|Full text name
|FN FNC assault rifle
|5.56x45 NATO, .223 Remington
|Overall length, mm
|997 (911 - FN FNC "Para")
|Length, folded, mm
|776 (680 - FN FNC "Para")
|Barrel length, mm
|449 (363 - FN FNC "Para")
|Weight empty, kg
|4,06 (3,81 - FN FNC "Para")
|Magazine capacity, rounds
|Cyclic rate of fire, rounds/min
Following the market failure of their previous 5.56mm caliber assault rifle, the CAL, the famous Belgian company Fabrique Nationale began to develop a new assault rifle to match the new NATO cartridge that was issued as standard in the early 1970’s. That round was of course .223 Remington and was redesignated as 5.56 x 45 NATO for its new role in that organisation.
The final design, called the FNC (Fabrique Nationale Carbine) was produced in 1978. It was consequently adopted by the Belgian Armed Forces. It was also adopted by Sweden and Indonesia, and both of those countries purchased licenses from FN to build FNC carbines at their own facilities, that would have some modifications to the original.
The Swedish version is known as the Bofors AK-5 and the Indonesian version is known as the Pindad SS1. The FNC was also sold to some police forces around the world and in limited numbers to civilians – as a”Sporter” model, restricted to semi-automatic mode only.
The FNC is a gas operated, selective fire, magazine fed weapon.
The gas drive and rotating bolt of the FNC strongly resemble the AK-47 system. It has however been adapted to more advanced production techniques such as CNC machining and with some minor modifications to the Kalashnikov design. The long stroke gas piston is located above the barrel and is linked to the bolt carrier. Unlike the AK-47, the gas piston rod can be separated from the bolt carrier when the gun is disassembled.
The gas system features a two-position gas regulator (settings intended for either normal or adverse conditions) and a separate gas cutoff, combined with folding rifle grenade sights. When the grenade sights are raised into the ready position, the gas cutoff automatically blocks the gas supply to the action, allowing for the safe launching of rifle grenades. Both gas cutoff and grenade sight are located on the gas chamber, just behind the front sight. The now common rotating bolt has two massive lugs that lock into the barrel extension.
The receiver is made from two separate parts that are linked by two cross-pins. The receiver can be opened for disassembly and maintenance by removing the rear pin, so that the parts can be hinged around the forward pin. This can also be removed to separate the receiver parts. The upper receiver is made from stamped steel and the lower receiver, along with the magazine housing, is made from aluminum alloy.
The barrel of the FNC is equipped with a flash hider which also serves as a rifle grenade launcher. It is equipped with hooded post front sight and a flip-up,”L” shaped rear diopter sight with 2 settings, for 250 and 400 meters range.
The controls of the FNC consist of a 4 position safety / mode selector switch on the left side of the receiver. Available modes are Safe, Single shot, 3-round bursts and Full Automatic fire. The cocking handle is attached to the bolt carrier at the right side and does reciprocate with the bolt group when the gun is fired.
The rear part of the cocking handle slot, cut in the upper receiver for the cocking handle, is covered by a spring-loaded cover. This cover is automatically opened by the handle when it returns and automatically closes the opening when the cocking handle moves forward.
The FNC is equipped with a side-folding buttstock, made of steel and covered with plastic. A solid, non-folding plastic butt is also available as an option. The pistol handle and the forend are both made from polymer plastic. This weapon is equipped with sling swivels and can be fitted either with a special bayonet or with an adapter for the US M7 knife-bayonet. This rifle is fed from any STANAG (NATO standard) compliant magazine, and issued with magazines of 30 round capacity. If required, the FNC could be fitted with 4X telescopic sight or various IR / night vision equipment.