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Fabrique Nationale is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of firearms. Their line includes a wide array of pistols, rifles, machine guns, shotguns, ammunition, and accessories of all kinds. This line is meant for civilian self-defense or home-defense, competitions, military action, and law enforcement use. For well over a century, FN has been at the forefront of weapons manufacturing, and its products have been put to the test on many proving grounds and battlefields around the world. There is no denying that they are a force to be reckoned with. FN is part of Herstal Group, which is the parent company of the FN, Browning, and Winchester small-arms manufacturing companies. Herstal Group itself is based in Belgium, and has offices in nine other countries in Europe, the United States, and Asia. Get ready to read all about the development of this legendary company in this, our FN Herstal Firearms Overview.
FN Herstal Firearms History
In 1889, the Belgian government was in need of 150,000 units of the Mauser Model 89 rifle. The major arms manufacturers of the Liège region answered the call, and came together to establish the Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (French: National Factory of Weapons of War) in the small town of Herstal. Several years later, in 1897, renowned firearms designer John Moses Browning formed a close partnership with the company, and that bond lasted until his death. Browning died in 1926, but his designs and ideas continued to drive the company forward. Even now, 90 years after his passing, his firearms are still used as the basis for more modern models, and stand as a shining example of ingenuity and innovation.
In 1970, Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre became FN Herstal, in order to better represent the company’s ever-growing line of products, which go far beyond mere “weapons of war”. In 1981, FN Herstal opened up FN Manufacturing, a corporate office and production plant in Columbia, South Carolina, in order to produce the FN MAG for the U.S. Army, which was designated as M240. In 1998, FN Herstal opened up FNH USA, a marketing and sales facility in McLean, Virginia, in order to provide their U.S. operations with support. These two entities: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA, became unified under FN America in 2014. FN Herstal has more offices and manufacturing facilities in the UK, Japan, Portugal, and Finland. Now, let’s take a look at FN’s impressive line of firearms. Fun fact: for many years, FN was also an automobile manufacturer. The company stopped producing cars, motorbikes, and trucks by the early 1960’s, but is still recognized as Belgium’s longest-lived maker of cars.
FN Herstal Handguns Overview
For personal protection and home defense, there is nothing that can compare with the work of John Browning. FN’s knowledge and experience put them a cut above the rest, and provide people with the means of protecting themselves and the ones they love.
- FNS Series – a collection of semi-automatic, polymer-framed pistols, chambered in 9X19mm and .40 S&W. This collection has been produced as of 2011, and includes the FNS-9, FNS-9 Long Slide, FNS-9 Compact
- FNS-40, FNS-40 Long Slide, and FNS-40 Compact.
- FNX Series – a collection of semi-automatic, polymer-framed pistols, chambered in 9X19mm, .45 APC, and .40 S&W. This series includes the FNX-9, FNX-40, FNX-45, and FNX-45 Tactical.
- FNP Series – a collection of semi-automatic, polymer-framed pistols, chambered in .357 SIG, .45 APC, and .40 S&W. This series was introduced in 2006, and includes the FNP-9, FNP-9M, FNP-40, FNP-45, and FNP-357.
- Five-SeveN – a semi-automatic, delayed blowback action pistol, chambered in FN’s own 5.7X28mm cartridge. It has been produced since 1998, and has been in service since 2000. Variants include the Five-SeveN, Five-seveN Tactical, Five-seveN IOM, Five-seveN USG, Five-seveN FDE & ODG, and the latest model, the Five-seveN MK2, which was introduced in 2013.
FN Herstal Submachine Guns and Machine Guns Overview
When it comes to fully-automatic machine guns, FN are considered a legend and pioneer. Their light and heavy guns have been brought into countless conflicts, battles, and combat situations around the world.
- Minimi (M249) – a light machine gun, chambered in 5.56mm NATO. Designed in the mid-70’s, this machine gun entered service in 1975. Designated as M249 SAW in the United States, it is used by over 75 countries’ armed forces. Variants include the Minimi 7.62 and Minimi Mk3.
