View Full Version : L1A1 SLR Is there a safety device on the trigger?

May 28, 2010, 07:12 PM
I have just bought a Lithgow L1A1 SLR ex NZ Army which I have not yet fired (need some dies to reload for it). I am not hat familiar with this rifle but it appears to have a "safety" on the trigger in addition to the normal safety lever on the side. After the rifle is cocked, safety off, it will not fire (dry fire) until the trigger is pushed forward a couple of mm. Then it is fine. It seems to be almost a definite click.

Is this a "quiet safety" for bush work or is there a weak or broken spring or something in the trigger mechanism? The rifle itself looks clean and well looked after.

I have searched the internet but can find no reference to this. An ex-army friend who remembers the SLR in service says he cannot recall such a mechanism which makes me think it might be a defect.

Any enlightenment would be appreciated before I actually fire it.



May 28, 2010, 07:15 PM
No safety on the trigger. Yours is broken.

May 28, 2010, 07:22 PM
What's it likely to be?

May 28, 2010, 07:30 PM
Don't know but the trigger system is very easy to disassemble. There are sheet metal retainers in the lower receiver that pivot up facilitating the disassembly of the trigger group. Anyone can do it after studying it a little while.

May 28, 2010, 07:32 PM
Thanks, I'll give it a go. David

May 28, 2010, 07:51 PM

29 Hammer Spring Assembly or 115 , 116...Maybe needs replaced or oiled.


James K
May 28, 2010, 09:27 PM
Sounds like the trigger (34) is not engaging with the sear (31). The problem could be a weak sear spring (32) but without looking at the rifle, I can't tell for sure.

(FWIW, that diagram is a bit of a lesson for the folks who criticize the M14 as too complicated and say the US should have adopted the "simple" FAL.)


May 29, 2010, 05:17 PM
Thanks guys, we took the trigger assembly apart but can see nothing obviously wrong. However it did seem as if the spring was not holding the trigger forward far enough.

In the diagram below which is almost the same as the one posted by Noyes there appears to be a seat for the trigger spring - arrowed. This is missing from our rifle and is not shown on Noyes' diagram. It looks as if this is designed to give support to the spring or give it more throw. Anyone else have this?


Our butt stock is supposedly a Bell and Carlson but looks like the Century L1A1 sporter - I can't find anything like it on the B&C website. We were wondering whether the trigger spring might have settled in the stock reducing the throw. We are thinking of making a seating collar to pack it out slightly. Is this worth a try? Jim the sear spring seems fine.


May 29, 2010, 06:03 PM
The safety on the FAL trigger is a banned device in the USA. Shooters would be unfamiliar with it.

This safety is a needed part as it helps prevent hammer follow, but because it is used in the operation of the rifle during full automatic, our Government in its full stupidity decided to ban them. Possession of the trigger safety and a FAL constitutes ownership of a machine gun. Fully automatic weapons have a bunch of onerous rules, the violation of which will send someone to jail.

You will not see them in exploded diagrams as it is a controlled part.

This part is needed, in my opinion, as the FAL hammer can follow the bolt due to wear, bounce, etc, on the sear. This trigger safety prevents that.

As you can see in the bottom picture, the bolt will trip the trigger safety when the weapon is in full automatic mode. I suspect there are ways to prevent the weapon from being put in full automatic mode and retain the trigger safety, but that takes thinking, something the BATF does not do.



Even though my familiarity with this trigger safety mechanism is limited to pictures, I believe that your trigger mechanism is out of order. It does not make sense to design a trigger mechanism where the shooter has to stick a finger in the trigger guard and push forward.

So, something is out of adjustment.

May 29, 2010, 06:33 PM
The safety on the FAL trigger is a banned device in the USA. Shooters would be unfamiliar with it.
Horse pucky! The "Safety sear's" function is to stop the hammer following the bolt/carrier down till the bolt is fully locked. In the U.S. the reciever cut for the safety sear is the distinguishing part for semi-auto, or full selective-fire recievers, not the safety sear itself.

The cut in the (upper) reciever is the listed part, not the "safety sear" you show in your illustration. The FAL is different from the AR family of rifles, so please use the correct terminology at least.

Without more information it's a bit hard to tell exactly what the problem is, but it fer sure ain't a mythical component that is mis-described for sure.:rolleyes:

Check the sear spring & trigger spring, they may simply be reversed. Or, as you think the spacer may be missing. This will effectively "weaken" the trigger spring, preventing it from re-setting.

