Meet the Deadly Galatz Sniper Rifle used by Para SF, MARCOS and Garuds

Para Commando

The Galil Sniper – or “Galatz” was developed for an accurate, long-range version of its Galil platform. The 5.56x45mm NATO chambering of the original Galil was changed in favour of the larger and heavier 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge which offered better performance at longer ranges. The Galatz is a self-loading rifle employing the same action as the Galil AR; gas operation with a rotating bolt. However, it is not a selective fire weapon and is only capable of semi-automatic fire.

4 Para SF

Its name is a contraction of “Galil Tzalafim“, meaning “Galil Sniper” (another common name for this weapon). Like M21 and SVD, it is a designated marksman rifle to extend the overall range, firepower, and accuracy of that formation, as opposed to traditional sniping missions.

The changes made to original rifle made were:

  • two stage trigger with a semi-auto only mode of fire
  • heavy target-style barrel with flash-suppressor and threads to accept the optional silencer/suppressor
  • folding wooden buttstock, adjustable for length, with adjustable cheek pad
  • fixed power 6X telescopic sights (quick-detachable mount is fixed on the left side of the receiver). Iron sights are kept in place as a backup.
2 Para SF
2 Para SF Operator with Galatz Sniper

The basic Galil gas-operated, rotating bolt function was kept, as was the receiver housing the charging handle, ejection port, fire selector and all important internal components. The gas cylinder was fitted over the barrel in true Kalashnikov style while the two-strut folding stock allowed for a more compact weapon when transporting.

The firing action (through a two-stage trigger) was, however, limited to semi-automatic fire which played well with the precision side of the weapon. The stock also held an adjustable cheekpiece and recoil pad for added comfort. Key additions to the design were a heavy duty precision barrel, an adjustable folding bipod and a standard telescopic sight (Nimrod 6×40). The barrel was heavier than in the base Galil and capped by a dual-use muzzle brake/muzzle compensator attachment. The bipod was fitted just ahead of the magazine feed, within easy reach of the operator.

The bipod folded forwards up against the forestock when not needed. The scope mounting was found along the left side of the receiver while the stock folding over the right side – though not impeding gun functionality in any way. Iron sights were retained as a backup measure to the standard scope.

Exercise Vajra Prahar
An Indian Army 4 Para SF Operator with a Galatz 7.62x51mm Sniper Rifle instructing a US 1st Special Forces Group Operative on a UH-60 BlackHawk at Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Washington Aug. 09, 2011 during Exercise Vajra Prahaar

The “Galatz” is fitted with a 20-round box magazine. Its design was borrowed from the US Stoner-63 Light Machine Gun. Barrel box lid is similar to Finnish M62 Assault Rifle.

IAF Garud Commandos
IAF Garud  Sniper with a Galatz 7.62×51mm Sniper Rifle along with his Spotter

The Galatz replaces the Galil AR’s barrel with a heavy “match” design for increased accuracy and stability. The muzzle is threaded and fitted with a silencer, but a combined flash hider and the muzzle brake is usually fitted instead. Though more accurate than the Galil AR at 1.5 MOA with match grade ammunition, it is appreciably lower than the M21 (at 1 MOA). Lackluster accuracy was considered an acceptable compromise, in light of the ruggedness and reliability of this weapon.

Para Commando Sniper
Para SF Sniper with Galatz at Firing Range

The original skeleton buttstock from the Galil AR is replaced by a wooden folding buttstock, with an adjustable pull and cheekpiece. The new stock folds only for the purpose of making the weapon more compact, as it blocks the trigger group when folded. The original shape of the pistol grip is retained, though the Galatz its made of plastic, with a rubber coating. The wooden foregrip is a new and simpler, more rectangular design. A Harris bipod with an adjustable height is fitted, and though not the same model of bipod used on the Galil, it nonetheless retains the famous wire cutters and bottle opener of the original bipod. Unlike the ubiquitous SVD, the Galatz lacks a bayonet lug.

A Marine Commando- MARCOS Sniper with Galatz Sniper Rifle during Yemen Evacuation

It is used by Para SF, MARCOS and Garud Special Forces in Indian Armed Forces. It has Extreme reliability compared with the AK Assault Rifle. Coupled with Ability to use the main and additional sights at once, it also has Interchangeable magazines with US ones along with Interchangeable parts with the “Galil” automatic rifle. It has an Adjustable buttstock.

The “Galatz” joins the best qualities from the separate assault and automatic rifles. Though a bit low power for a sniper rifle it is more likely is a tactical support weapon than a real sniper rifle.