As Close to an M16 as You Can Get: FN’s Military Collector Series


Buy one on GunsAmerica:

I Want a True MIL-SPEC Rifle

How many times have you heard the term “MIL-SPEC rifle” thrown around in relation to the AR-15 platform? Well, MIL-SPEC is more than just a quality of material and sizing of the parts, let’s be clear; MIL-SPEC means that it is approved by a U.S. government inspector. Aside from a few (typically, very expensive) exceptions, a civilian will not be getting their hands on a true MIL-SPEC rifle. These inspections assure some important details, such as HPT/MPI testing of bolts and barrels, staked nuts on the gas key, .154” diameter pins for the fire control group, and M4 feed ramps. All of these ensure quality, durability and interchangeability of parts.

How Close Can You Get?

Until a few months ago, the closest you could get to owning a MIL-SPEC Rifle was purchasing a Colt LE 6920. This will get you close, but not quite there. At the 2016 SHOT Show, I had a chance to visit with the good folks at FN. They were showing the FN MILITARY COLLECTOR SERIES of rifles. These guns are only a few key deviations from what the military gets: the lower parts set is not full auto, the receiver is not drilled for the auto sear, and there is no automatic sear assembly. Other than these (very important) differences, the guns are identical to those delivered to the military.

Complete rifle with Burris XTRII 210 scope added

Complete rifle with Burris XTRII 210 scope added.

The FN Military Collector Series M16

The lower receiver is comprised of hard-anodized aluminum, marked 5.56×45 mm. NATO. The fixed, A2 rifle butt-stock is attached to a MIL-SPEC buffer tube. The receiver has an ambidextrous selector (which I love), in order to support the occasional southpaw shooter, and to allow for shoulder-switching as needed to utilize cover. It also has the government UID Label.

Bolt handle is mil spec and designed for hard use

Bolt handle is MIL-SPEC and designed for hard use.

The upper receiver is a flat-top with a MIL-SPEC M-1913 rail at the 12 o’clock position. Of course, it has a forward assist and brass deflector. The bolt and carrier are straight out of the M-16 rifle, including the HPT/MPI mark on the bolt. What does this mean? Well, according to the GAO: Bolt inspection, the bolt shall be magnetic particle inspected in accordance with MIL-STD-1949, utilizing standard five turn magnetizing coil with a current of 200 to 300 amperes. Both circular and longitudinal continuous magnetization with wet fluorescent solution shall be used. The bolts shall be examined for evidence of cracks, seams and other injurious defects. 7.4.1 Test cartridge. One (1) high-pressure test cartridge shall be fired in each bolt and barrel assembly. Unless otherwise specified, the bolt and barrel assembly shall be tested concurrently. After proof-firing, cartridge cases shall be examined for bulges, splits, rings and other defects caused by defective chambers of the barrel assembly. The bolt carrier key is properly torqued and staked according to the government standard as well.

A2 flash suppressor with crush washer is standard fare

A2 flash suppressor with crush washer is standard fare.

The barrel is a 20″ chrome-lined button-broached 1:7″ RH twist, with an A2 compensator. Again, this meets the designated specification: 3.4.4 High Pressure resistance. Each barrel assembly and bolt shall withstand the firing of one Government standard M197, 5.56mm high pressure test cartridge conforming to MIL-C-46936. After proof-firing, parts shall be free of cracks, seams and other injurious defects as evidenced by visual and magnetic particle inspection.

There are other little details, like the parkerizing under the front sight base- most commercial guns have the front sight base attached to the barrel before parkerizing the entire assemblage. This results in the outside of the barrel, under the rings, and the rings themselves not being parkerized, which can lead to corrosion under the sight base. The barrel is adorned with a Knights Armament M5 RAS adapter rail, with rail adapter covers and down handle, as per the current government contract.

The rear sight is a removable/adjustable flip-up design, with elevation adjustments from 200-600 yards. The front sight is a traditional military fixed-base with elevation adjustment.

The rear sight is windage and elevation adjustable with a single flip up aperture

The rear sight is windage and elevation adjustable with a single flip up aperture.

Elevation can quickly be adjusted out to 600 yards with easy visual confirmation of setting

Elevation can quickly be adjusted out to 600 yards with easy visual confirmation of setting.

The gun comes with one aluminum body magazine that has a low friction follower. The total package with magazine weighs in at 8.479 Lbs.

FN supplies one metal magazine with anti-tilt follower

FN supplies one metal magazine with anti-tilt follower.

A Collector’s Gun

Since the 1986 ban on private ownership of new machine guns, most of us enthusiasts simply cannot collect modern military rifles, as all of the currently-issued rifles are select fire- either 3 round burst or full auto. Apart from the lower receiver parts (as mentioned above) this FN Military Collector M-16 is a perfect copy of the current military-issue M-16; the Auto position is even marked on the receiver.

Receiver is marked auto, fire and safe sadly it will not turn to the fun position

Receiver is marked auto, fire and safe sadly it will not turn to the fun position.

Not Just a Wall Hanger (or Safe Queen)

Sure, this gun can be added to your collection and hung on the wall, or tucked away in your safe as a “Hey, looky-here!” I promise you, treating this rifle as such will deprive you of the best part of owning it: taking her shooting. From the moment I picked this baby up from my FFL, I could hear her calling my name, begging for a trip to the range. I am really not big on collecting- I am more of a shooter. To me, the most rewarding aspect of being a gun guy is experiencing the guns I enjoy, as opposed to owning the ones I want. To each his own, but I gotta tell you: if you don’t take this thing shooting, you’re missing out!

The lower fire control system is the only parts different than an M-16

The lower fire control system is the only parts different than an M-16.

