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

Alex C.
by Alex C.

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 C.

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

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5 of 44 comments
  • Mike Knox Mike Knox on Jan 09, 2013

    "Macinegun" Lawlz..

  • Mr Silly Mr Silly on Jul 05, 2013

    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?

    • See 2 previous
    • Mr Silly Mr Silly on Nov 09, 2013

      @wcm 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)