I swear I hate these troll-collecting "which is better Ford or Chevy" discussions, but I own one of each and I'm in a ranting kind of mood tonight
I may be a little biased because I like FN products. Have owned/own an FNC, P90, FAL, and love(d) every one of them. My Teutonic Steel collection consists/consisted of the G3 (Portugese and YES it still counts although it wasn't built out of Black Forest Steel by Teutonic Gnomes), SL8/G36 conversion, and a USP compact pistol. Haven't been ecstatic over any of them for different reasons I won't go into here. That and because HK hates me
I bought my preban Portugese G3 *during* the ban and paid well for it. Required some work and bought pricey rare (at the time) parts to complete the package deal... -91 style furniture, collapsible stock, pile of mags, etc. I even bought the $400 HK "Heavy" bipod, which I've only seen in Buddy Hinton's picture album. What kind of moron buys a $400 bipod!!! Never have seen pics of that in the wild... only in US collections. In truth I think they built that to make money from US collectors as the "ultra rare factory heavy bipod". Seriously!
I must say that the overall fit and finish of the G3 is nice, but darn is it heavier than the FAL, no matter which furniture set I put on it! Considerably heavier. So much for the "stamped receivers are lighter" argument. If I had to go hiking around with one or the other, I would choose the FAL, no questions asked.
The drum sights on the G3 aren't the best. That V-notch just doesn't give me a good sight window as the "ghost" shadow it leaves just doesn't work for me. Maybe it is just my eyes, but honestly I prefer setting it to the 200 peep hole and just aiming low. The FAL sights are the ghost ring as well but I've noticed they don't offer the most uniform shadow. Perhaps it is just mine, but the ghost ring doesn't look like normal peeps I've used. Like it has a burr hanging into the peep. So no one wins here. But the FAL peep has a slight edge. Nitpicking I'm sure.
Speaking of sighting solutions, I love the FAL Trilux scope so much that I have it on my Para (although the collector in my knows that isn't "correct"). I may buy a 2nd one for my Galil. I have yet to buy the G3 optic but the ones I've seen are fairly pricey. I would love to find some of those higher-power scopes for both rifles, but I don't have 1K to spend on glass for safe queens.
I am probably the only person on the planet that doesn't like the "cool" HK clips on the HK multi-use sling. You cannot use them without scratching the finish because the "no-slip" design acts like a file on the sling loop. Ditto for the single-point buckle - scratch-o-matic when using it! And the single-point clip, while well placed on the handguard, doesn't always stay in place. Not a problem on a service weapon for the guy guarding a road block, but the collector in me winces every time I have to remove or install it. Heck even with an AK sling you can use pliers to squeeze the clip enough to avoid excessive scracthing on the finish, but not so for the HK clips. The FAL sling I have is a bit nicer since it attaches like a belt. Don't think it is FAL-original but it works with the sling loops. The G3 leather slings are next to impossible to buckle up. FAL wins here. Nitpicking again.
And why is it on the G3 that every thing you put on it has to gouge into the finish? The HK claw scope mount, the carry handle, even the HK bipod all terribly scratch the finish. Assembly and disassembly scratch the finish due to the slip-on nature of the stock and grip frame. FAL winner here too.
Whoever designed the G3 must have been counting on never using the weapon prone, because you can't touch that charging handle way up there near the muzzle! At least the FAL charging handle is close enough that you can grab it. Both are smartly located on the weak hand side, so magazine changes and action cycles are relatively easier than for example AKs. Not that I'm a big acronym-club-speed-shooter that requires .017 second reloads, mind you. FAL wins again.
I admit that I like the G3 paddle magazine release infinitely better than the FAL. If the FAL mag release were reshaped to be less of a cheese grater it would be nice. Actually the fact that it is so short means the leverage you must exert is higher. So I think it needs simply to be longer and that would do the trick. But the default size and shape just doesn't do it for me. G3 absolutely wins here unless you're comparing to a "standard" semi-only G3 conversion where the paddle mag has not been installed, then it goes to the FAL.
Now I must admit I've always been fond of the FAL's para folding stock. I think watching the Wild Geese as a kid burned the image of the FAL (and Uzi!) into my head as the premier battle implements by which all others are judged. Thankfully the Wild Geese DVD was released However to be realistic, the FAL folding stock just works. The G3 collapsible stock seems like an afterthought. It is like one of the Teutonic Gnomes mining Black Forest Steel for the G3 assembly line looked at a pic of an M3 grease gun and said "yeah let's add one of those". Since the G3 is a recoil action, all of that energy is telegraphed to your shoulder and turns the collapsible stock into the HK Rebar Face Slapper... try it and you'll know what I mean. Great for testing the integrity of your fillings! I dislike it so much so that although I paid preban prices for it, I keep it in the spare parts box and keep the synthetic full stock on it at all times. FAL wins with TWO hands down!
Speaking of recoil, the FAL, being a gas-operated system, keeps much of that recoild off the shoulder. It just kicks so much less than the G3 it isn't really fair to compare the two. I have a hard time, even with the bipod, cranking off a mag in the G3 and keeping it anywhere near the target. I can't believe the real version would be used in FA - ever - in an unsupported stance. And yes if you are at a range to do it, try emptying all 20 rounds out of the mag into a target at 100 yards at a sustained fire rate with the bipod out on both. You'll impact all over the place with the G3! The FAL isn't too bad, it just seems to be better at this. I'm sure enough practice would tame that wild horse but it isn't realistic to try, especially if the brain-craving undead are rapidly approaching. Subjectively, FAL wins here.
OK enough of my venting and nitpicking. I can't speak for long-term reliability in either as I don't have cases of 308 laying around to shoot up. Nor do I have a good accuracy report. I can make cans dance with both, so I think both are good enough in that department. Anyway I got it off my chest so now I feel better
I'm going to declare the Saiga .308 the winner because it is an AK