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The FN C1 - Service Rifle of the Past (and C7A1 vs FN C1A1)



I recently realized I‘m not aware of the difference between the two modifications of C1 rifle.
My guess would be that C1A2 uses the improved magazines with the separate beefed-up front lug. Correct me if I‘m wrong.

709 Coms Regt
There are only two versions of the C7 in use. The first is termed the C7 which has the original iron sights. The second is the C7A1 which has the modification that adds the scope. As far as I know there is no C7A2.
The C-1 is the old 7.62mm rifle, now there was a rifle. Didn‘t know there was a C1A2 and I used the thing right up until the C7 came in. Perhaps you‘re thinking of the C2A1, a full auto version that had a bipod, 30 rd mag and heavy barrel, which was what the C-9 replaced as the squad automatic weapon.
Assuming that you‘re requesting info about the FN/FAL C1A1 personal weapon used by Cdn Forces since its adoption in early to mid 50‘s, until its replacement by the "M-16" series C-7, C-8 etc type weapon, may I give you the following information.

The C1A2 was a major modification by Canadian Arsenals Limited to the C1A1. It involved three things: a better ejector assembly which meant that a field expedient repair could be done without back loading the item to a rear echelon repair depot; the front sight assembly was replaced with the C2 sights; this also improved the gas block replacement assembly.

These modifications were considered by CAL to be significant enough that they wanted a new mark number employed- hence, C1A2. This never came to be and C1A2s were introduced into the CF inventory as C1A1s, however they were identified with a new series of serial numbers: 8LXXXX. Mine shoots great!

Full details can be found in R. Blake Stevens book "North Amereican FALs", pp 133-135.

BTW, for your own personal info, I am the only still serving member who served in 2 Sig Regt, 8 Sig Regt, Tor Sig Regt, 709 Comm Regt!

Velox Versutus Vigilans
I believe the C1A2 was the "fully automatic" version of the original FNC1 7.62mm that was in service until the C7 and its Carbine model were introduced as the primary service rifle.

FNC1 was, by all means, the most dependable and ‘solid‘ rifle I have come across, with exception of the soviet-made AK-47. However, modern doctrine shows the smaller 5.56 C7, modeled after the U.S. M-16A2 is much better suited for contemporary combat for numerous reasons.

Sorry Luchi...I was running off at the mouth and didn‘t notice you said C"1" not C7. I was so pleased that I actually knew something about it.

My error...cheers!
Pronto; You‘ve almost got it right! There was an additional mod that incorporated the locking shoulder assembly but it was a small thing and probably not noted on the request fot model name change. One of the greatest difficulties with the FN series was that when it finally broke...it broke real hard! With the locking shoulder mod, one could remove the locking cam from the frame, grind a small bevel from the forward edge of the left side (the big side), replace the locking cam and square stake the frame to lock the cam in place. First line mod with no special tooling required. We were advised to mark the serial number on the frame with small asteriks to indicate that the job was done but not many bothered as you could see the mod without disassembly.

I didn‘t get this information from a book, it‘s what I do for a living.

Is yours an 8LXXXX series? If it is you‘re a lucky guy to have such a fine weapon in your possession!

All the Best

Dileas Gu Brath
To Dav:
Yes, my C1A2 is serial number 8L4188. I shoot it fairly regularly at Winona and Borden with ORA/OACA. It‘s getting to be more than a pain to keep current with Firearms Act paperwork. One must remember to bring one‘s PAL/FAC, ATT, SAP and green sheets or
FIN card. All these restrictions really curb crime in the streets, don‘t they?

Hello All,

This debate will probably go on forever. I‘m still partial to the old FN service rifle. It had greater range, more kick, and was in my opinion a "classier" weapon. Granted the C7 holds its own, but I guess one of the reasons the FN was scrapped was due to the cost of maintaining such a weapon (parts and maintenance etc.). How does everyone else feel about this? Which one of the two do you feel is the better weapon?!

-the patriot-
There are a lot of facets to that question, so it‘s a good one. Do you mean from an individual standpoint, or from a cost effectiveness standpoint, a casualty inflicting standpoint, etc.?

