The IWI Galil ACE in any of its 4 available calibers is arguably one of the greatest modern evolutions of the Kalashnikov (and Garand) platforms.
Improved “westernized” ergonomics and in both pistol (for now) and rifle formats and in both comm-bloc and both NATO calibers the ACE is an ACE in the space.
Henry and Josh take it through the 9-Hole course and it delivers a fantastic run in 7.62×39, a caliber not known for its beyond 300 meter performance. Of all four major calibers it becomes the most atmospheric sensitive the earliest, which isn’t surprising considering it is the slowest and has a lackluster ballistic coefficient.
[NOTE: Yes, Henry improperly states that the ACE has a NON-reciprocating charging handle. This is in error. It doesn’t influence the result.]
The ACE pistols are fun compact little firecrackers and the rifles are solid well thought out performers. But my favorite variants of the ACE are foreign only (right now) because they sport the 13″ barrels.
11.5-14.5″ carbines are all the rage in 2020 as folks have tried the various lengths ballistics in the various chamberings and it seems to hit that happy balance of all relevant factors. It’s sized well to use in and around limited space environments like hallways and vehicles. It still provides enough barrel to achieve acceptable ballistics and not be too ‘flashy’ at the muzzle if not running suppressed. Speaking of that they run well suppressed, are easy to gas properly, and are still maintain a fairly small profile with modern cans. It’s the ‘sweet spot’ of rifles, although more along the lines of a ‘sweet zone’ since the variables are… well… variable.
The ACE is easily arguable as the best AK variant for a whole host of reasons. It tracks well in modern ergonomics, modern compatibility, ease of maintenance, reliability, accuracy, and cost. You can get a decent bone stock AK for less than an ACE but getting one that is set up with the factory provided enhancements that the ACE has usually runs you quite a bit more.
The Rifle Dynamics, Krebs, or Fuller, rifles are going to be phenomenally built and run well. But so is the ACE. I love my RD, its a great rifle I have no plans to part with. But if I was given the option of “AKs” off a table, the Beryl, AK12/15, Krebs, RD, Arsenal AK20, etc. and told to kit one out for serious use it would be the ACE. Access to the aftermarket? Still the ACE.