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How can I tell if a FH is in fact an original USGI or a knock off copy?
Usually by the wrapper. :p

Some of the issue ones are worse looking than the copies.

There were at least 4 acceptable ways to manufacture USGI. Forged one piece, forged two piece, cast one piece and cast two piece. They may have a small square sight deck, long square sight deck or long contoured sight deck.

Many NIP that are considered fakes are actually USGI repacks.
Many that are considered commercial are actually reconditioned USGI.

When SAI started using commercial ones (early 2000's), they had round splines and were made in Taiwan. More recent ones, with square splines, are made in South Korea.

The only ones I know of that are actually made in China are the Polytech and such.

The easiest way to tell if a used one is USGI is to look at the muzzle. If the face has small nicks, dings and bumps, it is USGI. Only a GI would treat a rifle like that. Bead blasting can make most of the flash hider look new, but it can't hide those marks on the muzzle. They may also have longer flutes, recut to hide flame cutting.

Post or IM pics and we'll try to ID anything in question.

I will also add that before USGI surplus hiders became abundant in the 1990's, some creative folks tried assembling them from demilled hiders. These will be two piece and have been known to come apart.
 
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