Personally, I did my basic with the FN and I couldnt‘ hit a damn thing with it on the range. I‘m 5‘5" and it was too much for me. The C7, with a small butt stock, is much easier for me to control and fire accurately. It‘s also lighter, which I like when I have to march with it.

If I went to war, I would probably not like the plastic parts much, or the stopping power of the bullet, though I could carry more ammo and also feel more confident in my ability to dominate my immediate area with full automatic firepower and a 30 round magazine as opposed to semi-auto with the FN and 20 rounds in the mag.

There is the old question about whether its better to wound or to kill enemy soldiers - for the rifleman, better to kill him dead so he‘s no threat to you. From a logistical stanpoint, every soldier you wound ties up that many more enemy rear area troops to look after him. It‘s not an argument I get involved in myself, but it‘s something some people do consider - and I hear that the 5.56 tumbles more, causing nastier wounds, though the 7.62 is heavier and more likely to kill you than a .223, depending on where it hits you.

There is the question of cost, of interchanability of ammunition with the rest of the section (you could use C1 mags in the C2 LMG, but you can also use C7 mags in the C9).

Another question is whether or not one is inherently more accurate than the other out to certain ranges - and how important is that anyway - how many troops fire their rifles effectively in combat (a question going back to SLA Marshall, who may have gotten many of the answers wrong, but it is a question worth asking even today). If the majority of killing is done with artillery and MG fire (in a conventional war, as WW II was - and as WW II vets found out) then does it really matter? But that raises the question again of how will our infantry be employed in the next 10 years - and who will they be shooting at?

Sorry to drag this out - but there are a lot of other little (good) questions to consider. Personally - from my perspective - I can carry a C7 and shoot it more accurately than I can an FN. I could probably use the rifle butt more effectively too, and the bayonet - the C7 being lighter and smaller - though I‘m not sure which would be more resistant to shattering over an enemy helmet or skull - the plastic or the wood butt.

I‘ve heard a lot of guys say that they prefer the FN simply because it "feels" like a weapon - they like the heft. So despite my own wishes, if the majority of my comrades preferred the FN, I would think their morale would be improved by switching over.
I‘m probably just a simpleton, but I liked the FN for the following reasons: stopping power of the round, and buttstroke.

They put a scope on the C7 - makes me wonder what it would have been like to put a scope on the FN ... ? I like the idea of being able to "reach out and touch somebody" at a larger distance ... especially if I‘m a better shot than they are!

However, I acknowledge that some people had difficulty with the FN and therefore prefer the smaller, lighter C7 - it‘s only human nature (similar debate probably ensued when the Lee Enfield was replaced).

Personally, I‘d also be happy to have a Mossberg "Intimidator" slung across my back when the s*** hits the fan - my logic has always been that if the battle has deteriorated to the stage whereby I (me personally) am firing my personal weapon, then it‘s only a matter of minutes or seconds, yards or metres before the bayonet fighting starts (and I‘m not interested in "coming in second" at that stage - heck, I‘d be packing a 9mm, too!)

Dileas Gu Brath
Mark Bossi, Esquire
Someone once told me (and I have never checked) that the C7 (with C79 sight), loaded, weighs more than the C1, loaded. True? False?
Quoting from B/OL/317-002/PT-001 (AKA CFP 317 (2))
rifle C1A1 and LAR:

Weight of rifle; 4.22 kg, 9# 6 oz;

Weight of rifle, full mag, bayonet; 5.24kg, 11# 10 oz. oz.

I can get similar specs for comparison for C7 avec sight etc from the "Never Pass a Fault" guys at the local Armoury.
Further to my last post on subj:
IAW CFP 317(18), C7, with loaded 30 rd mag, slig and oil bottle; weight 3.89kg. This is for the original C7 sans upper receiver and optical sight mod. 3.89kg= 8.558 #. I am told that the optical sight is no way coming in at 4#, therefore, the C7 cannot be heavier than the FN C1, all things being considered equal.
Forgive me if I appear somewhat abrasive, but there appear to be a goodly number of people out there blowing smoke out of their posteriors.

I recognize some of the names of the contributors to this forum and I know that at least two of you have never served a day in the Infantry in your lives. There aren‘t too many clerks out there with real operational experience any more (especially Reserve clerks!)(sorry guys, but gate guard doesn‘t cut it). So your opinions of how a weapon shoots, or how it carries is somewhat irrelevant in this particular forum. No offense intended; I‘m just saying it like it is, as Infanteers do.

