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Hebrew Hammer Project: Complete

I started the Hebrew Hammer project on a whim really. Yet another email from Palmetto State Armory about a special reduced price on FAL Light kits that were sourced from the Israeli Defense Force, well $299.99 was about 1/2 what they were going for normally so I figure why not splurge during the great lock down pandemic of 2020. A week later I had my box of greasy parts with mismatching grips and I was not happy at all, but it’s been 9 months lots of things have changed. Lets see how it looks now.

Assembled, Checked and Zeroed. Arizona Response Systems Did an Amazing Job for Me With the Build
Photo:Rick Dembroski


In a word….AMAZING. Mark Graham at Arizona Response Systems nailed it with the building of this kit. Not only is ARS the expert when it comes to FAL builds and trouble shooting FAL’s that have issues, plus he’s fast and affordable. When I started this process back in August of 2020 I partially got this kit as a college graduation to myself and had some real buyers remorse. When I sent it to ARS I was pretty sure Mark would make this rifle look exactly how I wanted it to.

I will say for full disclosure that had some minor work done to the wood hand guards to make them match each other and the stock before sending it down to Arizona. Outside of that neither ARS or I did anything else to the kit or parts, aside from a heavy amount of cleaning on my end. I Degreased it and gave Mark instructions on what I wanted. Basically I said build it, leave it alone make it functional. The whole process once the parts left my house took 70 days and $385, thats it. Mark delivered the rifle exactly how I envisioned it would look when I first started this project.

Original IDF Gas Block
Photo:Rick Dembroski


As you can tell the IDF pattern FAL’s had a few unique aspects that weren’t incorporated into other runs that followed them. My parts kit apparently began life as a later FAL pattern because it came with a flash suppressor/combo device. A muzzle break or flash hider was not standard issue on the first batches of FAL’s that were delivered to Israel in the mid 1950’s. This 22mm device was added to allow the FAL to use rifle grenades not so much to hide muzzle flash or dampen felt recoil. It was a weapon of war not a weapon of 1000 yard accuracy.

One major feature of the IDF pattern FAL that stands out is the wood and stamped sheetmetal hand guards. This was done partially because when the FAL first was produced by Fabrique Nationale it featured full length wooden hand guards. Reports say this style of hand guard was prone to breaking so the IDF had to think on their feet and adapted things a bit. It’s also worth mentioning the Heavy FAL version that the IDF also fielded featured a wood/sheetmetal hand guard as well but with notches to accommodate bipod storage.

The FAL Has Seen Many Variations Over the Last 70 Years
Photo:Rick Dembroski


The FAL has always featured a non reciprocating charging handle but what makes the IDF pattern FAL’s different is something that the IDF had requested, the ability to use the charging handle as a forward assist. Now in 2021 this isn’t a big deal since M16/M4’s have had them for years but remember this was done in the mid 1950’s. Keep in mind during this time the United States was trying to decide between the FAL and the M14 while Israel was looking for a rifle to help it stay in existence as a nation, thats a pretty heavy tasking in my opinion.

The way it works is incredibly simple, the user pushes the charging handle knob into the receiver and a small post is extended into a relief cut on the side of the slide. This allows the user to easily force the bolt completely into battery with the palm of his left hand if needed. This was really forward thinking by the IDF in an effort to mitigate against the effects that sand and dust was going to cause on their weapons. When you fight in a desert you learn what works and what doesn’t. Somewhere the IDF had taken notes and modified their tactics and weapons to their advantage.

Notice the Markings From the Forward Assist on the Bolt Notch
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Other Build Quirks

This particular parts kit came with the “early” pattern take down lever instead of the more well known “L” shaped lever. Apparently when using rifle grenades the force of firing the grenades at times caused the older levers to move excessively. This would then cause the upper and lower receiver halves to separate rendering the rifle temporarily useless while the user reconnected the hinged upper and lowers receivers. Since I am not going to be firing rifle grenades in the foreseeable future I opted to leave this original part in place and be happy with my good fortune

Original Vertical Release Lever (Fully Locked)
Photo:Rick Dembroski


As you can tell from many of the pictures the original IDF parts kit was covered in military proof marks in Hebrew it was important to me to retain them if I could. This is also why when I was procuring an upper receiver I chose the DSArms IDF reproduction model. DSArms marks the outside of the receivers as if they are IDF originals and put their factory markings on the inside of the magazine well. This really is a nice option for anyone looking to have an original appearing Israeli FAL built.

The parts that featured original Hebrew markings on my kit were the gas block, lower receiver and trigger components, butt plate, front hand guards, sling swivel,& bolt. I carefully searched for others but that was all that I was able to find.

Original Proof Marks on Handguard & Sling Swivel
Photo:Rick Dembroski


The complete parts breakdown and totals for the Hebrew Hammer build that I can remember or have receipts for.

  • Orignal Parts Kits (Palmetto State Armory): $299.00
  • DSArms Upper Receiver: $242.95
  • DSArms Israeli Pattern Barrel: $175.95
  • Stock Refinish: (FAL Files): $60.00
  • Shipping to ARS: $95
  • ARS Assembly $385
  • Shipping Back From ARS $95
  • Total: $1352.90
Israeli Troops Shown in the 6 Day War, 1967. In the Foreground the Light FAL in the Background the Heavy FAL with Bipod


The facts are that the Fabrique Nationale FAL is heavy, old and outdated, however there is no downplaying its lethality or its role in the worlds conflicts over the last nearly 70 years. I chose to build this rifle because I am changing my personal collection from a quantity based one to quality based one. I want to collect and build rifles that have a story to tell. If this parts kit could talk, where has it been during its military service and since it was sent to mothballs and eventually a band saw for disposal and into my hands.

This rifle represents one of the few times a build looked like it was completely lost and turned out to be a complete winner. I could never have done this without the help of the great people at the FALFiles.Com and of course without Mark Graham of Arizona Response Systems. A heartfelt thank you to all our readers and anyone who helped me along the way. In a way of recapping the journey I have put links to all of the articles along the way.


The Beginning : Herbrew Hammer Build Izzy FAL:

Update #1: Hebrew Hammer Update:

I Don’t Speak Hebrew But I Bet it Says: Safe, Semi & Auto
Photo:Rick Dembroski


IDF Troops in the Field During the 6 Day War 1967. Notice the Early FAL. No combo device and early open eared front sights. This was probably a reservist or support troops

About the Author /

Rick Dembroski spent 10 of the best years of his life as a USAF Civil Engineer, traveling the globe, drinking beer, and causing chaos. His superiors dubbed him "King of Useless Knowledge" a title that he still loves to this day. After his military career he chose to stay in the frozen north of Alaska and currently works as an Emergency Management Specialist combining his love of chaos with preparedness to ensure people know how to survive disasters.

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