This will cause the trigger to not re-set as you describe & it is one of the more common causes of home-built FAL malfunctions. If you look closely at the illustration poste earlier you will see that both parts are listed as #7, but are shown as differing lengths, even in the illustration shown in the post.

James K
May 29, 2010, 09:49 PM
Whew, it's getting deep in here!

First, the mechanism shown in the diagram is the semi-auto rifle, the only ones sold on the market here, AFAIK. The sear mechanism is exactly the same as that on the M1 carbine. When the hammer is cocked, it sits against the sear, forcing it back against its spring. When the trigger is pulled, the rear of the trigger pushes up on the rear of the sear, moving its front down and out of engagement with the hammer. The hammer falls, firing the rifle. The bolt comes back and pushes the hammer down. Meantime, the sear has reset itself (the disconnect function) and catches the hammer, which again forces the sear back. When the trigger is released, it moves down so the sear can ride up over the rear of the trigger and wait for the next trigger pull. This system has been used since the Winchester autoloaders of the early 20th century. Some things can go wrong with it, but not many.

Second, the pictures by Slamfire show what FN calls the auxiliary sear, (auto sear). It is not present in the rifles sold here. It works like this. When the selector is set for FA fire, the standard sear is disengaged, so the hammer, if not stopped, will fall and follow the bolt down. But the hammer is caught at the front (not at the top like the M16) by the auto sear, which holds the hammer back until the bolt carrier goes forward all the way and the bolt is locked. Then the shoulder on the bolt carrier trips the auto sear, disengaging it from the hammer and letting the hammer fall. This continues until the trigger is released, when the regular sear again takes over and keeps the hammer back. It is not a "safety sear" and has nothing to do with safety; it is an auto sear, pure and simple, and is not used or needed in semi-auto rifles.

Third, the trigger spring seat (as good a name as any, I don't know the actual name) is used on wood handguards. It does not appear to be needed on plastic handguards as they are strong enough to support the spring without the seat.



May 30, 2010, 02:17 AM
Getting a little confused here but just to limit the discussion the rifle is an Australian-built Lithgow L1A1 issued to the NZ army. All these were semi-automatic only.

As to the trigger problem we will make a trigger spring seat and see if that fixes things.


May 30, 2010, 05:06 AM
It is not a "safety sear" and has nothing to do with safety; it is an auto sear, pure and simple, and is not used or needed in semi-auto rifles

The diagrams I have seen show the auxiliary sear functioning in semi auto matic mode.

There are two sear notches on that hammer. The deep auxiliary sear arrests the forward movement of the hammer until tripped by the bolt. Then the second hammer notch is caught by the trigger operated sear.

If you notice the auxiliary sear notch is deep, the trigger sear is shallow. Reducing the rotation speed of the hammer, by catching it in the auxiliary sear notch, reduces the chance of trigger sear over ride and hammer follow.

May 30, 2010, 08:36 AM
As to the trigger problem we will make a trigger spring seat and see if that fixes things.

I think you are on the right track.

May 30, 2010, 04:14 PM
Well we made a trial trigger spring seat out of the hard plastic insulating sleeve you get on auto-electric terminals, popped it in and presto, all fixed. :)

Thanks guys for your help and general info on this rifle. Will probably replace the plastic seat with an alloy one in due course but first we need to fire it.


James K
May 30, 2010, 10:27 PM
Hi, Slamfire,

It is a moot at this point as the problem is solved, but I guarantee you that the device in question is an auto sear, and has no other function. I have seen some diagrams that try to blur that point, perhaps out of excessive concern about showing how full auto weapons work. But the part, no matter what someone calls it, is an auto sear.

I don't have a selective fire FAL (they are very rare in the US) but I played a lot with a T48 (US FAL, made by H&R) back in the mid-1950's and those guns had the auto sear. I have a CAI FAL, which was a British (commonwealth) rifle; it still has the SRA marking, but the hammer, sear and selector are new made and the bolt carrier has had the FA trip shoulder removed. In the receiver, where the auto sear would go, there is only a hole.

Just FWIW, the FAL is somewhat controllable in FA fire due to the more straight line stock shape and recoil reducer, but IMHO is too heavy and complex to be a good SEMI-auto rifle. If firing is limited to semi, the M14 is a much better rifle, but it is absolutely useless in FA fire.