[DSEI 2019] Four New FN Cartridges to be Unveiled

Eric B
by Eric B

In the picture above we can see FN Herstal’s new full range of cartridges in the 5.56x45mm NATO caliber, these will be shown in London, at the Defense and Security Equipment International Exhibition.

In total, four new FN Herstal cartridges will be unveiled at the DSEI 2019 exhibition.

I am pretty sure that none of them will be available on the civilian market, but the development may be of interest for many of TFB’s readers.


(Herstal, Belgium) – September, 2019. Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons, will showcase newly-developed small caliber ammunition at Defense and Security Equipment International Exhibition in London, UK, from September 10 through to September 13.

Driven by military missions facing new threats and by recent trends such as environmental regulations, FN Herstal is introducing four new cartridges to its 5.56 and .50 calibers, delivering a still wider purpose-designed small caliber ammunition range.

5.56x45mm SS109 ammunition was originally designed by FN Herstal and adopted by NATO as the second official caliber in 1980. FN Herstal has now engineered the new FN PERMAX™ Enhanced Performance Round

(EPR) 5.56x45mm cartridge so as to deliver superior performance in urban combat by passing through barriers such as windscreens, automobile bodywork, glazing or masonry to reach a protected target.

The new FN PERMAX™ 5.56 has excellent mass retention behind barriers, maintaining greater incapacitating effect.

Composed of a hardened steel penetrator and a brass body, the FN PERMAX™ 5.56 has been developed to meet and anticipate further environmental European and international legislations requiring use of lead-free ammunition.

The new FN PROPASS™ Armor Piercing (AP) 5.56x45mm cartridge is a further addition to the FN® range of ammunition, and is ideally suited when the mission requires defeating hard targets using 5.56 caliber. Featuring a tungsten carbide core, the projectile perforates armored targets or level IV ballistic protection
composed of metal or ceramic inserts.

Both FN PERMAX™ 5.56 and FN PROPASS™ 5.56 cartridges are compliant with NATO standards – therefore, compatible with all weapons chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO.

These two newly-developed cartridges are qualified on FN Herstal weapons such as carbines and assault rifles (FN SCAR®-SC or FN SCAR®-L), and light machine guns (FN MINIMI® 5.56).

For owners with larger calibers, in this case .50 BMG, there are also these additions:

In the .50 cal ammunition line, FN Herstal has designed a reduced range cartridge that features a shorter travel distance limited to 3,500m.

Highly reliable without requiring re-zeroing or converted weapons, the FN ARIA™ .50 RR cartridge is dedicated to safe and effective training with .50 cal weapons on shooting ranges that are limited to the use of 7.62mm weapons. With a tracer version also available, the FN ARIA™ cartridge can be provided on belts (4 FN ARIA™ .50 RR + 1 FN ARIA™-T .50 RR-T) for realistic training.

The FN ARIA™ .50 RR cartridges are compatible with all weapons chambered in 12.7x99mm NATO cal (.50 cal), and are qualified on the FN® M2HB-QCB and the FN® M3 machine guns.

Alongside these new developments, FN Herstal proposes an extensive range of .50 cal rounds, including the multipurpose APEI (Armor Piercing Explosive Incendiary).

Below: New additions to the FN® .50 cal ammunition range

The new FN Herstal ammunition developments described here will be featured at the FN Herstal/FNH UK booth N2-300 (Belgian Pavilion), September 10-13, 2019, at DSEI 2019.

More information from FN Herstal can be found here: www.fnherstal.com

Eric B
Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6x6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.

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4 of 17 comments
  • Mike Mike on Sep 06, 2019

    How about more ammo optimized for AR pistols or SBR.
    More 5.7x28 ammo please

    • USMC03Vet USMC03Vet on Sep 06, 2019

      @Mike FN snubs the civilian market pretty hard and the scraps they do put out are hilariously priced. They are like Colt of ye olden times.

  • Suppressed Suppressed on Sep 06, 2019

    Typical FN, waving cool stuff in our faces that we can’t have, Propass in this instance.

    “hardened steel penetrator and a brass body” - Will we even be able to have the Permax? I’m
    under the impression M855 is a mild steel penetrator.

    • Matt Matt on Sep 09, 2019

      @Suppressed No. Can't make AP ammo for the civilian market. This would be new loaded ammo, so that would be an no-no for FN to sell it to us. Under AP definition it is largely or wholly out of brass, beryllium copper, steel and one or two other fun things (I think tungsten carbide is listed). Unless the round is expanding type or some caveat. That makes brass bullets designed to fragment or expand okay, but generally solid brass isn't supposed to be (yes, I've see sold brass extreme penetrator rounds, AFAIK they only get away with it because they are not in traditional pistol calibers, but 5.56 IS considered a pistol caliber).

      A brass and steel round is almost certainly going to run afoul. M855 has less than half the weight as steel (like 1/4th the weight). Even things like M61 and M2 AP have a large portion of gilded jacket and lead in them. So under the law, they might not actually be considered armor piercing.

      M855A1 probably isn't AP, as most of the weight is copper (copper is okay, just not beryllium copper) and it is designed to fragment.