They still meet the mil spec standard for an AR 15 including the Ambidextrous fire control selector

They still meet the mil spec standard for an AR 15 including the Ambidextrous fire control selector.

Crosshairs the Burris XTRII 210 scope hashes are one, mill dot (dots are half increments)

Reticle of the Burris XTRII 2-10 .

On the Range

I had a plan for this test, because I actually had a few specific questions I wanted answers for. How accurate would this rifle be with several types of ammunition and bullet weights? Would it run reliably with every kind of ammunition I could throw at it? Finally, would the extra weight of the 20” barrel, A2 Stock and Knight Arms quad rail be worth the advantages of those accessories? Or was this just another pretty face to show off to friends?

100 yards 10 rounds in the long ragged hole

From 100 yards–10 rounds in the one long ragged hole.

The first test was accuracy. To assist my old eyes, I added a Burris XTR II™ 2-10x42mm scope. This scope has the G2B Mil-Dot reticle that uses 1/2-mil hash marks between the 1-mil dots, allowing for precise hold overs and hold offs. It is also a first focal plane scope, so the reticle size increases or decreases as magnification is increased or decreased. I mounted and leveled the scope to the rifle and did a quick bore sight before heading out.

After arrival and setup, I fired 6 rounds at 50 yards, and was quickly ready to move to the 100-yard line. At the 100-yard mark I invested 10-12 rounds getting my zero. I then fired ten rounds from my lead sled that measured a mere .89” center to center. These shots were done with Black Hills .55 grain soft point ammunition. I found that the gun preferred heavier loads, but even 40 grain Winchester varmint loads performed acceptably.

My goal for the next trip to the range was to test performance. With this in mind, I selected 3 magazines along with 6 types and weights of ammunition. I ran several different drills with the rifle, along with some “Just for Fun” mag dumps (which are the best kind of mag dumps, if you ask me). I managed to get the rifle hot! The heat didn’t seem to phase the rifle a bit, and at no point did I even see a hint of a problem. No matter what abuse I threw at it, the gun performed flawlessly.

50 yard zeroing target

50 yard zeroing target.

100 yards from bipod with three different kinds of ammunition

100 yards from bipod with three different kinds of ammunition.

This rifle was a pleasure to shoot! The additional weight and barrel length made this a soft-shooting gun; I never even considered slowing down my shooting to keep control. Follow-up shots were effortless, and frankly the gun just ran like it was mounted to a table.

The trigger is within military specs breaking at 5.5 pounds with a minimal take-up

The trigger is within military specs breaking at 5.5 pounds with a minimal take-up.

Like the rest of the gun, the trigger is MIL-SPEC. It has a 5.5 pound break with a minimal amount of take up. This trigger is designed to ignite military grade ammunition repeatedly, reliably, and consistently–even while dirty and suffering from lack of maintenance. While that wasn’t possible to test thoroughly in this review, I saw no reason to doubt the trigger’s effectiveness. There are better triggers, but this is part of the M16 package.

The AR-15 rifle has been around since before the soldiers carrying them today were even born. Unlike the first copies put into service, this particular rifle is a debugged weapon system. Is there room for improvement? Always! But that’s for another article on another day.

Not for Everyone (But a Must Have for Some)

Is this gun for you? I don’t know… but with an MSRP of $1,749.00, you will have to move past the legion of people saying “I have this gun that I built myself for $129.99 with internet parts- what a rip!” What I would ask myself is this: “Do I want to get as close as possible to a true MIL-SPEC gun? Do I want to have a military collection?” If your answer is yes, then I really don’t think you can do much better than this.

In addition to the ambidextrous safety it has the new enhanced magazine release button

In addition to the ambidextrous safety it has the new enhanced magazine release button.

Accuracy from the bench was enhanced through the Burris optic

Accuracy from the bench was enhanced through the Burris optic.

A2 buttstock has door that opens for storage

A2 buttstock has door that opens for storage

Zeroing was done via lead sled

Zeroing was done via lead sled.

The CAA bipod attached to the lower forearm rail through the innovative design you did not give up any rail space

A CAA bipod attached to the lower forearm rail.

through the innovative design you did not give up any rail space it was just lowered a bit

Through the innovative design you did not give up any rail space.

{ 82 comments… add one }
  • Jay June 12, 2018, 7:47 pm

    Mil spec is just the specs used to make the rifle. Any lower from any reputable manufacturer uses those specs, same goes for the upper reciever. When it comes to bcg’s and barrels and triggers thats when u start to get different stuff. IMO mil spec is very basic. Why anyone would pay 1800$ for basic beats me. Ur getting plastic stock, plastic grip, outdated phosphate finish “sure it works great” but there is better stuff out there now. Mil spec is basically something that works without having to cost too much. FN sales the government these rifles for under 700$ u can put together one for about that same price range. I had the chance to hold one at a gun shop and the gun is very very basic, yes its very well made but there isnt anything special about it. U can get a fn barrel and toolcraft bcg, throw it on a anderson stripped upper, stick some KAC handguards and a a2 gas block, then drop it on a complete mil spec anderson lower, attach the rear windage sight and u got the exact same rifle for 650$ u just wont have the FN logo

  • Area 52 February 17, 2018, 3:55 am

    About 10 years ago FN was really making a name for itself as an innovative company. The FN FS2000 came out. The started a line of semi auto pistols, then there was the scars. The company was like H&K of the 80s. Now they start producing AR 15 clones. Their next step, blame lack of sales on the fact that Trump won so panic buying is over. Come on FN, get back,into making original stuff. Maybe even bring back your FNC 556 or a modernized version of it.