- Mark 46 (Mk 46) and Mark 48 (Mk 48) – standalone variants of the M249 light machine gun, chambered in 7.62X51mm. These have been developed for the United States Special Forces, and produced by FN since 2003.
- M240 Series – a collection of medium machine guns, chambered in 7.62X51mm. Variants include M240B, M240L, M240H, M240/M240C, and M240D.
- M2HB-QCB – a heavy machine gun, chambered in .50 caliber, and designed in 1918 by John Browning himself. It has been in service since 1933, which makes it the machine gun with the longest production time in history.
- P90 – chambered in FN’s 5.7X28mm caliber, it is a blowback submachine gun. Designed in the late 80’s and produced as of 1990, the P90 is in use by over 40 countries. It is considered a personal defense weapon, but can also be categorized as a submachine gun or a compact assault rifle. Originally, it was only meant for military and law enforcement use, but in 2005 a semi-auto model (known as the PS90) has been available for civilian shooters.
Other versions of the P90 include the P90 Tactical, P90 LV, P90 TR, P90 TR LV, P90 USG, and P90 USG IR.
FN Herstal Rifles Overview
FN manufactures a wide range of assault and tactical rifles, chambered in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm, the most famous of which is the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) series, which has been produced since 2004. Regardless of the mission at hand, there is a FN rifle which is up for the task.
- SCAR MK 16 – available in standard, long barrel, or close quarters combat versions, it is a 5.56X45mm caliber compact assault weapon. Also known as SCAR 16.
- SCAR MK 17 – available in standard, long barrel, or close quarters combat versions, it is a 7.62X51mm caliber compact assault weapon. Also known as SCAR 17.
- SCAR PDW – a personal defense weapon which is chambered in 5.56X45mm. It is an ultra-compact design, which facilitates concealability. When collapsed, its length is 20.5”.
- SCAR MK 13 EGLM – FN’s grenade launcher (40mm) which can be mounted to the MK 16 and MK 17, or be used as a standalone weapon with the aid of a stock assembly. Also known as a the FN40GL.
- CSR-20 / MK 20 SSR – FN’s semi-automatic sniper support rifles, chambered in 7.62X51mm. They provides long-range coverage, and are of an ambidextrous design.
- SCAR 16S / SCAR 17S / SCAR 20S – commercially available, semi-automatic, civilian versions of the fully-auto rifles. These are chambered in 5.56X45mm and 7.62X51mm calibers.
- PS90 – a carbine version of the P90, which was released in 2005, and is intended for civilian use. Like the original, it has a compact bullpup design. Whether it is for personal defense or competition shooting, the semi-automatic PS90 is sure to deliver results.
- FN 15 Series – chambered in 5.56X45mm, this is a series of rifles which was designed in the military, and later introduced to the civilian market. The series includes the FN 15 Carbine, FN 15 MOE SLG, FN 15 Rifle, FN 15 Patrol Carbine, FN 15 Patrol Carbine SBR 10.5”, FN 15 Patrol Carbine SBR 14.5”, FN 15 1776, FN 15 Competition, FN 15 Sporting, FN 15 DMR, FN 15 Tactical Carbine, and the FN 15 Tactical .300 BLK (.300 caliber [aka 7.62X35mm]).
- FN 15 Military Collector Series – in November of 2015, FN announced it is to launch a product line which will include commercial, semi-automatic versions of FN’s most iconic military weapons: the M16, the M4, and the M249 SAW. These are authentic recreations of these widely-used firearms, meant for those who are interested in adding a real piece of history to their collection.
FN Herstal Bolt-Action Rifles Overview
Another series of bolt-action weapons which have been designed for war, forged in various battles and confrontation, and which are now available for civilian use. These are firearms which are the very definition of acute precision.
- SPR A1 – chambered in .308 Winchester caliber, it fires 4 rounds from a detachable box magazine.
- SPR A3G – chambered in .308 Winchester caliber, it fires 5 rounds from a hinged floorplate magazine.
