Fabrique Nationale has announced updates to three models in their FN-15 rifle line. These three models – the FN-15 Tactical Carbine II, FN-15 .300 Blk Carbine II, and FN-15 DMR II – have been updated with more modern proprietary FN handguards with M-LOK slots, replacing the previous variants Midwest Industries M-LOK handguards. The new handguards mate to a new FN-made barrel nut, and are advertised to be more solid and rigid than the previous style.
Oddly, the new rifles are listed with MSRPs $100-$120 higher than the previous models, and are not listed on FN’s website as coming with the MBUS sights of the previous variants. Otherwise, the three FN-15 II models just announced seem to be identical to their predecessors. Still, it’s interesting that FN appears to be reducing the value to the customer in these new offerings – although perhaps that’s debatable, depending on how much better the new handguard system is versus the old.
Given the cost of FN’s rifle line, it seems the company is banking on its name and reputation to remain competitive, as well as modest improvements like the II-style handguard. This puts them on the level to compete directly with semi-premium AR manufacturers like Daniel Defense and the lower ends of the LaRue and Noveske catalogs.