  • Jason July 7, 2016, 5:50 am

    mil spec is just a list of spec’s owned by colt and approved by the military for the construction of their rifles. But it is a good place to start. I believe that is why daniel defense rifles are listed as mil-spec or mil-spec+ depending on model. So truly, only colt’s are mil spec. I believe the fnh’s are done under license of the colt specs. Fnh is the largest maker of U.S. military small arms.

  • Kivaari April 18, 2016, 3:05 pm

    Mil-Spec it isn’t. Mil-Spec requires minimum features built to meet those standards. Adding extra features shoves them out of spec. You can have better than mil-spec, and that’s just fine. You don’t have to spend huge piles of money to do it. When it comes to getting mil-spec rifles, it just means all the add-on features will cooperate when it comes time to install accessories.

  • Larry E Henson April 15, 2016, 9:15 am

    First, let’s set the record straight. The First AR15 – M16 was a dependable rifle and always worked WITH Commercial Ammo. THE PROBLEM? LBJ’s DEMON-rat wife controlled Southland Corp. (7-11, Chief Auto, others) AND because that LBJ POS arranged for her to get the Military Contract for the M16 Ammo – Made in Korea and the Philippines!!! CRAP! We used the commercial ammo in Training – got our guys KILLED in Action due to the CRAP DEMON-rat ammo = jammed rifles! My original (pre A) never has jammed. 20″ barrel, no BS forward assist, triangle fore grip, Did change the OPEN flash hider (catches on small branches). MOST of the “new variants” rarely are truly interchangeable on most parts/. And the barrels will NOT hold up to thousands of rounds in a short period. The rest of the story??? LBJ’s “lady bird Johnson received the Contract from the Chinese to make AK47 ammo, used against OUR Military – head stamped: “”TX, USA”” aren’t DEMON-rats Great? THEN they made the A2 it STILL FAILED! So SOUTHLAND Corp received the NEW AMMO Contract! “Rifle repaired”! (SIC) TYPICAL DEMON-rats!!!

    John Kerry, DEMON-rat Secretary of State – a COWARD – said; “our soldiers DELIBRATELY murdered Babies in Viet Nam”! So TYPICAL of DEMON-rats! THEY MURDERED 51,000,000 Babies to PRODUCTIVE Americans (welfare scum breed bastards for a welfare check)! Those “feeling’ the 2016 Presidential Election isn’t important – IMAGINE 6 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices being DEMON-rats!!!! Anti GOD, Country, Family = most DEMON-rats! WAKE UP! The BS 1968 Gun Control Act was HITLER’s 1939 GCA – DEMON-rats had it converted from German into English – THEY HATE: YOU, Guns, free speech (except theirs), GOD, normalcy, Families!

    • Steve April 27, 2016, 12:12 pm

      Lol. Ur funny.

      • Ricky Johnson August 6, 2020, 12:01 pm

        True lbj was crooked as well as gsoros ratrs mlm thugs hillary bill obama all rats pro gun judges any demorats msn sux my dad a ww11 vet caunt hell got hit there jard peace and thank u for ur great service i was only 24 just under in 72 but seen tons hueys fly over my house nere savannah ga then and guys names pop out on a bxwhite tv then thank u for your service vote trump clan its on bro

        • Ricky Johnson August 6, 2020, 12:04 pm

          I was 14 in 72 seen lots hueys fly over from.hunter air base to ft stewart hinesville ga tons were hell of a no win war lbj was a crook as well as our left goverment dark evis now days trump.2020 now

    • Jay July 20, 2016, 9:36 pm

      Kinda waste of breath railing against people long dead. The M16A1 rifle I was issued was far from reliable.

      Anyway, the problem with the first M16 was tolerances (too tight for field use) and a bit too high. The biggest problem wasn’t even the rifle but, the oil- LSA (lubricant, small arms). Designed for semi-auto weapons it crystallized at the new full auto weapon’s high rate of fire jamming it.

    • FreeRepublicUSA October 3, 2016, 2:50 am

      Wow…finally someone with common sense. Most people have no clue of the danger they are in. “If we ever forget God, we will be a nation gone under” -President Ronald Reagan. Freedom isn’t passed through the bloodline, it must be taught for and defended in every generation. Good post, sir. I’m with you! -Robert

      • dominic santelli April 25, 2020, 7:10 pm

        finally somone who knows the facts

  • Mo April 14, 2016, 7:01 pm

    I know little about the history of the AR, but from what I have been reading there are some differences in what the selector switch says. By any chance were there changes in what it says vs the year of production of the firearm.
    Safe, fire, auto
    Safe, semi, auto
    Safe, semi, full
    Safe, semi, burst. ????
    Does anyone know the history of when or if the terms changed vs. the year of production on the selector switch or from an M16, M4, M14, or AR15.

    • Mike December 12, 2016, 3:35 pm

      Was in the Army in ’71 and we used the safe, semi, auto. Was out before the 3 round burst. Only heard about it.

    • Area 52 February 17, 2018, 3:42 am

      I was in the USMC in the early 80s. In 1984 the USMC switched from the m16 A1 with the safe-semi -full to the M16 A2 Hbar with the Safe semi 3 shot burst.

