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.
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.
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.
Thanks to FN America!