Media day at the range: FN M249S Hands-On/First Impressions [SHOT 2016]

2 M249S Belt-Feds

Since first seeing the M249S at the NRA show, I have been waiting to try one out.  That wait was finally over today…kind of.  Believe me, a LOT of people wanted to try this one out, and so it was a little bit more of a wait.

Everything except the lower receiver and trigger pack is the same as the open bolt gun

Everything except the lower receiver and trigger pack is the same as the open bolt gun

Settling into the gun, many things about it were exactly similar to the M249, even the manual of arms for charging it, clearing malfunctions, and checking the chamber (for the most part).  The new semi bolt, however, differs from the full auto in that they basically took the FA bolt and carrier, deleted the fixed firing pin, and added a component.  The bolt and carrier still travel forward, pick up a round and chamber it, but instead of the firing pin being fixed and a part of the slide assembly, a separate hammer stays back on the return spring/piston assembly to be let forward by depressing the trigger fully to the rear, thereby hitting the firing pin.

The piece in the middle of the receiver is the sliding hammer

The piece in the middle of the receiver is the sliding hammer

As one familiar with the M249 or Minimi can see, the hammer does have quite a bit of distance to cover,  resulting in a lengthy lock time.  Despite this, the trigger was very smooth, and even with the original bipod, which allows for quite a bit of movement, hits were easy to get.  This was a very accurate firearm, and recoil was almost nothing.  The trigger reset has a very lengthy roll-off and reset, however.  Hopefully, I will have an opportunity in the future to do a more in-depth assessment.  I did shoot it using disintegrating links, but I hope to try it with AR15 mags in the future.  The gun ran reliably, and I did witness 800 rounds feed through the gun, with a big pile of brass and links piled up already.  One thing I remain resolute on is that hopefully, a model with the PIP kit or at least the PIP stock will be made available for its superior ergonomics.  Overall, my curiosity was only piqued further by the short time with the 249S.

receiver markings

receiver markings

Thanks to FN America!

Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


  • Jeebus

    Personally I always hated the M249. Too heavy, pain in the butt to clean, and unreliable compared to the M240. Also, feeding AR mags never worked well in my experience.

    That said, if you’re not humping around in the dirt all day it’s probably fun to have, even in semi-auto.

    • USMC03Vet

      How is a light machine gun “too heavy” compared to a crew served medium machine gun?

      • JumpIf NotZero

        They’re all about the same weight in CoD.

        • Green Hell

          Not true, you sprint and aim much slower with LMG’s, also hipfire is pretty bad.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    A semi auto “machine gun” should be as fun as a Ferrari with a beetle engine…

    • Dr Sick

      Or a muscle car with a 4 cylinder !

      Oh sh*t Ford made it

      • By definition a muscle car cannot have a 4 banger.

  • Lance

    Prefer a semi auto M-60, 7.62mm is alot better MG round.

    • Porty1119

      I’d go with a 240 over an M60, far more reliable weapon, but I generally agree with you.

      • Rusty S.

        You can have your way via OOW’s M240-SLR

  • JumpIf NotZero

    and recoil was almost nothing

    This just in!!! 17lb 556 rifle has little recoil!!!

    • What else should Rusty have written, do you suggest?

      • Nate H

        He could have said pretty much exactly that. “This was a very accurate firearm, and at 17 lbs, recoil was almost nothing.”

  • Jambo

    Way too expensive. This costs twice as much as a real one, and they didn’t even put the rails on it. Does it come with its spare barrel?

    • Sgt fish

      Twice as much as a real one? Please tell me where I can find a factory new m249 for under 4k? Hell it’s hard to find one for under 10k.

      • BattleshipGrey

        Maybe he means what the military pays?

  • BigFED

    Man, I would like to be a fly on the wall at all of those anti-gun groups when they get a look at this!!! No magazine limit!!! Hah, take that Commifornia!!! No “bullet button” at all!!! Wanna talk about a pantcrappen event!!! Woohoow!!!

  • Dual sport

    By definition a machine gun cannot be semi auto. Lol.

  • RickOAA .

    As the guy stupid enough to volunteer to be the SAW gunner in the School of Infantry, I do like the gun, but do not enjoy running with it much…at all.