  • Jack andres April 13, 2016, 5:07 pm

    We’re can I buy one

  • Jim April 13, 2016, 12:46 am

    Back in the ’70s I was issued an M16A1. It was made by Colt. It was the plastic parts- some super secret resin stuff actually, by the toy company Mattel. I prayed nobody ever had to carry one in the desert. Mud it could handle. Dust? FORGET IT! I took basic at Ft. Jackson SC aka “Little Egypt” for all the sand and dust. Malfunctions were routine. If you didn’t get one you just figured something was wrong. On the march we wrapped the flash suppressors, actions with rags stuffed into the mag wells. As soon as we hit the ranges, first thing we’d break open the weapons and pull the bolt carriers for a quick clean. Still it was jam-city!
    In Germany I was issued another- ser.#4093513. Carried it for 3 years. It did nothing to change my mind about it. The only thing I learned was that you could knock somebody out with a butt struck from it in spite of popular belief otherwise but, you would break it. Based on what I saw of the weapons in the sand box (I was out, too disabled for them to take me back) and from all I’ve heard, the weapons worked all right and the Israelis have long put up with them so I’m guessing modifications solved the problems. Still, my attitude is set. You couldn’t GIVE me one of those things or any variation of them.
    I know many others disagree. I’m not trying to change any body’s mind. Just saying my .oh-two.

    • William Trexler April 13, 2016, 2:02 pm

      FN equipment is well made and is our number one small arms manufacturer for the military. Every FN I have fired has been of high quality and workmanship. The detail in the photos reflects FN’s attention .

    • David Schwartz May 2, 2016, 11:17 am

      This man has it right!

  • Reid copeland April 12, 2016, 12:56 am

    in 1978 I bought a brand new AR-15 Colt SP-1 for $250.00 at the P-X atR redstone Arsenal Alabam . How the hell can this damn FN be worth close to $1800 ????

    • Archangel April 12, 2016, 11:44 pm

      Back in 1978, a new Corvette could be had for between $9000 and $14000.
      How about today?
      A gallon of gas in 1978 was between $.65 to $.71 so HOW CAN IT BE?

      • Area 52 February 17, 2018, 3:49 am

        Yeah but if one was making 5 bucks an hour back then you were sitting on top of the world. Mortgage interest rates under the Carter administration were as high as 18% . Don’t even get me started on inflation. Life wasn’t all that good back then either.

  • Tom Roberson April 11, 2016, 10:56 pm

    Back in 1967 with the !01st, 1st Bde. 2/502 (ALL AIRBORNE), we were one of the first units to carry the M-16. It had came over with the 1st Bde 101ABN. in “65. The were Colt made and a fine weapon they were, all the knockoff that I received after that were JUNK> Especially the Hydromatic division ones of GMC..Only recently has the newer black bolt AR’s come close to being as good as the Colts with the silver bolt.

    • RJ April 12, 2016, 10:49 am

      My first issued M16A1 in Germany was made by Tyco. We only had 3 or 4 in the Armsroom and i was one of the unlucky bastards to get one of these piece’s of crap. I was able turn it in and got issued a colt, big improvement! Then the A2’s came out and were a huge improvement over the A1.

      • RJ April 12, 2016, 3:40 pm

        I got the toy companies mixed up, it was mattel not tyco.

        • Jim April 13, 2016, 12:47 am

          It was the plastic resin parts that were made by Mattel. Not the actions.

  • Robert April 11, 2016, 8:55 pm

    I think this rifle is worth the asking price considering it`s cred, after all this rifle is made by the same company that makes the Scar 17. It really depends on what perspective is. You can build a replica of sort for a lot cheaper, but if you buy a host rifle and buy the correct parts to make a so called ” M-16″ replica, cost wise you`d be right there with money spent. This rifle looks like a quality piece if you ask me. It really looks the part.

  • Art April 11, 2016, 8:36 pm

    Sorry, but I carried a real MilSpec M-16A in RVN…you know, the war that made them [in]famous. After that 7 months I was given an M-14 with a StarLite Scope mounted on it and I was never more happy.
    As for today’s “MilSpec” guns, I am assuming that their quality has not improved. Given that, I prefer to put my own together, making sure I have a top of the line barrel as well as other parts. I’m not impressed with today’s “MilSpec” anything and folks that I have talked to who have served since my retirement (1988) have all told me horror stories about the M-4 that are reminiscent of the problems we had with the M-16 when it first hit the street. I have also been told that the new “MilSpec” magazines are plastic crap that are as reliable as the M-16 was without the forward assist and without lubrication.
    As for FN, my first pistol was made by them, a .32 cal 7-shot. It was, from what I have seen through the years, perhaps the best gun they ever made, to date.

  • Jeff April 11, 2016, 5:51 pm

    The selector markings say “safe” “FIRE” “auto”?
    Pretty sure it should say “safe” “SEMI” “auto”.
    Leave it to FN to totally mess up the selector markings.

    • Scotty Gunn April 11, 2016, 8:22 pm

      Good catch. Must have lost something in the translation.

    • Mike April 12, 2016, 5:35 pm

      Read the article and picture captions before making stupid comments like this.

  • Mark April 11, 2016, 4:40 pm

    They. Sell them to the government for
    Less than $700.00 that means a profit
    Of over $1000.00 prt unit what rectal
    Orfices they are

    • Gary July 16, 2018, 9:51 pm

      Totally agree …..Greed, ill gotten power and ignorance got this country phucked up good. Same with price of gas and wages. Trump buddies with Communists….he is a Realtor not a President we need Reagan’s Balls back militarily, but not his economics that is why we have no good or great paying jobs. Reagan started NAFTA Clinton signed it…Refer back to Greed . Stupid, Power. In the hands of idiots.

  • Greg April 11, 2016, 4:14 pm

    Since quite a lot of the comment’s are accurate I think this is a wildly overpriced rifle that wouldn’t shoot better then a 1000.00 rifle of a good company. FN has become the new Colt in that they have again marketed a over priced rather “flat” product. No danger of credit card abuse here ,lol

  • Norm Glitz April 11, 2016, 3:49 pm

    This has “staked nuts on the gas key”. Really?

