Gun Review: The FN FNC: Affordable Select-Fire 5.56

In the world of fully automatic rifles here in the States, there is no question that the M16 reigns supreme. If you are fortunate enough to possess a legally registered M16 lower receiver the world is your oyster; You essentially have a full auto tinker toy that you can configure into any caliber or configuration that your heart desires, and parts are cheap and readily available. The downside is that an M16 these days on average will cost the buyer around $20,000 (which could put one heck of a dent in your mortgage). However, all hope is not lost for a buyer looking for a great 5.56 rifle that you can rock and roll with at the range; The FN FNC is a great entry level machine gun that costs less than half of what you can buy an M16 for these days.

The FN FNC  was designed in the 70’s by, well, you guessed it, FN Herstal of Belgium. It replaced the more expensive FN CAL rifle and became the standard service rifle of Belgium in the late 80’s. It is still in service within the armed forces of Belgium, and licensed copies of the rifle are in service in Sweden as the AK5, and Indonesia as the Pindad SS1. It is said that approximately 6,000 FN FNC rifles were imported into the USA in the 80’s, and for the price of about $750 you could buy yourself a new one. Some of these guns were converted to selective fire by registering the receivers, but S&H Arms conversions via the installation of a registered auto sear are the most common. One funny thing about the FNC sears is that there are in fact more registered auto sears in the USA than there are FNC Rifles! Anyways, you can buy a semi automatic FNC for about $3,000 and a sear for about the same price, so for about $6500 you can have a legal fun switch on a great little rifle. This quick write up is more or less to supplement a weekly gun glamor segment I would like to start. Enjoy these photos of my FNC rifles, and please do not hesitate to ask any questions. I would be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability!

EDIT: Since the publishing of this post, it seems to be clear that the age old rumor of “more sears than guns” seems to be a false one. Serial numbers seem to stop somewhere around 3,500 for sears. Also, as of 3/30/2015, sear prices have more than doubled since the publishing of this article.








And here is a tiny piece of metal that will cost you a pretty penny! This is one of two sears I have purchased that is pending transfer to me at my SOT. I find it comical that the dealer taped the sear to the approved Form 3, and that they found a new way to spell “machine gun”.


Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Can I take this occasion to smuggly snear, once more, at Bull-pups?
    “Enemies comming ritht at me, now where the #$#% is that #”$”#$# magazine going to fit? Ah, here it – BANG!”

  • And this was a compliment to the FN, for NOT being a Bull-pup.
    Bull-pups are for the French, wait, not even for thm anymore?

  • Grimbob

    Someone has been watching “Upotte!!”

  • Steve Calovich

    Gun Glamor Segment? Sounds great.

  • Keaton

    I am curious, did the guns come in that condition, or did you add some sort of finish like gun-cote to the front? I was just noticing that they seemed to be in superb condition, at least on the outside.

    • RickH

      Just the way they look, I had two still have one (both semi). The coating on the steel components like the upper receiver, barrel, is like a”satin” paint finish, the lower receiver is which is aluminum is a black blued/anodized type finish. Then again you are right, they do look in great condition. Also, the oem FNC mag is steel.

    • Alex C.

      The finish on the guns is the way they came right out of the factory, and it looks almost ceramic up close. The two guns with the fixed stocks are also unfired, which may explain why they appear to be in unusually good condition. The folder however has been used and abused!

  • Frank W. James

    You are absolutely right. I purchase a registered receiver FNC recently for exactly the same reason. It was about the same in price as an M2 Carbine. Still waiting on the paperwork, but shooting it at the S.O.T. we found it didn’t cycle correctly as it acted like it wasn’t getting enough gas pressure. Not sure what the problem is, but will work with it once the paperwork comes through. However, it does have a 14″ barrel and not the original 20″ barrel, so that could be part of the problem.

    Cyclic rate was slower than I imagined, which isn’t altogether a bad thing…

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

    • Mr Silly

      Cyclic rate could be lower pressure due to civilian propellant. The Ruger SR 556 and 762 have a similar issue wit cycling where they have an adjustable regulator valve. I’d suggest adjusting the regulation of the gas- if it is adjustable.