When I served in the British Army I had, for a number of years, a beautifully refurbished SLR with a very grainy triangular wooden hand-guard and butt. This was a rarity, since the black plastic SLRs had long since taken the place, generally, of the wooden ones. The rifle also had a heavier barrel than most and was very accurate. I once shot for a morning on an ETR at Hythe Ranges on the south coast of England, shooting at targets at 600m with iron sights. I was scoring 2 out of three hits - which isn‘t bad considering that the fig. 11 target is half the size of the SLR foresight blade at 600m.

I found the Canadian C1 to be woefully inaccurate compared to the Brit SLRs I had fired. I attributed this to the abuse they took when pooled at the summer recruit trg establishments, and the appalling lack of proper maintenance back at the Units by the gun plumbers (it didn‘t help, either that the "bolts" were kept in a box and issued randomly with any wpn).

I find the Canadian C7 to be OK at up to 300m. The sight is crap, though, and it‘s effect on soldiers‘ peripheral vision is bad news, especially in close country. And I‘d really like to meet the winger whose idea it was to put that sight on the C9, too.

Personally, I think the notion of developing a round to wound an enemy is ludicrous. A wounded enemy soldier can still operate a wpn and I can think of numerous situations where you would really want him to go down and stay down. The 7.62 NATO round is not only more than adequate for the task, but is most effective against soft-skinned vehicles. 7.62 AP does a good job on li amd vehs, as well.

As an Infantry soldier, I‘d rather suffer under the additional weight of the 7.62 round and benefit from the greater punch, penetration, and range, than have a lighter round to fire. The issue of carrying less 7.62 ammo due to the extra weight is a non-starter.

The FN is a most robust rifle and highly effective. I‘d welcome it back in an upgraded version.
Well, you know, I really wasn‘t expecting too many people to take my comments all that seriously. I thought I‘d help Mike get his messageboard up and running, and given the dearth of posters here, didn‘t see the harm in throwing in a few comments from someone who is clearly a REMF.

To set your mind at ease, no offense taken, but it would appear my objective has been reached - ie stimulating discussion by those with more experience than I. It certainly got YOU to pontificate at length - which is what this place is all about.

But I think you want to watch that same, tired old attitude of "if you weren‘t there, shut up." It‘s not very condusive to stimulating thoughtful discussion. That‘s what we‘re here to do - not to set policy for the Canadian Army.

I was under the impression the bulk of your service in the British Army was as a Territorial in some lesser known County Regiment; please correct me if I‘m wrong. I mean, it would be very possible for some Falklands or Vietnam War vet to come along and tell YOU to shut yer gob. Which really wouldn‘t make any sense at all - we all have the right to express an opinion. That yours is worth more in this discussion than mine is obvious, my feeling is that there is no point in making an ass out of yourself by stating it.

At any rate, welcome to the forum, and its nice to see yet another Calgary Highlander here.

And while I haven‘t served a day in the infantry, I did serve one (single) night attached to a rifle platoon for the live-fire defensive ex two years ago. And I was complimented on my shooting (with the C7). Hardly operational experience, I realize, but not exactly armchair soldiering either.

With that, I‘ll gladly leave the conversation in the hands of those who (in your manner of thinking) have the "right" to comment. Truth be told, I‘d prefer to hear from those with "operational experience" - know where we can find any willing to post?
In this day and age, I think that it‘s pretty clear that
it‘s not only infanteers that have experience with the
service rifle, also infanteers don‘t get that much time
and ammo using their rifles anyway. Our Bisley team has
been from all trades for some time.

The FN is an outdated, heavy, difficult-to-clean weapon
that was very suited for its time and depending on the
mission could be used today.

The C7 has small rubber sights on the top of the C2 sight
to be used in closed country. The C2 sight is not crap,
it‘s very good, and is an excellent tool to use at night.
Your beloved British Army uses a 2X scope, if memory serves me correctly.