    That would be unusual! I’ve never seen nuts on a gas key!

  • G. A. Stevens April 11, 2016, 2:57 pm

    Well, I respect the right to have an “opinion”, it does not mean I would agree with it. Way too many armchair warriors offering their thoughts as gospel. Sure, there may be a fair amount of quality clones out there, but few are the real deal. IBM computers were, and still are, quality computers. The rest are clones. Pure and simple. Now, if my vehicle (Ford, GM, ect) needs a replacement part to keep it in running condition, I would much rather have a OEM replacement part than something from the likes of Pep Boys or Auto World. Same for the mechanic who does the work; Factory Certified goes a long way to fixing it right. Now if my life (or any of my family) is on the line… give me a Colt or FN any day of the week. Don’t even get me going about the AKM clones that are out there! Stay safe!!!

    • Lauj April 12, 2016, 12:18 am

      What akm do you recommend?

  • Embe April 11, 2016, 2:56 pm

    As a former Army logistician, milspec means the minimum quality from the lowest bidder. Now retired, I set my standards higher.

    • Mark N. April 15, 2016, 12:23 am

      You are correct. “MilSpec” does NOT mean military inspected, because if it did, all of these rifles would be frauds, and only surplus rifles could be included. What MilSpec means, specifically, is “military specification.” Any part that is made to that complex, detailed specification issued by the US Military and would pass inspection as meeting a particular spec is “Mil Spec.”

      One point of confusion with this piece is that it is not an “original” M16, or even the M16 A1 or A2, but rather a (theoretically) MilSpec version of the M16A4. One of the things that struck me right off the bat is that the barrel is 1 in 7. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was of the understanding that the M16A4 is a 1 in 9 barrel. And you know, it would be really nice if the receiver was marked Safe Semi Auto, even if the selector will not turn that far–now THAT would be closer to MilSpec. Moreover, if I was to buy an “original” M16, I would want it to look like the M16A, even if it was not full auto.

      Last but not least, the mere fact that many rifles made by private companies are not “milspec” hardly means that they are of a lower quality, and many are superior. As with the others, I think this is as overpriced as the MilSpec colts that preceded it.

  • Doc April 11, 2016, 2:14 pm

    Seems rather limited for a ‘Collector’s Series’ — black guns only so far. Where are the 1903’s? the .303’s? the M-1s? Seems if it is plastic they can do it, but if it’s wood or lower-powered (I’ll take my ‘-06 against nearly any military round) they can’t be bothered — Doesn’t anyone LOVE wood anymore? Jesus! The .303 SMLE is STILL being issued – pushing 125 years after it’s first introduction, the longest lived battle rifle in the history of war. I’d sure think that THAT would be a near the top in a ‘collectors’ Series? Eh, mate? And the 1903 was one damn fine firearm too.

  • Glockman April 11, 2016, 1:32 pm

    With my $499.00 AR I purchased on sale at Palmetto State Armory. I mounted a Tasco 3X9X40 scope and it shoots tighter groups with Russian Tula steel case ammo than that $1,700 FN. No thanks…

  • kk April 11, 2016, 1:24 pm

    everything sounds good about gun except made by “fn” i wouldnt buy from “fn” again if they were buy one get one free…such a lowclass company that is really full of themselves and treat their customers as if they should be honored to even be able to own such a great gun,, i bought the scar 17 by the way….during the geisle trigger promotion and was cheated out of the trigger without any apologies, really classless company ..and i had heard from others in the past how “fn” are full of themselves but didnt really get it until now…

  • Tommy Barrios April 11, 2016, 1:03 pm

    My 1995 Bushmaster is MIL-SPEC except for the heavy ribbed barrel and SO WHAT!
    I can hit ANYTHING I can see with iron sights or the 6X Compact Karl Ziess scope!
    Accuracy is typical AR-15 with such a setup, dead on and bad ass 😉
    So MIL-SPEC is just another buzz word and I can guarantee you it will not outperform my rifle or any other like AR!
    All the best 😉

  • Lee April 11, 2016, 12:38 pm

    I’m really glad to see FN hitting the “Nastalgia” market… Obviously its not a “Collector” gun. I think the price point is a little wishy washy if they actually plan on selling a lot of these. Maybe just under a grand would be a little more realistic. I notice on their website they also have an M4A1 variant. It dumb founds me how poorly gun companies understand their buyers. I guess thats what happens when you get spoiled by years of government procurement. Maybe its time to look into a marketing firm FN… Otherwise these things will go the way of the Para Ordnance 14’s or the Bushmaster ACR…

  • maddtazz April 11, 2016, 12:27 pm

    First of all I am a Manufacturing Engineer and Mil-Spec is a Requirement of Specification Chart that must be followed if you are making parts for the Government. It is a deviation chart of +, -, and % that must be maintained or the part is unacceptable. I have had to follow these charts including plating specs. I had a part that had a hole that was .0625 +.0001 -.0001 after Gold Plating. Gold plating would add .00008 onto the part. This is part of the extreme world of Government Specification. Firearms are easier under Military Specifications. Weather they are certified is another matter.

  • Warner Anderson April 11, 2016, 12:00 pm

    1. I think the collector bit is kind of bogus. Either you have a military M-16 or you don’t. We don’t.
    2. What we have here seems to be a guarantee of a certain level of quality manufacturing, the quality that goes into the weapons our military carries. They may be a bit “overbuilt,” but if you want the security of a reliable system, this is a good choice.
    3. Maybe the most telling choice is your self-perception of your likely mission. Are you a commando, or are you an infantryman in your fantasy life – I mean, applications. If you see yourself as an urban warrior shooting and scooting, then your fantasy life demands an “M-4″ or another 16″ barrel (yes, I know the true M-4 is a shorter barrel but refer to #1 above – and hey, what’s with the grenade launcher barrel contour – really?) . If your fantasy life is defensing your castle against marauders, a 20” barrel might be a better call.
    4. If you just like to shoot, and can afford it, and would like a “shooter” that could double for self-defense, this may well be it.

