When you are looking for turnkey 3-Gun ready rifles, there are a ton of choices on the market. FN has put together a rather impressive rifle with the FN 15 Competition to give competitors an edge without needing to change a whole ton of parts.
I want to preface this review by saying I tried like hell to get myself into a 3-Gun match to test the rifle, but an unusually hot summer led to most of the matches being canceled. The ones that weren’t were either two hours or more away from my home or held on a day that I was working.
Once I got the rifle in and opened the case, I was struck by the bright blue anodizing on the receiver group. With a quick look over the rifle, I found that it was rather nicely optioned, even if the parts weren’t my taste they would treat a competitor well when shooting against the clock.
Both upper and lower receivers are a high-quality billet units that mate up very tightly. The finish is nothing short of perfect. FN did see to give the FN15 Competition’s mag well a bit of a flare to speed up reloads. Other features you might expect on a billet lower like an integrated trigger guard, clean lines, and a chunky appearance is all present as well.
The FN15 Competition ships with a Magpul grip installed, a nice touch but I would have preferred the use of an MIAD given the rifle’s price. The adjustability would be welcome by competitors as well I would think.
Another benefit to a factory hot rod rifle like this one is the attention to detail. The 16″ M-Lok free float rail is blended beautifully into the upper receiver, not a feature I am used to seeing. The blending of the receiver and rail may be the single most unappreciated aspect of the rifle; I enjoyed how it made a non-monolithic upper feel like one.
The chrome-lined, cold hammer-forged 18″ 1:8 twist heavy barrel is topped off with the proven Surefire Procomp. Under rapid fire, the comp did an excellent job of keeping the rifle flat and mitigating recoil. Since you would be running a stage on your own without other shooters to the right or left the side blast isn’t much of an issue. I was rather surprised that the comp didn’t spit fire like some of the ones I have tested.
FN decided to fit a Magpul MOE SL stock to the six position receiver extension (that was secured with a nicely staked castle nut). Like the MOE grip, while I like the SL stock I feel like the rifle could have used a bit of an upgraded unit. I can see the wisdom in using a less expensive stock since competition shooters are pretty picky as to what they use. It is rather likely that the buyer of this rifle would quickly ditch the stock for a model that they prefer more.
This feature alone makes the FN 15 Competition stand out from the crowd. Right above the magazine release is a bolt release, I found that my mag changes were much faster as a result of the ergonomically placed bolt release. Sadly you are not able to lock the bolt back with it, but I guess if you plan to lock the bolt back spending a bit more time doing so isn’t a bad idea.
I found it interesting that they included a forward assist on the rifle since they are considered superfluous with most competition shooters. Personally, I am not complaining since I prefer them on my rifles but could see potential buyers being turned off by it.
Getting to the internals of the rifle, you find a 3-pound Timney trigger fitted. The light single stage trigger allows a fast shooter to be even faster with a follow-up shot. I found myself enjoying double and triple taps a bit more than normal making this review a bit more demanding on my ammo stash than normal.
Once I got home I used my trigger gauge to see how close to the trigger was to its advertised weight; the extra 4 ounces could be anything from carbon and gunk in the trigger group from the ridiculous amount of ammo I shot that day or a result of the positioning of the trigger gauge pad.
Normally I would overlook the bolt carrier group when reviewing a rifle with the exception of checking the quality of staking, many times they are standard Mil-Spec units that just don’t add anything to the overall feel of the rifle.
This time, I was pleasantly surprised when the ejection port cover popped open I was met with what appears to be a Mil-Spec unit that has been milled with some nice engravings and coated in a Nickle Boron type coating. To top it off the staking on the gas key was world class, no chance that the screws would come loose at a less than optimal time.
I spent a ton of time at the range shooting, and not that much time taking pictures of that shooting. Below I was able to capture just before the rifle fired and the minimal muzzle movement just after the billet left the barrel. For general shooting purposes I mounted a spare Aimpoint M4 I have, accuracy testing was done with a scope provided by my friend Scott that came along to take photos.
In the sun the blue anodizing of the receivers looks outstanding, a minor thing but I quite like the color they chose. The 16″ M-Lok rail on the rifle provides a ton of space to find a good handhold no matter how long your arms might be.
No matter how fast I dumped ammo through the rifle I found that the heat stayed in check thanks to the heavy profile barrel and well-ventilated handguard. I did get the barrel hot enough to burn off the oil on the barrel resulting in a pretty exciting smoke show.
The accuracy testing was done by my friend from The Gunshow Podcast, Scott. He has a background in competitive shooting with the National Guard Marksman team and has proven to be a more accurate a rifle shooter than I am.
We zeroed the rifle with some Federal XM-193 that happened to turn the best group out of all the ammo we tested. The five shot group below was shot off a wooden block covered in a towel and a rear bag made from a sock. Scott’s shooting was nothing short of impressive; he was able to squeeze a roughly half-inch group out of the rifle with cheap 55-grain ammo.
After spending some time with the rifle, I can clearly see that it would be a solid choice for competitive shooters if you don’t mind a bit of weight. At a hefty 8.1 pounds without optic or magazine, I don’t think I would want to carry it all day if I had a choice but a quick stage wouldn’t be much of an issue.
The FN 15 Competition carries an MSRP of $2,249 as tested; I left the price for last because the rifle is much more than another expensive AR-15. If I were a serious competition shooter looking for an off the shelf 3-Gun rifle, the FN15 Competition would be on my short list.
You can learn more about the FN 15 Competition at FN’s website HERE.