      Ruger has a great video on this.
      FAQ: optimal regulator settings
      Ruger (dot) products (slash) sr762 (slash) extras(dot) html

  • Bad Enough

    How do you like the pistol grips? They seem like they are at an awkward enough angle to get uncomfortable quickly.

    • Alex C.

      They are the same grips that you will find on an FN FAL, so for people familiar with an M16A2 grip angle then it will take some getting used to. However, any FN FAL grip will fit these guns so you can alter the angle as you see fit!

  • Esh325

    I doubt now or ever you could find many FNC’s that are only 3000$’s.

    • Alex C.

      All three of these guns were purchased for $3,000 or less in the past year.

      • RickH

        $3000.00 seems to be the high point. I sold mine 5-6 years ago on GB for that amount. I had seen a few wanting $4000.00, but not sure if those sold.

      • Pacino

        Umm… a lot as changed in the past month. Expect to pay 4500+. Still a deal.

  • noob

    Interesting- since there is no buffer tube extension into the stock, could you bullpup a full auto fnc?

    Might be cheaper than a full auto aug and definitely attention getting.

    Btw, I finally found out how to shoot a right hand bolt austeyr from the support hand. You cant the weapon 90 degrees and chicken wing your left elbow out so the brass ejects into your neck region. Not ideal, but possible for okay accuracy – rounds hit low and to the right of point of aim. With the new quad rail ef88 and f90 rifles, I guess you can put a red dot on the 9o’clock rail and zero it correctly. And wear a taller collar shirt.

  • Joe

    Hey just a heads up on your FNC, if you want to modernize the gun TBA suppressors can install a quad rail, ambidextrous selector. Or if you want just a receiver pic rail check out stormwerkz for their top rail. They also have a million stock options. Also bill Springfield will lighten up the trigger if you want for something like 50 bucks.

  • Noodles

    End of the world comes you can always pop that sear into a SCAR and rock and roll. Although best to not do that while the ATF exists.

  • Bryan S.
    • Noodles

      MY…. EYES!!!!

    • W

      holy shit…that is awesome 😀

  • Jay

    Those fixed stock rifles look bloody awesome. Congrats!

  • Jeff

    Gun glamour sounds awesome, especially with more articles like this one which help people (like me) who are curious about things like a cheaper class 3 weapon. Just the random questions that come up from time to time that we might not know the answers to.

    • Michael

      If you’re interested in a cheaper full auto, then look hard at a Mac 11 with a Lage slow fire upper and a stock. Cheaper to shoot too than .223. The engineering feat that Lage pulled off is amazing. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $3k.

      • Alex C.

        I have an M10 with a Lage upper 😉

  • Lance

    I still stick to a M-16 but if your a fan of the movie HEAT I guess you want one FNC then LOL.

  • idahoguy101

    It looks a lot like the Daewoo K2 from my days in S. Korea. I wonder if Daewoo used the FNC for developing the K2?

    • Mr Silly

      K2 was developed from :the FNC, the M-16 (rotating bolt) and AK-47 )gas operated blowback). Indonesia bought 210 of them
      As I understand, their opinion of it is not high (overly complex, build quality fine, accuracy fine, materials not adequate for Indonesian conditions).

  • Joe

    Id love to see an In depth review of this gun!

  • Gregory

    It’s my understanding that a major drawback to an automatic FNC is parts availability. Especially parts which break in full auto operation. How are you planning to deal with that?

    • Alex C.

      There is a good parts source on Uzi Talk, where a certain individual can get you all the small bits that you may require. There is also a company that makes new production three round burst kits! Green Mountain makes barrels for these now too. Lastly, DSA is producing firing pins and importing some Brügger & Thomet accessories. Rumors of FNC parts kits have been circulating for years too, and it is likely that either Belgium or Indonesia will decom their rifles sooner or later.

