The FN EVOLYS machine gun is the latest development of the famous Belgian company FN Herstal from Liege. Introduced in May of 2021, the FN EVOLYS machine gun is initially available in two versions, chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. This machine gun is very light for a belt-fed weapon, in 5.56mm being almost 2 kg lighter than an FN Minimi / M249. In 7.62x51mm, it is almost 2 times lighter than an FN MAG / M240, or about a kilogram lighter than a Russian PKM, although the latter has a noticeably longer barrel. Light weight is achieved by making the receiver from aluminum alloys and using modern plastics.
The FN EVOLYS machine gun is a gas-operated, belt-fed weapon. It uses a short-stroke gas system, with a gas piston running below the barrel, and rotary bolt locking. The gas block features a manual gas regulator. Barrels can be easily replaced by the operator in the field. Gun fires from the open bolt and can deliver single shots of full-automatic fire. Safety/fire selector levers are ambidextrous. Unlike most modern machine guns, the FN EVOLYS machine gun features a fixed top cover with a long, uninterrupted Picatinny rail. The belt feed unit is mounted on the left side of the receiver, and the belt feed cover opens to the left and forward, with the feed tray inclined down at about 45 degrees. The feed mechanism is designed to be loaded by simply placing the belt on the tray, and then closing the feed cover. When the feed cover is closed, its paws automatically position the first round in the belt for the feed to the chamber. Additional levers are built into the feed unit to automatically eject the last two links of the fully expended belt, thus further speeding up combat reloads. The firing system is unusual as it combines open bolt firing with a separate hammer, mounted “upside-down” inside the receiver. This ensures protection from accidental discharges or “runaway gun” malfunctions, as even if the bolt inadvertently slams forward, the gun cannot fire unless the hammer is released by pulling the trigger.
The FN EVOLYS machine gun is optimized for a “light machine gun/ squad automatic” role and features a side-folding, adjustable shoulder stock, similar in design to the one used on the FN SCAR rifle, and a lightweight folding bipod. Ammunition can be fed from soft pouches with 50 (7.62mm) or 100 and 200 (5.56mm) rounds capacities, or from loose belts. Pouches can be attached to the bottom of the gun. Equipped with folding iron sights mounted on Picatinny rail, the FN EVOLYS machine gun also can mount all types of modern sighting equipment for day and night use. It also can be equipped with a quick detach sound suppressor.
|FN EVOLYS 5.56||FN EVOLYS 7.62|
|Caliber||5.56×45 mm||7.62×51 mm|
|Barrel length, mm||355||406|
|Weight empty, kg||5.5||6.2|
|Rate of fire, rounds per minute||750||750|
|Feed and capacity||Belt||belt|