  • Bill April 11, 2016, 11:57 am

    The finish on the lower receiver is poor … looks like somebody spilled spaghetti sauce on it and did a poor job of wiping it off. For >$1,700, either Dannica Patrick, Dana Loesch or Jennifer Lawrence should hand-deliver this junk, bring her own champagne and have plans to spend the night. That’s what it would take to get me to look past a poorly finished firearm while forking over nearly $2,000 for a carbine. I can buy 3 Bear Creek Arms (with two magazines, hard case, carry handle and threaded muzzle in a 1:8 twist) Ar-15s for roughly the same price (including the FFL fees). The BCA accuracy is at least as good and the finish is definitely better.

    FN=”eF No”

    • Jason July 7, 2016, 5:43 am

      have you seen one in person? I own one, also own a daniel defense mk12, hk mr556a1 and scar heavy(308). the finish on my military collectors 16 is flawless. Let me see your bear creek with quality rear sight and a kac front rail. accessories cost money. Run a few thousand rounds and tell me how the bear creek is holding up.

  • Rod April 11, 2016, 11:52 am

    As a Marine small arms repairman in Vietnam (1966-67) the only rifle I carried was an M14, but if I were buying an AR15(M16) for my collection, I would prefer the first version with the forward bolt assist, triangle forearm, and the handle on top.
    MGYSGT ( Retired).

  • Jake April 11, 2016, 11:47 am

    A close copy of today perhaps. I have “FN” receivers on some of my builds. They were made by contractors in the Illinois Quad Cities who won the contract to make them when FN got its first government contract after the Sundstrand scandal got Colt axed. So these are 1993 copies. Before that I got the Colt A2 HBAR “Fleet Marine” version around 1985. Then there are the Vietnam era guns etc. I am of the opinion there is no real original beyond a particular version of upper and lower bare receiver. Like Townsend Whelen said, “only accurate rifles are interesting” anyway.

  • WiLLB April 11, 2016, 11:17 am

    The comments Section above provides the best “reviews” of this rifle. Thanks.

  • WillR April 11, 2016, 10:53 am

    Seems like nobody, including the author of the article, seems to understand the difference between mil-spec and “government issue.” Mil-Spec IS simply a standard in materiel, dimensions, and manufacturing processes. It has nothing whatsoever to do with where it ends up. It means MILITARY SPECIFICATION. Most of you, article’s author included, seem to confuse this with the acronym GI – government issue. A rifle is mil-spec if it’s parts comform to the specifications put forth by the military. PERIOD. A rifle is not “GI” unless it was made for and purchased by the government, and ISSUED to an agent thereof. MIL SPEC, in terms of the AR platform, is a set of standards in materiels, manufacturing and form that were deemed JUST GOOD ENOUGH for the price of admission, many, many years ago. Advancements have been made, and superior rifles can be bought or assembled for either more or less money, depending on how much you’re willing to throw away on an antiquated standard. You can pay for the FN collector m16 or you can spend a fraction of that on a Del Ton build. Neither is more mil-spec than the other, it’s not a proposition of degrees, it’s a yes or no thing.

  • jrkmt1 April 11, 2016, 10:29 am

    The M16s and M16A1s issued in the 1970s had 16.2″ barrels (one of many things the Drill Instructors stressed during Basic Training). Receivers were marked SAFE – SEMI – FULL. Each rifle had the triangular handguards that would be considered mid-length by today’s standards. The bayonets issued had no problem being fitted to the rifles.
    Each of the M16A1s I was issued during my six years of active military service were extremely accurate giving me dime sized shot groups during zero fire. This included the M16A1 with attached M203 I used during my time in the National Guard.

    • Jake April 11, 2016, 11:52 am

      M16’s and the A1’s have 20″ barrels. Colt made 16″ carbines like the ones you see in “Platoon” but I do not believe such weapons were actually issued to US troops. They were for the civilian market. The stupid M4 has a 14.5″ tube and the Vietnam era CAR 15 had other lengths way below 20″.

    • Norm Glitz April 11, 2016, 3:42 pm

      I first picked up an M-16 (no As or Es) in 1966. It had a 20″ barrel and full length triangular handguards. This “mid-length” stuff is purely a civilian innovation. I’ve shot M-16A1s and A2s since. All of the M-16 variants have 20″ barrels. T6he shorties used different numbers for their models. None I ever saw in the military were “mid-length”.

      M-4s are carbines, not rifles. Yes, they share a common receiver design. Jake has it right.

  • joe April 11, 2016, 10:26 am

    Yeah, my Bushmaster 16 inch carbine works just as well with the aftermarket quad rail and the 45 degree offset sights, colt forward grip with the laser sight designator and the anti cheese gator panels. Oh I forgot, the fifty nine dollar 3 by 9 by 40 mm scope too.
    All at a third the price of an FN…

  • 2War Abn Vet April 11, 2016, 10:14 am

    Hmm, that doesn’t look much like the AR I carried in 1965.