  • Randy

    I am sure other will understand when i say “I hate you.” now put those away and let me weep in peace.

  • thedonn007

    Are those M16 mags? Also, is there a .22lr conversion?

    • Masoo2

      Yes, the FNC takes standard STANAG mags, not to sure on the .22 though.

      • Mr Silly

        Correct STANAG all the way.

  • Windy Wilson

    Considering the picayune ways of the BATF, will the misspelling of “Machine Gun” cause the dealer any problems? I mean, I understand that abbreviating “county” is a bust on the transfer form.

  • Joe

    I think I understand this correctly. The only part that is registered in a full auto firearm is the sear. Assuming that is correct I can understand spending big bucks to buy one and then build a modern firearm around it. Is the sear a part that wears out? Is there a rough life expectancy?

  • JD

    I so want to get an FNC and try my best to turn it into an AK5.

  • Ronnie White

    Dear Alex,

    It so happens that I have a new, semi-auto FNC.

    Can you recommend a Class III dealer than can provide and install the full-auto sear (once the ATF paperwork is approved)?


    Ronnie White

    • Alex C.

      Curtis at S&H is still doing conversions, as is Todd at TBA Suppressors. As for buying a sear, you will have to locate one on a popular classifieds website, both of the aforementioned gunsmiths are out.

  • Mike Knox

    “Macinegun” Lawlz..

  • Dackel

    The Pindad FNC SS1 5.56 can be considered in many ways superior to the original FNC- raw materials are superior. It is the primary weapon of the Indonesian Military and their respective Special Forces. It is available in Sniper, short-barrel, foldable stock, heavy cyclic duty (squad SMG) and marinised as depicted above.

    It is built to specification not to price. Pindad is not subject to external market pressures- the government is purchasing from a 100% government-owned company. The raw materials are from another government-owned company.
    This is very different to say, Colt and their AR-15, or FN and their FNC- which are private companies which by nature must profit to survive.

    Pindad is an enormous company essentially a government-owned BA systems which manufactures Avant Blinde derived APC’s, howitzers, cannon, and mortars- but all manner of spares for US and NATO militaries.

    It is equipped with mainly German and Scandinavian machinery under the oversight of President Habibie- an aeronautical engineering professor who’d worked at Dornier and Messerschmidt. In 2011- Pindad commenced producing various products for EADS.

    The Pindad SS1 operating environment is identical to Vietnam-like jungle conditions of mud, more mud, sand, water and minimal maintenance. The Indonesian military trialed various “gifts” from foreign nations including USA as well as Czech AK47’s.

    The Indonesian Military opted for the Pindad SS1 after 20 years of Pindad FAL’s remaining superior to any infantry weapon the US offered often under duress.
    The Pindad product has been prooven in continuous junglle warfare since 1960’s in Aceh, Irian Jaya and elsewhere,
    Eugene Stoner’s original gun was superb. The M-16 was rubbish.

    Who makes the Improved M4A1? FN Herstal.
    military (dot)com discussed at length the US Army’s bizarre intractability over replacing the M16 with the H&K 416 or FN SCAR which performed better in US arm’s own trials.
    What does it take people to admit the M16/M4 is crap?

    • wcm

      It is not a fact that there are more sears than rifles.
      Actual amounts of both are unknown and is pure speculation.

    • wcm

      you also failed to mention $900 in costs with shipping to get a S&H conversion done. $3000 rifle avg + $3500 sear avg + $900 conversion= $7400

      • Mr Silly

        I am sorry- I am not as well read as you appear to be in terms of US marketing and pricing of Pindad weapons.
        Honestly, I don;t know why Pindad don’t more aggressively market their weapons- they’re very good quality, cheap and parts easily available. Perhaps they don’t want to step on any toes- and the Diane Feinstein (yes she is very much beloved by the Indonesian military) infamy of Indonesians fighting domestic terrorists (well before Bush’s war on terror Feinstein.signed off on along with her “credibility ” would properly label Qatari and Saudi-sponsored armed, violent homicidal separatists as terrorists)