89 Clawed Scope Mount. Metal construction. Ring Inserts 1". Clearance sale

$139.95/PC. For 2+
39.90/pair of Rings
34.50/pair for 2+.

Vendor is RTC Sports, Inc.
596 Lynnhaven Parkway, Virgina Beach, VA 23452.

I don't know anything about this outfit or whether the scope base is indeed an ARMS made one. Caveat emptor.

BTW, thanks for that tip on B-Square scope mounts compressing the receiver. I suppose its feasible if the bolt carrier isn't inserted first (that should reinforce the receiver) and one gets overenthusiastic about clamping down on that knob with pliers (instead of hand presure). For myself, I'll stick with the HK or ARMS unit.

New 2 H&K's
February 24, 1999, 09:34 AM
4V50 Gary ..I have the B-square mount, not only can it bend the upper. But the vertical set screws will damage the top, leaving round screw marks. I'm luck I never torqued them down enough to do damage. 1 day after installing this mount I ordered the ARMS mount.

4V50 Gary
February 25, 1999, 10:20 PM
New 2 HK,

Good for you. I had my ARMS mount for years before I finally bought a scope and rings. Almost bought Weaver and then I thought, "Wait a minute, the rifle is worth about $1.5k, the scope mount $200, the scope over $200 (Leupold Vari II 3x9), so why spend $30 bucks or so on rings? Buy something worthy of the rifle, mount and scope!" That's when I shucked out the bucks to MWG for the ARMS rings. It's so easy to hit the gong at 200, it's almost boring.