  • Ben April 11, 2016, 9:52 am

    I own the Colts and the other aftermarket AR’s everyone has mentioned here. I also own the new FN MILITARY COLLECTOR GRADE M4 Which is mentioned here. The Knights Armament RIS that came on my FN M4 is the nicest I’ve ever used and yes, I use it. Price this system and see what you pay! It isn’t cheap. I inspected the FN next to my Colt 6920. The comparison is like night and day as the FN is just a nicer rifle. I like the M4 14.7″ barrel as well as it is true to the original as this the same barrel which is installed on Military Contract M4’s with exception of the permanently attached flash hider to make this barrel length legal. The neat thing is externally, you can’t tell a difference. I have been lucky enough to know Security Forces Troops who carry these rifles. Mine is a perfect match from the collapsable butt stock to the part number and 556 NATO 1/7 on the barrel. The Bolt Carrier and Bolt are nice as well with the CMP on the bolt. I saw comments on the Safe, Fire, Auto on the FN receiver. I checked the FN M4’s on the Security Forces Gate Guards on the Air Force Base where I work. Guess what. They are the same that is on my rifle. I remember pulling brand new Colt M-16’s out of the crate during the Gulf War. I remember the play between the receivers on brand new rifles was not bad at all, but my FN has NO PLAY AT ALL! And the reason that the A2 rifle was invented was to improve upon the A1 design. It did that magnificently. The price of the FN M4 does seem high, but you can buy this rifle hundreds cheaper than the retail price of $1749.00. I paid much less than that. The furniture that came on this rifle is the nicest I have seen on an off the shelf AR as there is none better the Knights Armament. The Rail Interface System on this rifle is the tightest and the nicest. Bar none. I use this system on this rifle as well so it just isn’t for show. After reading everone’s comments, I can understand all the valid pounts made and appreciate everyone’s honesty. But if I were wanting only one AR M-4 rifle and did not want to add anything but optics to this platform, this FN would be my choice. By the way, I kept the otics militarily correct as well. I installed my Trijicon TA01NSN 4X32 ACOG OPTICS on this rifle. It has the Federal Stock Number on the side of the optics and was designed and manufactured for THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND by Trijicon. These optics really bring out the accuracy of my rifle as the accuracy is truly sub MOA. I do agree that the Retail Price is high for an M4 rifle, but for what I actually paid and for what I received in return is not a bad deal at all.

    • Ricky Johnson August 6, 2020, 12:28 pm

      Yes they have lot play colt 6920 tcp what a great gun nothing on the blueing is nice as fn rra dd dstar etc but colt is a fighting gun so not so as pretty i.put my lar15 20in rock river arms up agains any feds won it dda us Marshall s fei on a very hard dirt tuff testing of 20 hing end ars put there and raok river beat all feds no it rock river is as good as any milspc i beleave to fn great colt great lots or out there tcp colt defence is battle ready

  • Chet Hribal April 11, 2016, 9:28 am

    Nice reading material.

  • Sam Meyer April 11, 2016, 9:06 am

    Yaaaawwwwwnnnn! Another bogus article about an overpriced AR that has absolutely no “collector value” and only marginal accuracy. What a joke!

  • Charles Burkett April 11, 2016, 8:27 am

    Where can I get one?

  • Phoney_Bologna April 11, 2016, 8:16 am

    There’s a sucker born every minute – and this illustrates it wonderfully. They took a rifle that nobody wants, slapped an RFID sticker on the receiver, and jacked the price up 400%. What genius marketing. Except the M16-A4 which 99.9% of troops are issued is marked SAFE-SEMI-BURST.

    What FN did is take parts which meet the bare minimum (aka milspec) and are no longer popular because they do everything just so-so. For instance, there are better designed modern flash suppressors, rail systems, sights, pistol grips, and butt stocks— so FN is getting to sell off that older harder to move inventory. Genius.

    And speaking of smart – who TF buys an ‘M16 clone’ and uses a non-mil issued optic? That fits in like putting a hijab on Cindy Crawford.

    • Bill April 11, 2016, 11:17 am

      Now wait a second there … Cindy Crawford would STILL look hot in a hijab.

      Perhaps you were thinking of a burka … the tent that walks? I’ve seen Muslim women at the beach in burkas, wading in the lake with their children — who were under no such restrictions. At least, I think they were probably women. Might have been Muslim transvestites or terrorists hiding explosive vests and AK-47s … it’s hard to tell what is under that tent.

      That was so sad … it was as if they were trying to be normal and enjoy life, but weighed down by their religion.

      The burka exists because Muslim men are, apparently, exempt from self control around women. The men are free to blame the women for what they, the men, do.

      I’m a guy and even I can see that that is not something God / Allah would do … the Creator doesn’t hold YOU responsible for what I think and do … he holds ME, and me alone, responsible for my thoughts and actions.

      • Winston April 11, 2016, 9:38 pm

        Muslim men and all the frat boy punks in the US, perhaps. Since the US likes permanently occupying parts of the mideast, the frat boy groping and date raping has caught on there.

    • Doug Tally April 11, 2016, 12:09 pm

      Crackin me up!

  • Jay April 11, 2016, 8:16 am

    Well since FN won the bid to build rifles for Uncle Sam they are the one’s that can supply the next best thing however no one owns anything actually mil-spec unless they bought it from Uncles Sam when it was decommissioned or sold off. We should be rephrasing the whole Mil-spec thing as Mil-Standard because that is what we are really talking about and mil-spec has become so much of a selling point instead of manufactures meeting standard testing criteria for the mil-spec designation! Any manufacturer can sell so called mil-spec items but unless we know how they were tested it’s just a selling point! I always ask myself, has this manufacturer or seller ever sold parts to the US government? Most of the time the answer is no, so their mil-spec has never been challenged by government testing! I’ll keep my Colt, especially for the price FN tagged with this one!