- SPR A5M XP – chambered in .308 Winchester caliber, it fires 5 from a tactical box magazine.
- FNAR Competition – a semi automatic competition rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester. It fires 10 rounds from a detachable box magazine.
- BALLISTA – a multi-caliber sniper rifle, meant for police, military, and civilian use. It allows calibers to be converted in less than 2 minutes, and features an ambidextrous design.
- Calibers: .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, .308 Winchester.
FN Herstal Shotguns Overview
Shotguns are a part of American history. FN’s shotguns are designed for tactical and competitive use, and they have been put to the test in the world’s harshest environments and under the most difficult of conditions.
- SC 1 – a 12-gauge, over/under, single shot shotgun, chambered in 2¾” and 3”, with limited production. A shotgun with a sense of style.
- SLP / SLP MK 1 – a 12-gauge, gas-operated, autoloading shotgun. Chambered in 2¾” and 3”, with varying ammo capacity. Also available in a tactical version, with a longer length of pull and three-position accessory rails.
- SLP COMPETITION – a 12-gauge, gas-operated, autoloading, competition shotgun. Chambered in 2¾” and 3”, with varying ammo capacity, it features flip up rear sights and fiber optic front sights.
- P-12 – a 12-gauge, fast-cycling, pump-action shotgun, chambered in 2¾” and 3”, with varying ammo capacity.
- FN’s line of products also includes many discontinued firearms. Over the many years of its existence, FN has designed, released, and subsequently discontinued a great number of models and variants of different firearms. The military and civilian markets are constantly changing, and FN rolls right along with them. Some of these discontinued firearms are still in circulation, others are now considered rare collector’s items, yet all of them are respected and recognized as being superior weapons of assault and defense.
Here is a quick look at two of the most popular weapons FN is currently producing: the Five-seveN and the FNX-9:
As previously mentioned, it is a full size, semi-automatic, 5.7mm caliber pistol. Many law-enforcement agencies use the Five-seveN, but it is also popular with civilians. It features single-action operation, low recoil, ambidextrous safety lever, picatinny mounting rail, and a checkered grip.
FN Herstal Five-seveN Specifications
- Action – delayed blowback.
- Weight – 1.3 lb empty, 1.6 lb loaded.
- Length – 8.2 inches.
- Barrel length – 4.8 inches.
- Width – 1.4 inch.
- Height – 5.4 inches.
- Magazine – 20 rounds (standard), 30 rounds (extended), a 10 round magazine is also available in certain states.
- Introduced – 1998.
FN Herstal FNX-9
The FNX-9 is a full size, semi-automatic, 9mm caliber pistol, with double-action/single-action operation. When the FNX series was introduced, many shooters were excited to hear that FN has improved on its older FNP series. The FNX has got a polymer frame, ambidextrous controls, interchangeable backstraps, mounting rail, and a military-grade barrel. Perfect for on- or off-duty carry.
FN Herstal FNX-9 Specifications
- Action – recoil-operated.
- Weight – 1.3 lb empty.
- Length – 7.4 inches.
- Barrel length – 4 inches.
- Width – 1.55 inch.
- Height – 5.45 inches.
- Magazine – 17 rounds (standard), a 10 round magazine is also available in certain states.
- Introduced – 2010.
FN have been manufacturing weapons for over 125 years. I suppose that after that long a time, they undoubtedly picked up some of the most valuable tips and tricks of the trade. In other words, they know how to manufacture a proper firearm. Times are always changing, and FN are rolling right along with them, using the advancements in technology to their advantage. Nowadays, FN is carrying on in the spirit of its founders. It is continuing its proud tradition, and is leaning upon its age-old heritage of excellence in design, engineering, and production. Many people are highly attached to their SIGs, their Glocks, their HKs. Most of them are quick to turn their nose at FN firearms, but all they need to do is pick one up and give it a shot (so to speak). Like their slogan states, they are probably the world’s most battle-proven firearms.