Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
This FN Series Offers Collectors A Chance To Own Some Iconic Military Firearms
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal was established with one purpose: to manufacture military rifles for Belgium. Over its 120-year history, the company has become one of the world's leading firearms manufacturers, with a range of products including pistols, submachine guns, rifles, and machine guns for militaries and gun enthusiasts. And with its “Military Collector” series, the company offers private collectors the chance to own "civilian-ready" versions of four FN rifles; most recently announced: the M249S PARA.
Last year, FNH USA launched the series, which features commercial versions of its most popular military firearms in recent history. Hailed as the closest you'll get to owning some of the U.S. military's firearms, the collection debuted with FN's version of two weapons currently in service — the M4 and the M16 — and recently added the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, a light machine gun that fires a 5.56 mm round. FN’s version is a semi-automatic replica with a 200-round capacity.
FN 15 Military Collector M16
Manufactured at FNH USA's factory in Columbia, South Carolina, the Military Collector series takes advantage of pre-existing tooling used to manufacture and test contract guns that meet military specifications. “Mil spec” firearms and parts are often coveted by the black rifle community. FN's collector series offerings are far from the only guns made to mil spec standards (the engineering standards required for most military hardware), but they do have the benefit of being made by the military's current contractor.
FNH USA is a military contractor that has produced a number of firearms for the military; in 2015, it won a shared $212 million contract with Colt Defense, to supply the Department of Defense with M4 and M4A1 carbines.
The highpoint of the Military Collector series at present is the belt-fed FN M249S. The 5.56x45mm SAW has been in service since 1984 and has seen action everywhere from Panama to Mogadishu to Afghanistan. At the beginning of the year, FN announced the addition of the Paratrooper version of the SAW with a telescoping stock and 16.1-inch barrel. The M249S has been reengineered to fire from a closed rather than open bolt, like the original. These changes help improve semi-automatic accuracy and should prevent the gun from being illegally converted to full auto.
FN 15 Military Collector M4
In a statement announcing the M249S Paratrooper model, John Keppeler, the senior vice president of sales and marketing, boasted that "you'll notice only two major differences between the semi- and full-auto versions — the barrel length and reconfigured internal components to change the rifle's operation from open-bolt to closed-bolt. Authenticity was critical in this series and we changed as little as possible."
Some may ask why would you want a squad automatic weapon that isn't “automatic.” Breaking out a belt-fed gun at the range is always a conversation starter and the chance to own a legal version of a weapon many collectors thought they'd never get the chance to even shoot is hard to pass up. Guns used by the military will always have an added credibility and allure for civilian buyers. And while the AR-15 market makes it relatively easy to buy or build an M4 or M16 clone, the M249S offers the only opportunity to own a SAW replica.
The Military Collector line, however, isn't cheap. The M4 and M16 replicas carry a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,749, placing them in the higher end of the AR-15 market spectrum. They ship with Knights Armament M4RAS Adapter rails, with rail adapter covers, as well as a vertical forward grip. The semi-automatic M249S comes in at an eye-watering $8,499. At that price, customers could buy an actual registered, entry-level machine gun such as a MAC-10. The newly introduced M249S PARA costs even more at $8,799. Though some might say that is a lot of money for a semi-automatic rifle that weighs 16 pounds, the M249S is undoubtedly the most collector-centric of the Military Collector series.
The series now includes almost every current FN model used by the military, but not all. Perhaps the next weapon to join the series will be the M240 general purpose machine gun, chambered in 7.62x51mm. The M240 is the U.S. version of the FN MAG, which is used by dozens of militaries around the world.
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
A Marine Raider convicted in a North Carolina court of misdemeanor assault for punching his girlfriend won't spend any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation, a court official told Task & Purpose.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.
That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.