  • Ron April 11, 2016, 7:48 am

    Where does the original Colt SP1 fall into this “as close as you can get” discussion. If it is as close or closer than the new FN then I would rather have one of those. 1) It is true to the Vietnam time period except for the select fire capability. 2) It was made by the military M16 contract manufacturer of the time. 3) The M7 bayonet fits perfectly, it has the 1st fwd cover (triangle) and with the “clamp-on” bipod, it exactly how I remember what I carried. Price varies but I have seen them anywhere from $1600 for a used gun in good condition to $2000 for a “safe queen”. I bought the safe queen and got as good a group at 100yds as what this article shows for the FN.

  • Larry E Henson April 11, 2016, 7:00 am

    Want an TRUE original? Triangle fore grip, bayonet mount, A2 Flash hider, M16 upper 20″(?), AR15 lower, was an SBSD SWAT gun. NO, the Department has all of the “other” parts. Original MEANS first generation, no forward assist needed – works flawless!

  • George April 11, 2016, 6:56 am

    ( with all due respect) While I understand military equipment is pricey, I think they went a little overboard on this rifle. All of my bolt carriers are M16 bolt carriers, all my bolts are MPI, all my gas keys are torqued and staked, my pins are .154 diameter, most have ambidextrous selectors, some have the “auto” stamped in the 3rd position. While I have A2 sights and a front grip/bipod, I can’t justify the cost of the new rifles. You can actually buy lowers from aero precision marked M16A4 with the auto markings if you want, but you won’t pay an arm and a leg. I do own select fire M16s (legally), they weren’t much more than the cost of this rifle when they were new, I can’t justify spending so much money on a semi-replica when I can build a match rifle for the same (or less) amount. Just my humble opinion. I think FN could have done a lot better on the price.

  • Chick April 11, 2016, 6:53 am

    Virtually every AR out there will meet the same criteria as the writer documents here. They are all made from the same mil spec drawings, and why all the parts interchange. The title was misleading. I thought from the title, that the military was fixing old M16’s, into semi-auto only, and selling them to the public. I guess a gun rag writer had to buy groceries this week,.

  • Jeff April 11, 2016, 6:15 am

    The selector markings say “safe” “FIRE” “auto”?
    Pretty sure it should say “safe” “SEMI” “auto”.
    Leave it to FN to totally screw up the selector markings. That will actually keep me from buying one..

  • Jeff April 11, 2016, 6:13 am

    The selector markings say “safe” “FIRE” “auto”?
    Pretty sure it should say “safe” “SEMI” “auto”.
    Leave it to FN to totally screw up the selector markings. That will actually keep me from buying one.. What a bunch on knuckle heads over at FN.

  • Pseudomind April 11, 2016, 6:10 am

    Maybe it is the photos, but to me it does not look like the front sight is far enough forward to support proper fixation of a bayonet. This looks like it has the same problem of the 16 inch barrels and fixing a M7 bayonet, the bayonet attaches to far back. So if this is as near as a real M16 then the M7 should properly attach.

  • Gerri April 11, 2016, 5:24 am

    Ah! So this is not a civilian copy of the Viet Nam era M-16, but a copy of today’s “M-16”. The headline really
    had me going, thinking of the much older version with the triangular forearm.

    Oh well… Maybe someday!


    • Charlie BROWN April 14, 2016, 3:34 pm

      Hi, Gerri,
      Ya I got suckered by the same deal. I don’t think it said a-1 or 2, just original m-16. If you want a nice copy of the A-1 the folks, dog gonit my memory stinks. Any way look on Google, they mainly do m-14’s but also m-1 Garands, 1903 Springfields and a smigin of other early 20th century to present rifles. Go to their ar section and give it a look. If my rotten memory is correct they are about $1200, and from the picture it looks like the real deal to me, except no happy switch. We really gotta do something about that.

      • Boomhauer April 17, 2016, 7:06 pm

        Charlie BROWN-who does ARs and M-14s and Garands and 1903s? Did I not see the website you’re talking about?

  • xrey April 11, 2016, 4:01 am

    For purists and just to have or collect, maybe this one will do. But most shooters who buy an AR almost always add or change something with their gun that makes it better or so or capable to what they are intended for with hardly any hitch. All guns are prone to user error or manufacturer defect(s). It’s up to the user to improve on it.

  • Elnonio April 11, 2016, 2:45 am

    I’ve never quite understood the fascination with “milspec” civilians have, as if somehow it’s a badge of unparalleled quality.

    Most of you have better equipment in your safes than what uncle Sam provides us.

    Given a choice, I would take my sbr that I built myself to elnoniospec over my milspec m4, any day. But I don’t have a choice.

    • Bill April 11, 2016, 11:37 am

      Agreed … milspec is NOT the top of the pile — it’s just something that meets minimum specifications for a firearm that is going to be mass produced by the millions and handed to grunts who meet minimum standards of marksmanship.

      The cat is out of the bag and guys with drill presses, bench top mills or even 3d printers in their basements can turn out higher quality firearms than Colt and FN deliver to the military.

  • Jason Porter April 10, 2016, 6:51 pm

    Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve spent years shooting M16A2’s and A4’s, but I prefer the M4 and AR style MUCH more. Part of the problem is the Army because they never change the barrels on those old A2’s, but to me the M4 is easier to control and, therefore, more resistant to user error. The 20″ barrel is probably more accurate, but the fact is most shooters can’t take advantage of that added accuracy and benefit more from the maneuverability and light weight of a carbine.

    • Chick April 11, 2016, 6:54 am

      The AR with 20 inch barrel, with the right ammo, is accurate to about 700 meters, which is about 3 times further than most can take advantage of.

      • Bill April 11, 2016, 11:39 am

        Yep, can’t hit targets you can’t see … no matter what the specs of the rifle.

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