The 7.62 NATO round was also designed to wound, hence the
metal jacket. A wounded en uses a lot more en resources
and has a greater negative effect on morale.
Well Dorosh, if you took my general reference to non-Infantry opinions so much to heart I‘d say that is a personal choice...but if the cap fits, wear it!

I shouldn‘t think for one minute that anyone out there is interested in my service. Suffice to say that your own speculation about it is quite wrong!

You really spent a whole night with an infantry platoon? Dang Dorosh, I see you in a whole different light now (I think our Ladies‘ Auxiliary did something similar recently, too. They had a blast)! ;-D

But enough silliness. If you‘d like to discuss this offline, feel free.

For Magoo:

You said: In this day and age, I think that it‘s pretty clear that it‘s not only infanteers that have experience with the
service rifle, also infanteers don‘t get that much time
and ammo using their rifles anyway. Our Bisley team has
been from all trades for some time.

I say: But the discussion was about the wpn‘s application live and in theatre, was it not? It‘s use in theatre will largely be by Infanteers. We‘re not talking about target shooting to get trophies here - of the Bisley team, only the Infanteers are likely to engage the service rifle for its intended purpose.

You said: The FN is an outdated, heavy, difficult-to-clean weapon that was very suited for its time and depending on the
mission could be used today.

I say: Outdated compared to what? And what exactly does "outdated" mean in this context? I did say I‘d welcome the FN back in a "modified" version, however.

Heavy? Compared to what? I‘ve never heard a fit, properly trained Infanteer complain about the weight of the FN...even one with a Starlight scope on it (though that‘s dating me a bit).

Difficult to clean? Compared to what? The nooks and crannies in the upper receiver of the C7 are harder to get at and there are other, more awkward-to-clean rifles out there yet.

You said: The C7 has small rubber sights on the top of the C2 sight to be used in closed country. The C2 sight is not crap,
it‘s very good, and is an excellent tool to use at night.

I say: Take a look in any Infantry Unit wpns lock-up and see just how many of those "small rubber sights on the top of the C2 sight" are still there. Most of them wear off within a short time of receipt in the unit, making using and training with them a non-starter. Also, use of the C2 optic is extremely limiting to the all-important peripheral vision in close country. "Tunnel vision", even for a moment, is a very bad thing for an Infantry soldier. The C2 sight also has a nasty habit of becoming loose on the wpn right when you need it most. Infanteers tend to put their wpns through much more arduous conditions than simply firing on a range. Simply re-tightening the wing-nuts on the sight mount doesn‘t cut it, as the wpn zero is lost and subsequent shots fired are inaccurate. BTW, all optic sights have certain inherent light-gathering qualities in poor light conditions. The C2 sight is poorly designed and not nearly robust enough for the Infantry. Like I said...it‘s crap!

You said: Your beloved British Army uses a 2X scope, if memory serves me correctly.

I say: That would be the sight on the SA80, which was not being discussed. I don‘t know much about that sight as I only used it a few times close to the end of my British service. I do know that the wpn it‘s mounted on is absolute crap and a very poor substitute for the FN.

You said: The 7.62 NATO round was also designed to wound, hence the metal jacket. A wounded en uses a lot more en resources
and has a greater negative effect on morale.

I say: That‘s crap! Any grunt in the thick of it wants the enemy to go down and stay down. He couldn‘t care less what‘s happening in the enemy‘s rear ech! A 7.62 NATO round will go through a brick wall and kill the bastard on the other side. A 5.56 probably won‘t. See if you can attend a penetration demonstration some time...you‘ll get the idea.

This is a free thinking discussion group and it does not matter if someone is a wrench bender, cook, admin clerk or grunt. If they have an opinion about a topic they are more then within their right to contribute. In case you forget, the C7 is classified as a service weapon, not an infantry specific rifle. You obviously have alot of experience and could contribute alot to this forum, however, your comments toward other active members are for the most part narrow minded infantry drivel.

I carried the C1 and the C2 and I much prefer the C7 and C9 series we currently have. Is it the optimum solution for a Canadian soldier, no of course not, but what army in the world is kitted out with the best of weapons...? Not many.

I‘m off to the Ladies Auxiliary for tea now. Cheerio!
Gents, the sight on the C7 is a C79; the C2 is a mortar sight and is also used with the C6 SF kit.